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The Simple Shop Floor Tweak That Saved an Ambulance Manufacturer 33,000 Labor Hours a Year

Real-time data that drives real-time decisions


  • 90-day ROI

  • 15 Workstations with dual-monitors

  • 2,700 labor hours saved per month

  • A 100-employee manufacturer of emergency vehicles based in Iowa.


The manufacturer used Global Shop Solutions’ ERP software to track tasks such as work orders in progress, job costing and shop floor efficiency. Still, it couldn’t respond quickly enough to the data to hold shop workers accountable because data was often input manually after a job was completed.


The company used Global Shop TrueView to display critical data points and reports from its ERP system, refreshed every two minutes. It implemented 15 workstations complete with computers, barcode scanner, and dual-monitors placed at various locations throughout its facility for its laborers and managers to see job-related data regularly.

Benefits: Within 90 days, the ambulance manufacturer saw an average 12% efficiency gain within each work cell, resulting in a labor savings of more than 2,700 hours per month.

The Manufacturer’s Dilemma: Do More with Less

In nearly every market, it’s understood that the price of goods and services will go up over time. While this may sound like common sense to some, it’s not how things work in manufacturing. With few exceptions, manufacturers are expected to maintain consistent pricing. Brady Robbins was the former systems administrator for a 100-employee emergency vehicle manufacturer, and he can attest to this truth. “I recall one year that the cost of aluminum went up significantly, which would have resulted in a $1,000 increase in ambulances,” he says. “But, we had to find ways to lower our expenses in other areas to offset the increase to keep the cost level.”

Besides comparison shopping for less expensive raw materials, operational efficiencies are one of the primary ways manufacturers keep their costs down, and Robbins’ company was no exception. Because the manufacturer wasn’t just making parts — it was building completed emergency vehicles — dozens of work cells had to work together to coordinate each step of the assembly process. “Plus, each emergency vehicle is highly customized from the fabric types and colors to the interior and exterior lighting, stretchers, and other equipment.”

You Can’t Take Action on Old Data

And we needed to present timely information to shop floor managers and laborers in their work environments.

Although the manufacturer used Global Shops ERP, there was a significant lag time in its data

input. Typically, workers would write down information on paper and pass it along to the next

person in the machining or assembly process. Only at the end of the process was all the

information entered into the ERP system and displayed in the Global Shop dashboard.

As a result, there wasn’t any timely feedback or accountability among workers, says Robbins. By the time a shop floor manager reviewed a report and noticed a job took longer than projected to complete, it was too late to confront the workers and determine the root cause of the problem. “We needed a way to present data much sooner,” says Robbins. “And we needed to present timely information to shop floor managers and laborers in their work environments.”

Robbins implemented a multipart solution to address the company’s challenges. “The first part entailed creating a dashboard that presented a customized view from Global Shop. This enabled workers and managers to see works in progress, job costing estimates, and other key data points associated with their respective departments,” he says. “The next step involved creating mobile workstations that enabled workers to input data.” Each workstation comprises Wi-Fi-

enabled computers connected to dual-monitors.

  • Timely Data Creates Healthy Competition

  • Better Accountability

Every department saw an average 12% increase in efficiency, which resulted in monthly labor savings of more than 2,700 hours, which is nearly 33,000 hours a year.


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