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"Plex Online provides an extremely strong Shop Floor Control System (also known as Manufacturing Execution System (MES)). Many ERP software companies claim to support manufacturing companies, but they do little more than accounting, order entry, and other office tasks. "Source: Plex Systems
Tying the Shop Floor to the ERP System
is also known as : Shop Floor Operators
, Strong Shop Floor Control System
, Manufacturing Execution System
, Shop Floor Personnel
, Robust Shop Floor Reporting
, Powerful User Interface for Shop Floor Personnel
, Shop Floor Introduction
Shop Floor Technology, Flooring Shop, Shop Floor Softwareshop Floor Data, Shop Floor System, Shop Floor Project, Shop Floor Control, Production Shop Floor, Shop Floor Solutions, Shop Floor Manager, Shop Floor Automations, Shop Floor Tracking, Manufacturing Execution System Software, Shop Floor Advantage, Factory Floor, Machine Shop, Manufacturing Software, Production Tracking, Retail Etablishment Space, Production Manufacturing, Comprehensive MES, Manufacturing Execution System Features, Barcode Labeling, Engineering Tool.
At a Glance
- This paper describes the evolution of IT strategies and the advantages of using an ERP system focused on linking shop floor and top floor operations.
- ERP systems shed light on manufacturing processes, enabling improved decision-making.
- A case study highlights how Plex Online dramatically decreases training expenses, freight costs, and scrap, while enabling business growth without additional resources.
ERP and the Shop Floor
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) on the shop floor is as critical to the viability of the enterprise as any component in the execution of manufacturing.
High-performing manufacturers have found that full integration of realtime operational data collected from the shop floor to the top floor is key to reducing costs, streamlining operations and improving customer satisfaction.
Integrated ERP on the shop floor brings manufacturers improved quality, increased production throughput, less scrap, and many more benefits.
A History of IT Strategy
In the years leading to 2000, many manufacturers focused on preparing for a potentially disruptive transition in IT functions at the turn of the century. Most IT leaders' strategic focus was on making sure that internal systems would continue to function, and operations would not come to a screeching halt, on "Y2K."
After Year 2000, many enterprises began deploying on-site ERP systems that were rooted in accounting and HR functions. For these applications, the manufacturing processes are an afterthought. The systems were designed with an activity which starts on the top floor and filters down to the shop floor, which is where, in the manufacturers' world, the rubber meets the road.
It soon became apparent that if the manufacturing process wasn't efficient, it didn't matter how well the "top floor" functioned.
It wasn't until after companies successfully traversed the dawning of the 21st century that they realized the best ERP solutions actually start on the shop floor and are refined and improved there before accounting and HR functions are introduced.
Today, tying the machines on the plant floor to management on the top floor for a real-time glimpse of manufacturing status isn't just convenient, it's critical for a company seeking to remain viable in a competitive market.
Primary Drivers for ERP on the Shop Floor
Thanks to today's ERP systems, companies apply the same lean quality improvements to data, a highly valued "product," as they apply to the rest of the products they manufacture. This includes the highest levels of data quality, accuracy, delivery and storage. Incorrect, untimely, or unavailable data about your plant floor can be more dangerous than no data at all. Quality data helps expose plant floor deficiencies and anomalies of OEE, quality and traceability.
Allowing an ERP system to effectively automate a process not only results in a nearly perfect production process, it also frees an operator to focus on other, valueadded activities. When additional data is captured, the shop floor is integrated with the top floor for a real-time snapshot of traceability and machine output.
Tony Kaczmarek, president of Kors Engineering, has seen dramatic transformations occur when ERP ties the shop floor to the top floor. Integrated ERP systems make plant floor activities more visible to all employees. In fact, Kors Engineering has found that most companies learn more about their systems the first day they bring their equipment online than they've known after decades of operation.
Plex Online has the industry's most comprehensive quality management and supply chain management functionalities. It has the capabilities needed by medical device manufacturers to manage problem controls, cost recoveries, traceability, statistical process controls, issues management, and more. Its compliance monitoring functionality has additional features that enable comprehensive internal and supplier auditing.
