Olson International Ltd. (Lombard, IL) is a precision metal-stamping company that serves customers in the automotive, electronics, lawn and garden, computer and communications industries. The company performs staking, tapping, welding, drilling and component assembly in both its U.S. and Mexican facilities.

Although it has practiced enterprise resource planning (ERP) since the early 1990s, in recent years its planning and scheduling processes have had a harder time keeping up with the latest technologies.

Specifically, the company was still manually confirming product availability and scheduling production time on an order-by-order basis for more than 400 part numbers. Completing the process took an average of 3 days and required the company to employ a full-time scheduler.

To update its existing ERP system, Olson International implemented a SyteLine APS system from management software company Infor (Alpharetta, GA). This system automates the entire planning and scheduling process, confirming both inventory levels, and employee and equipment availability.

"SyteLine APS lets us take a more proactive approach to customer service," says Olson International corporate management information systems manager, Greg Keating. "The more integration and automation we have between our three facilities, the more we can focus on innovation and constant improvement. We've even begun sending SyteLine APS data to our critical suppliers to use for forecasting and planning their production. This has helped our suppliers meet our needs, which is vital to our success."

Since implementing SyteLine, Olson International has been able to dramatically reduce both its overtime costs and the frequency with which it needs to use premium freight services to meet pressing deadlines. Specifically, the company's quarterly overtime costs have fallen from $40,000 to less than $7,900. Premium-freight costs are down from $37,000 to just $1,200, a 97-percent cut. On the production floor, Olson has reduced "days in inventory" by 2 and increased on-time deliveries from 97 percent to 99.8 percent.

"With global price pressures and annual push-backs from automotive customers, we have to do what we can to sustain profitability. Lean manufacturing and SyteLine APS help us do that," says Keating. "With our focus on lean manufacturing, we look for waste and remove it from our processes. Through automation for forecasting production schedules, we've eliminated a lot of wasted time and costs...from our production scheduling."

For more on stamping and assembly services, visit www.metalstamper.com or eInquiry 5.

For more on planning and scheduling software, visit www.infor.com or eInquiry 6.