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Departments: Quality Applications
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Plexus Systems Plexus Online

Single-Source Access to Multisite Information
Plexus Systems Plexus Online

Integration of data across different sites and systems is a major concern for today’s highly dispersed manufacturing organizations. As an example, look at tier one automotive supplier TOMASCO mulciber Inc., which had a patchwork system of 14 different business-process software programs running on four different platforms. This created numerous challenges, including electronic data interchange (EDI) errors, significant inventory issues and short shipments, as well as cumbersome information technology (IT) support and manual process inefficiencies. TOMASCO was unable to secure registration to ISO 9001 and had trouble meeting the EDI requirements of Honda, its key customer.

After a lengthy search, the metal stamping and welding company selected Plexus Online from Plexus Systems of Auburn Hills, Michigan. This integrated on-demand manufacturing performance system provides real-time data to all departments. When implemented at TOMASCO, it reduced inventory by more than 20 percent, decreased work in process by more than 40 percent and eliminated short shipping. Furthermore, EDI problems were resolved, and TOMASCO secured its ISO 9001 registration.

With the ability to manage a single facility or an entire enterprise, Plexus Online allows manufacturers access to information about their operations anywhere, anytime. The Plexus Online system has more than 350 functional modules, which gives companies instant access to critical information using a simple Web browser. Plexus Online includes shop-floor control, traceability, quality management, EDI, accounting and many other capabilities, configured as a fully integrated system or a point solution to augment other enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

TOMASCO, a Japanese joint-venture company, is part of the Honda supplier system. A 2002 analysis of the or-ganization’s internal business processes identified 40 separate business processes, including 131 manual processes, 69 independent databases, 88 duplications of effort and four interfaced databases. The separate functions and processes led to much confusion among employees, and wasted time and effort. A new approach was clearly needed.

Based on the analysis, TOMASCO sought a system offering complete integration, including EDI, release accounting and barcode printing. The system had to include Honda-approved EDI and barcode software. TOMASCO also wanted a browser-based system accessible from anywhere, as TOMASCO’s parent company has operations across the globe. The system needed to be multilingual and offer an exceptional shop-floor data-collection system, including line-sided label printing.

Soon after implementing the Plexus manufacturing execution/shop-floor control module, TOMASCO found that its overall equipment-effectiveness reports were consistent and accurate, eliminating hours of manual calculations by supervisors. The new system also automated the reporting of scrap and downtime. The Plexus Online purchasing, receiving, and cycle count modules enhanced communication between purchasing and production, and eliminated the need for a “hot list” and constant expediting of raw materials.

The next targets were EDI, shipping and accounts receivable. By early 2004, Plexus had revised the EDI process and allowed TOMASCO to implement Honda’s required changes without internal expertise or involvement. Plexus moved TOMASCO to a new platform quickly and smoothly.

TOMASCO now saves the cost of all the labor devoted to EDI. The company was able to eliminate its use of a value-added network, saving thousands of dollars per month.

The implementation of the shipping and accounts receivable modules in early 2004 eliminated two major system interfaces, three full-time shipping jobs and one in billing. Customer-release information was immediately available to floor supervisors, removing the traditional eight-hour communication lag. The real-time customer-release information eliminated the need for a full-time position to develop and maintain the information.

The cycle count of finished goods was also brought online in early 2004, eliminating four hours spent daily counting inventory and communicating to floor supervisors.

Plexus Systems Plexus Online

Benefits:

  • Plexus Online includes shop-floor control, traceability, quality management, accounting and many other capabilities in a fully automated system.
  • The system eliminated the need to manually calculate overall equipment effectiveness, and automated the reporting of scrap and downtime.
  • Implementation of the software has resulted in a 20-percent reduction in inventory, a 40-percent decrease in work in process and the elimination of a longstanding short-shipping problem.

www.plex.com