The work for AM General, however, starts back at GMs MGO system, according to Jerry Chizum, systems coordinator at AM General. "MGO is how we get our materials in the plant and relieved from inventory," said Chizum. "Orders go into GM, come down to us, go into MGO, and it schedules its way in the plant." The order information goes into the Flex application, which tells suppliers how much product to ship on a daily basis. At the same time, the MGO database calculates exactly how much time it will take to have the part in the plant. That functionality, in turn, tells what factors need to go into the system to keep inventory shipped to the plant each day."There was probably a lot of integration work [that GM] did, but we just bought a canned system at GM," said Kurtz. With the plant up and running smoothly nowit operates two shifts a day, five days a week, producing 74 H2 vehicles each shiftAM General is looking ahead to newer models and newer systems. "Were already looking at futuristic systems to support the plant floor. Technology changes every day, and we have to be ready to move to stay competitive. The 2007 model will offer a lot of options, [which means] we are going to have a lot more pieces in the plant that will present a lot of challenges for everything," said Kurtz. "The nice thing about the [WhereNet] application is GE Fanuc came in, set up the templates and architecture, so most of the development work will be done by our in-house experts." The original decision to go with GE Fanuc came down to price, according to Kurtz. AM General went out for three bids, including a design house developer in Detroit, systems integrator Electronic Data Systems Corp. and GE Fanuc. "[GE Fanuc brought] a vast knowledge of automotive industry experience with automotive suppliers around the world and a partnership with WhereNet. And those helped a lot," Kurtz said. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
For integration to the Flex system, GE Fanuc used the SME2 Sim interface, which allows Flex to communicate directly with Cimplicity and acts as a "strategic front end" to the application, according to Kurtz.