Its a simple rule of thumb in manufacturing that the better you are at making and meeting schedules, the more efficient, and hence more profitable, you can become.
For Victor Manufacturing, which has such companies as Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and BMW AG in its bay of customers, improving such things as on-time delivery and inventory accuracy became job No. 1 a decade ago. Not only was the company garnering more orders for its simple stamping work, such as seat belt reinforcement brackets, it was also adding to its work chart more involved parts manufacturing such as underbody stamping and chassis assemblies.
What Victor needed and got from CMS Software Inc., of Toronto, was the CMSi5 ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution for demand-driven supplier networks. The solution comprises CMS supply chain software that works in conjunction with IBM Lotus Notes and ships on IBM iSeries servers. With the solution, Victor got much-needed control of its MRP (material requirements planning) system.
"On-time delivery, inventory accuracy, machine efficiency, labor accountability, serial traceability—we needed someone to give us the tools to measure these items," said Andy Hrasky, controller at Victor, in Victor, Iowa. "What we ended up with was a system that made us more efficient. In the auto industry on-time delivery" is key.
But the partnership with CMS didnt end there. Victor, a division of global manufacturing powerhouse Magna International Inc., continued to grow, tripling in size over the last seven years. As it grew, scheduling and, more specifically, work-order and purchase-order scheduling became even more important.
So, two years ago, Victor once again turned to CMS. Together the companies developed what CMS now includes as standard in CMSi5, White-Board Scheduler.
"In old shops, you would have a magnetic whiteboard with colored magnets that youd put across the work space," said Brian Angle, vice president of sales and marketing at CMS in Nashville, Tenn. "We took the concept of the spreadsheet and whiteboard and directly wired them into CMS."
The all-Java program, which has been up and running for a year, allows Victor to instantly "evaluate alternative production scenarios for their impact on material and capacity availability" and in the familiar color-coded format, according to Angle and CMS documentation.
The CMSi5 solution and scheduling update helped Victor improve inventory accuracy to 98 percent earlier this year. With a little more work, Victors Hrasky said he hopes to push that number even further along, to 99 percent, by years end.