"Plex Online brings manufacturers improved quality, increased production throughput, and less scrap."
Plex Online in Action
ERP on the shop floor brings many opportunities for improvement. Better quality, increased production throughput, and reduced scrap are a few of the many benefits.
Ralco Industries was one of the first companies to implement Plex Online, the industry's #1 ERP Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for manufacturers.
"Our inventory accuracy was, at one time, only about 50 percent," says Jim Piper, president of Ralco Industries. "We were conducting grueling physical inventories every month, and they would be off by the next week. We never knew if we had enough parts to build a set-up. Every time we did a set-up, we followed different steps and processes. Each worker had his own method. This resulted in lost time, inconsistent product quality, scrap, expedited shipments, and more issues. We knew we had to fix our system."
A diligent search for an ERP provider that could meet its stringent requirements brought Ralco to Plex Systems, provider of Plex Online.
Ralco started its implementation with the Plex Online Purchasing function, one of 350 functions available. "It was great," says Piper. "We found we could now easily match receipts to our internal purchase orders, and match purchase orders to invoices. We had more control and security over purchase orders, and actually reduced the number of POs. The improved efficiency saved us about $100 per purchase order processed."
Results for Ralco were immediate and significant:
- Training costs were reduced by over 50 percent because all functions in Plex Online were available from a consistent interface.
- Premium freight costs were down by 20 percent in the first year.
- Scrap rates declined by 60 percent.
We've significantly grown our business in a down economy, which says a lot," said Piper. "We couldn't have done that without Plex Online. We wanted to differentiate ourselves from our competition, and we've done that."
Shop Floor Benefits
Plex Online is easy to use. Any person working on the shop floor can leverage the ERP system to set up and run his machine. This knowledge empowers management and helps drive informed decision-making to fix deficiencies in manufacturing processes.
Plex Online enables "machine recipes." Settings for specific parts are automatically entered for tolerances, speed and other critical requirements which enable a controlled strategy for production. The system can ensure that no machine operation is underway until settings are met.
Traceability from station to station allows management to tie into environmental systems, hydraulics and manage energy systems.
"We easily match receipts to our internal purchase orders, and match purchase orders to invoices – saving $100 per PO processed."
Once the shop floor machines are online, it's easy to focus resources, eliminate waste, improve quality and work more efficiently. Today, there is no reason to be unaware of what is transpiring on the plant floor, regardless of where you are.
Global Implications for the Single Source of the Truth
The world is getting smaller and your enterprise isn't only across the street or in the neighboring state. It may be on the other side of the globe. Plex Online allows companies to review all manufacturing entities through the same lens, allowing the easy distillation of data using common data points.
Global companies quickly deploy Plex Online with new acquisitions so they can easily compare results in different facilities and strategically determine product design and order fulfillment.
They also extend Plex Online to their suppliers. Because the system is integrated, suppliers can directly ship products to OEMs on behalf of the producer. Using the Plex Online EDI module, they can send advanced shipping notices (ASNs), submit electronic notifications, create POs, and initiate shipping. Customers receive the ASNs before the products arrive.
Plex Online is a system that integrates all manufacturing processes, from the shop floor to the top floor, to make certain all facilities, regardless of location, work together to synchronize and maximize the efficiency of the manufacturing processes.
There is a community of Plex Online users eager to share specifics about how their choice of system has paid off and helped them maintain a competitive edge and allowed them to thrive in a competitive environment.
About Plex Online
Plex Online, built on a "Software as a Service" (SaaS) model, offers more than 35 0 functional modules, providing manufacturers instant access to vital information and management functions using a simple Web browser. The on-demand solution features product lifecycle management (PLM) functions such as program and change management, enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions such as accounting and finance modules, customer relationship management (CRM) features such as order entry and tracking, manufacturing execution systems (MES) functions such as production scheduling and machine integration and supply chain management (SCM) functions such as supplier quality and traceability.