Foodmach Leverages Total ETO’s ERP System to Help Australian Government Significantly Increase Medical Face Mask Production During COVID-19 Pandemic

Foodmach faces the pandemic with creativity, wisdom, and the right tools.

Oakville, Canada, June 09, 2021 --( Only a couple of months into using Total ETO, Australian Engineer To Order company, Foodmach found themselves faced with a very interesting opportunity that would truly test their new processes and systems. With COVID-19 racing around the world, the Australian government contracted the only medical mask manufacturer in Australia to increase production of medical grade face masks.

To do this, they needed an ETO manufacturer who could design, engineer, and build their mask making machines. Foodmach’s increased efficiency and operational insight made them uniquely positioned to meet the aggressive timeline and demands presented by this project.

The demands were significant. The government needed production of medical grade masks increased from 2M to 50M units per year, and they needed it fast, to equip their front line workers during the first wave of the global pandemic. Foodmach wanted to answer the call but the project presented a number of challenges:

- With 40 year old machines and no original drawings, the machines would have to be reverse engineered.
- Some of the original parts were obsolete. Modern parts would provide better precision and power but sourcing these parts would take time.
- Foodmach had absolutely no experience in building mask-making machines.
- They had to prepare their teams to handle 24/7 shifts… during a pandemic, while maintaining strict social distancing safety measures.
- They had a very tight timeline to accomplish all of this – the first machine had to be ready for testing in 60 days.

High Profile Project
On top of all of this, everyone was watching. Keeping the frontline healthcare workers safe was a top priority for everyone, and the project had caught the attention of both television and print media. Foodmach also committed to posting a daily blog of their efforts. With their reputation at stake, it was critical that they had everything in place to deliver the project as promised.

Although the timelines were aggressive and the challenges significant, they had faith in themselves and their new systems. They responded to, and were awarded the bid.

Throughout the project, Foodmach’s new ERP system underpinned all aspects of effective delivery.

With several other projects running concurrently, Foodmach’s ERP system enabled them to rest assured that the complexities of each and every one was being considered and handled. Foodmach could reprioritize projects and parts to maintain operational efficiency. This flexibility allowed them to be more responsive and handle design changes and deliverables confidently.

With a tight deadline of half the normal time, it was critical that all departments run simultaneously. The structure and detailing of their BOM (Bill of Materials) meant they could kit parts to the lowest sub-assemblies, enabling them to start the assembly stage earlier.

Keeping track of the more than 10,000 parts was critical to maintain project efficiency. Labelling generated by the ERP system (Total ETO) tracked all items throughout the operation, including in-house manufactured parts and purchased items. The labels contained all the information necessary for the Stores team to make up kits for each section of the machines, and the Fitters to identify the parts at assembly. No time was wasted searching for missing parts.

When the right companies work with the right product, great things can happen.

Support from their ERP and other vendors was critical throughout the project, enabling Foodmach to meet the demands of the project with confidence.

With so much public interest in the project, Foodmach was able to demonstrate a compelling level of visibility and control throughout. Their powerful reporting enabled them to keep pulse of every aspect of the project, providing detailed progress on purchasing, work orders, and costs, and to communicate this information to stakeholders.

With this level of control and support, Foodmach was able to deliver their first mask machine in six weeks, two weeks ahead of schedule. While the original order was for three machines, their ability to deliver a successful product so quickly resulted in an order for an additional four machines.

Such a successful outcome for Foodmach would not have been possible without their ability to demonstrate and deliver operational effectiveness, and without their partnership with like-minded companies.

To learn more about how Foodmach is using their ERP system to help them run their manufacturing business with increased accuracy, efficiency, and profitability, read the Foodmach Case Study at
Laurie Koski