How MyPhoto uses uwb to streamline operational efficiency
MyPhoto: Framing Memories
MyPhoto is a photo memory company dedicated to getting photos off a customer’s phone and into their home with a beautifully framed result. The company offers a variety of customizable products ranging from photos printed on acrylic glass, wood, metal, or even framed in a canvas. MyPhoto makes it easy for customers to choose designs and order online. But behind the scenes, the easy ordering belies a complex logistical operation with strong seasonal demands
Zooming in on Operational Efficiency
With a few simple clicks, a MyPhoto customer can order a customized photo memory and have it delivered to their doorstep within just five days. This short cycle time requires very strong process organization, automation, and quality control to fulfill the customer promise. A lot of things can go wrong during production: from quality issues to lost orders or even misplaced materials.
That’s why MyPhoto decided to take its operational power to the next level: it teamed up with New York-based consultancy and integration partner eCATS in 2019. The goal was to roll out a project to improve upon each step in the production process to achieve fewer errors, increased efficiency, and reliable data.
Immediately several potential improvements were identified and a roadmap was created. The main problems were caused by a lack of visibility on order status and location. A new ERP system was implemented coupled with technological implementations to foolproof the process. A proprietary automated image recognition solution by eCATS guides operators to couple the right product to the right order. And a conveyor belt system moves orders through the shop floor and a pick-by-light solution guarantees orders end up at the right destination, whether that means they have to be held back for quality control, can be shipped out, or have to be linked up with other orders.
The improvements already transformed MyPhoto’s operational performance. It allowed them to move operations from a two-shift production team to a single shift, while simultaneously scaling up the volume.
Scaling Up the Automation with ProTrEC™ Automation and Real-time Locations
At the end of the year, MyPhoto handles the largest volume of annual orders. The company will typically scale up daily order volume by a factor of 10 or more during the eight busiest weeks of the year and at the same time scale workforce by a factor of 5! The total staff will scale accordingly for a couple of months, creating different kinds of challenges when it comes to managing the operations.
“During the year we have two managers to supervise the operations, but during this last quarter the scale of the operation does not allow for two managers to stay on top of it all”
MEGAN LACKEY DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
“At MyPhoto, most of the process improvements were already in place so there was some skepticism as to what additional improvements the Pozyx/ProTrEC solution would yield. The results exceeded all expectations, with productivity more than doubling through actionable visibility of workforce performance, adaptive scheduling based on real-time zone capacity, and just overall improved management of the workforce”
HUNTER COHEN CEO OF ECATS
Expanding Ultra-Wideband to Order Efficiency Tracking
Now that MyPhoto has real-time visibility on productivity on the floor, the next step is to start tracking the orders. Orders are placed on carts, but carts sometimes go missing or are not prioritized in the right order. Adding tags to the carts will allow MyPhoto to monitor and control the production flow in more detail, which is a challenge especially during peak season.
“The Pozyx system is easy to work with. The software is intuitive, and their APIs allow for easy integration with our ProTrEC Automation™ platform. Every time we see an application for the combined Pozyx and ProTrEC solution we get excited about working on it because we just know it is going to exceed our client’s expectation. Until they are actually using it, they don’t appreciate the full value”