Big Data
Case Study

From Production to Profit: How PSM Tapped into Their Goldmine of Data

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All manufacturers have data, most are sitting on a goldmine of data. This goldmine consists of the various enterprise software, as well as spreadsheets and the tribal knowledge that exists on paper and in key employees’ heads. If it was easy to find all of this data, combine it and utilize it to increase sales and decrease costs, then all companies would do it. The difficulty lies in the combination of science and art and the journey to unlock your data destiny by tapping into the goldmine you sit on.  

Outdated and disorganized data is not partial to any one industry; and the necessity to make efficient decisions on accessible information is not partial to any single leadership role. Across all businesses, the operations that fuel a successful team rely heavily on that accessibility to data that is up-to-date, connected in one place, and insightful to the bottom line.  

So what do you do when you find yourself working in the business and not on it because your visibility is limited?


As a second and third tier supplier based out of Clarklake, Michigan, the team at Production Saw & Machine (PSM) is built by leaders with an average of 20-plus years with PSM. Operating as the long-standing company that they are, PSM has had to remain agile with ever-changing factors that have shifted the market over the years; therefore, when it came to handling mass shipment levels, this unquestionably resulted in quality management taking a higher priority over technology and processes.  

When it came time to grow, disconnected data made the scalability of the quality management tough to attain.

Heat Tracking & Inventory

PSM’s largest customer supplies material direct from their mills. As such, the customer requires both heat and efficiency tracking. Previously PSM did not have visibility of the work in process at each operation by heat, nor did they know exactly which operation caused the scrap.  

Solution: A process using scanners, computers and barcode printers on forklifts was created to collect the necessary data of WIP at each process. This data was then transformed and displayed on dashboards to allow the material handling employees access to the information they previously collected manually. The next phase of this project is to allow the customer direct access to see the amount of bar stock and work in process, by heat, to avoid daily phone calls that result in manual counts.

The actual process includes the scanner data being aggregated into one spreadsheet, this spreadsheet being convert to SQL each hour, then this data running through an ETL job (extract/transform/load) to prepare the data for the final resting place - the user dashboards.  This appears to be complicated with lots of steps but this happens nearly instantaneously with failsafes built in to ensure no issues.

Vacation Tracking

PSM’s vacation tracking policy was created in the early days of the company and was not updated as the workforce grew 10x the original starting company’s size. This led to a 9 step process where, at times, the employee would take off time prior to getting it approved.  
The process:  

  1. Employee walk 100 yards to box and complete ‘Vacation Request’ form
  1. Give this to their supervisor for sign off
  1. Supervisor give this to the manager for sign off
  1. Manager give this to the hr clerk to be added to their HRIS
  1. HR clerk give to the accountant to add to the master calendar
  1. Accountant give back to the hr clerk to scan and save paperless to their file
  1. HR clerk give the form back to the manager
  1. Manager give the form back to the supervisor
  1. Supervisor give the form back to the employee letting them know if the vacation request was approved.  
  1. Phew….

Solution: tap into the HRIS and the ERP to pull all data relevant to the requesting employee and allow the supervisor to make the call on the spot.  The data being pulled includes vacation time remaining, disciplinary warnings, quality warnings, tenure, efficiency AND what other employees are scheduled off for that department and shift. This has allowed for efficient vacation scheduling to ensure proper staffing levels.


How can you begin to take action? Start simple. One dashboard. One Process. PSM started with one dashboard and one user; now at 62 dashboards and 41 users. Progress in this area should not take years, aggregated data and action creating dashboards are attainable in weeks! The specific examples above are two of many; this is all part of unlocking your data destiny as you use your goldmine of data.


The success of any organization largely depends on the capability to see into your business, while not having to spend all your time working in the business. Real growth comes when key players can take a step back, make sound decisions on actionable data, and ask what can we learn from this?  

At Bearex, we’re ready to grow with you. We’ll operate as your complete data insights team, creating an Insights Hub for your organization’s reporting, analytics, and data entry. Today, PSM is implementing EOS to even better utilize the Insights Hub and capitalize on the information in front of them.  

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November 9, 2023
July 11, 2022
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