2012 Best Corporate Communications Deployment: Digital Signage 


Project: Joy Mining Machinery Signage
Client: Joy Mining Machinery
Submitted by: Black Box

Brief overview of the project/technology: 

Active on five continents and with a network of 55 facilities spanning China, Russia, India, Poland, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and the United States, Joy Mining Machinery is a worldwide leader in the manufacture of underground mining equipment. Wherever coal, iron ore, copper, gold, and other embedded materials are mined, chances are good that Joy Mining loaders, conveyors, haulers, and other products are hard at work.

Headquartered near Pittsburgh, Joy Mining Machinery assembles most machinery at a factory in Franklin, PA, and has many other facilities in the U.S. and elsewhere that manufacture various components and secondary products. Sales, warehousing, and equipment service functions are conducted at many of these locales as well. Joy Mining Machinery has partnered with Black Box, provider of the iCOMPEL™ integrated hardware/software platform for digital signage, to deploy a worldwide signage network.

Entering the project, Joy Mining Machinery envisioned a network of digital video displays that would convey both local and companywide information. Its goal was to establish more consistent branding while communicating more effectively with its customers and vendors by providing important company news.

Objectives of the deployment or the technology:

With Joy Mining Machinery’s customers and employees spread across sites around the world, maintaining a common corporate culture with consistent branding and messaging was the first objective. To do this, the company knew its signage would have to be administered from one location, specifically, from its Media Services unit in Franklin. However, it also recognized that facilities would need the flexibility to customize content for local audiences, such as customers and vendors entering its offices in the different countries.

And although it wasn’t recognized as a need when the company first deployed the iCOMPEL technology (at the beginning, Joy Mining Machinery intended to use the iCOMPEL driven signage exclusively for lobby signage), the company began looking at ways that the system could help with its internal communications and improve internal processes as well. So this became a second objective: Expand the signage system to other areas of the company to improve manufacturing quality and efficiency. For instance, the company’s engineering staff wanted the ability to provide engineering metrics to staff, and HR wanted an easier, faster way to announce job bids and awards in its many facilities. They could expand the iCOMPEL system to enable these other functions because the iCOMPEL platform supports integration with other systems.

When the company wanted to incorporate inventory-related information for display via signage on the factory floor, all it had to do was “point” the iCOMPEL players to the IP address of a Web site that pulls inventory data from the company’s SAP Enterprise Resource Planning system.

Results achieved relative to the objectives:

Nearly every Joy Mining Machinery facility now uses iCOMPEL driven signage to present company-related info on lobby screens in a consistent, unified way. However, offices can also post site-specific messages for their own visitors.

And before the engineering department began using signage to disseminate performance metrics, engineering staff had to go to their managers to get this data or wait until the next staff meeting. Now, they can see, at a glance, which goals are being met and where action is immediately required.

The signage has provided savings for the HR department. Because the company can deliver HR information and job announcements digitally to its facilities via the signage, an HR employee no longer has to drive to the plants in the region to post information on bulletin boards. The company estimates that it has saved itself about 10 hours per a week in travel time, not to mention the cost for gas and having to print out new job announcements. Plus, the info is always up to date.

The largest savings, however, have occurred by using digital signage to make Joy Mining Machinery’s manufacturing operations more efficient. In the past, the Kanban system relied on paper tickets to relay inventory information. But by switching to digital displays, the company has been able to eliminate the paper and provide faster, more detailed updates. Also, it used to be workers scanning parts didn’t immediately always know if what they were scanning was being fed back to the system.

Now, they can just look at the screen, which shows the new totals for each bin right there on the screen. The inventory info is then fed back to off-site fabricators, ensuring that parts are being produced only as needed, and just in time for use. And because all Media Services had to do was set up a Web page to show inventory data from the company’s SAP ERP system, no extra IT resources or manhours were required for the Kanban/digital signage integration.

Size and geographic location(s) of the deployment:

The application, at this point in the multistage deployment, now includes 63 screens at more than 50 Joy Mining Machinery locations around the world. The company is using screens heavily, not only for marketing purposes in its office lobbies, but also internally to improve Joy Mining Machinery’s business operations.

According to Chuck Fickter, marketing information manager, the company’s marketing and production teams are both excited and a bit surprised by the hugely positive and imaginative response to the introduction of the iCOMPEL powered digital display network. “Suddenly, what was once intended to be simply a coordinated display system for lobby guests has become a global, interconnected and highly strategic set of tools,” he said. “We’re continually impressed by the potential of our displays.”

George Borden of Black Box accepts the award from Jennifer Nye, DSA EVP - Digital Signage.

Selected judges’ comments:
  • It's very encouraging how the use of digital signage has spread among different functions within the organization. Remote control is a good touch too when communicating with busy workers, and integration with corporate IT systems ensures information is genuinely useful.
  • Corporate messaging to staff and visitors is a high growth area of internally-funded projects.. And this is a leading example of what to do right!
  • Good use of signage system to improve communication across a multi-location company. The company has made the content relevant to each department.
  • Nice global implementation
  • Excellent narration script on demo video. Superb use of digital signage across multi-communication objectives.

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