| Follett Ice & Datacraft Digital Kanban

by : Thomas Cutler

Three years since their initial purchase, Follett Ice continues to demonstrate that replenishment-based supply chain is fundamental to business efficiency. Reduced inventory levels, supply chain integration, and increased turns all eliminate waste and serve as hallmarks for continued process improvement. Follett Ice's senior purchasing agent, Jeff Craig wisely identified the key variables when selecting a demand driven supply chain three years ago. Craig knew he needed a commitment from management to support lean manufacturing and supply base that is open to change. He also recognized that if the method of ordering changed, order quantities and lead-times would be reduced, yet needed people available for implementation and had to generate enough savings to cover start-up and monthly fees.

In the December issue of, leading manufacturing journalist, Thomas R. Cutler, described the three year impact of "Follett Ice's Use of Datacraft Solutions and Demand Driven Supply Chain." The complete feature may be read at

Follett Ice selected Datacraft Solutions' Signum (demand driven supply chain solution) after a mere two and a half month evaluation process as a lean manufacturer's indispensable partner for building dependable and cost effective digital supply chain replenishment networks. Delivering a revolutionary process of automation solutions to lean manufacturers through a secure Internet gateway, Follett Ice eliminated the need to install and maintain a complex IT infrastructure. There were no complicated, expensive, time-intensive software implementations necessary, no extensive training regiments and no internal support nightmares.

Follett Ice now has two manufacturing facilities, one in Easton, Pennsylvania and one in Gdansk, Poland; both operate on "lean" manufacturing principles with emphasis on Kaizen - rapid, continuous improvement. State-of-the-art fabrication equipment such as CNC controlled laser metal cutters ensures precise tolerances and quality control. The company's "build to stock, configure to order" manufacturing strategy enables them to ship all products in three to five working days, 99% of the time! Every cross-functional team includes a "voice of the customers."

According to Stephen Parker, CEO of Datacraft Solutions, "We do not charge for upgrades to the system as we learn about new best practices that clients ask us to incorporate. Before Datacraft Solutions' incorporates the request, it is reviewed buy a lean advisory board to validate the value of the best practices and the value added impact upon our partner community."

Digital Kanban Internet-based on-demand delivery platform offers key benefits from the very beginning of an implementation - namely, the elimination of lengthy, complicated and expensive infrastructure upgrades. According to Parker, "We are able to draw on the insights and experiences of our clients to enhance the functionality of offerings. We are, in effect, applying the lessons of continuous improvement to our own platform, optimizing Signum to make an accessible framework to reduce inventory levels, increase productivity and continually improve process flow."

Datacraft Solutions ( delivers a revolutionary digital kanban process of automation solutions to lean manufacturers through a secure Internet gateway, eliminating the need to install and maintain a complex IT infrastructure. The company has experienced significant growth in the past twelve months by eliminating complicated, expensive, time-intensive software implementations as well as extensive training regiments and the need for internal support. The Datacraft Solutions' replenishment supply chain digital kanban lean system allows customers access and fully utilize powerful lean benefits immediately for a low, predictable monthly fee; services are scalable so manufacturers can design an appropriate solution.