ERP Proves Essential for Auto Plant, Prototyping Efficiency
It took 40 years, but we now know that hot dogs and apple pie aren’t the only things baseball and automakers (and their suppliers) have in common. Another thing is enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, which gathers and disseminates critical management information across an entire organization.
Major League Baseball Advance Media (MLBAM), a limited partnership of the MLB club owners, has been using Aptean ERP software for several years. The software helps MLBAM manage all of its operations, including running MLB and minor league baseball websites, several sports networks and video game development.
Ford Motor Co. has also benefitted from Aptean ERP software. In June 2014, the company expanded its use of Activplant in manufacturing plants across North America, and in Europe, South America and Asia.
Activplant collects and analyzes data from the plant floor in real time, and then provides this information to all operators and supervisors throughout a facility so they can immediately respond to it and improve manufacturing efficiency. The software’s ActivEssentials platform accurately captures interactions between machines and processes, eliminating the need for multiple monitoring and data collection systems. In addition, it provides an easy-to-understand view of all plant data so managers can effectively handle production peaks and valleys.
Suppliers to Ford and other automakers are fans of Aptean software as well. Exhaust system specialist Faurecia, for example, has used Made2Manage ERP at its Columbus, IN, prototyping facility since 1995 to manage production and inventory. Faurecia is a $23 billion Tier One supplier based in France that operates more than 70 global facilities.
Before implementing Made2Manage, the facility relied on an outdated DOS-based system and many spreadsheets. Unfortunately, this approach made it difficult for the shop to quickly deliver each prototype or accurately quote completion dates.
“We really needed better control of our inventory,” says Barry Turnbow, prototype program manufacturing lead at Faurecia and the person responsible for scheduling and inventory. “It was a real challenge to handle the jobs and the paperwork. Plus, it was difficult to know what to order, and when a job would be ready to ship. Nothing does as good a job of managing our prototyping operation as Made2Manage.”
Although some inventory of common materials is maintained, Turnbow says the facility often needs to bring in specific items for a job. When a new order is received, Made2Manage performs a quick availability check to determine exactly what the shop needs. The software also indicates what impact, if any, the new order will have on work already scheduled.
Turnbow likes that the software is easy to learn and user friendly, and that its planning capabilities are helping the shop staff get a better handle on capacity, scheduling and quoting completion dates. This results in better use of resources and increased productivity.
Besides Ford, the Faurecia shop serves Chrysler, GM, Volkswagen and BMW. Turnbow says that large equipment makers, such as John Deere and Caterpillar, also use Faurecia’s prototyping services.
Aptean software is used by more than 9,000 companies worldwide. For more information on ERP software, call 855-411-2783 or visit www.aptean.com.