ERP Software Keeps Bearing Manufacturer Rolling
Bearing manufacturers face a plethora of challenges every day, regardless of where they are located and the industries they serve. One such company is Philadelphia-based Kingsbury Inc., which has been around for 108 years, and is recognized as a technological leader in the development of all types of bearings for rotating machinery.
Company founder Albert Kingsbury, Ph.D., invented the hydrodynamic thrust bearing in 1912. Since then, Kingsbury has consistently designed and manufactured a wide range of tilt-pad fluid film thrust and journal bearings, with hundreds of thousands of installations worldwide.
The company also makes rolling-element specialty bearings and bearings with directed lubrication or fixed profile geometries. All of the company’s bearings are designed to enhance the performance of machinery for power generation, oil and gas extraction, refineries, marine propulsion systems, and process equipment used for mining, crushing rock, making steel, defense and many other applications.
Kingsbury operates two plants that make standard and custom bearings of all sizes for both new installations and retrofit applications. CNC machines and robots in both plants ensure that the bearings are of high quality and accuracy.
A third facility handles immediate customer service requests and emergency production of bearings and components. In 2018, Kingsbury’s management team there realized the need to completely automate the plant. This led to the installation of Doc-Trak enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that allows for companywide document tracking.
Doc-Trak is part of the Infor CloudSuite Industrial package made by The Lake Companies Inc. According to Kingsbury management, the software has improved the company’s engineering capabilities, product innovation, and aftermarket services and support.
Every workstation in the Kingsbury plant has a PC with Doc-Trak installed. This provides workers with real-time access to documents like drawings, specifications, product photos with dimensions, and packaging images. Such access increases the efficiency of engineers and non-engineers by ensuring that they can always view the latest version of a document, with all revisions included.
Doc-Trak provides Kingsbury with two other key benefits. One is the cost savings related to copying, distributing and making changes to paper documents. Another is the software’s intuitive and user-friendly visual design, which makes it easy to create worker training materials.
Management especially likes that the software stores all customer documents—including purchase orders, shipping notices, automatic order verifications and acknowledgements, engineering calculations and invoices—in electronic file folders. This eliminates the need for customer-service reps to find, open and refile paper documents, further enhancing efficiency.
Doc-Trak is one of several types of software in the Infor CloudSuite Industrial package. Another is SyteLine. The latest version (9.01) lets users locate and store company data on a single database or divide it into different databases as needed to fit any complex environment or IT requirement.
Because SyteLine stores applications as metadata, future upgrades can be installed without the need for retrofitting and re-customization. The software supports multiple currencies for both supplier and customers, and lets customers use HTML5 markup language to securely access data from a wide range of browsers and devices.
Equally important, SyteLine reduces process steps and transactions to avoid wasting time. It does this by providing instantaneous data that can be downloaded into chart form and shared.
For UK-based CAV Aerospace—which designs, assembles and integrates ice protection systems and aerostructures for small passenger jets and unmanned aerial vehicles worldwide—SyteLine helps the company meet a different challenge: establishing consistent financial consolidation and reporting processes at all of its manufacturing locations in the UK and Poland. Previously, each facility ran a different ERP system or none at all.
Don Marshall, group financial analyst at CAV, says the company can now run a profit and loss statement for every site with the touch of a button. As a result, the two-week, month-end consolidation process has been shortened to three days. Another software benefit is it quickly, accurately and easily converts local currencies into pounds.
“[The software provides] instantaneous data [that] we can download into chart form and share,” explains Marshall. “We now can discuss all the key performance indicators for the previous week, which we never could do before.”
Brookfield AMETEK also benefits from SyteLine. Brookfield manufactures viscometers, rheometers, powder flow testers and texture-measuring instruments for laboratory and online process applications.
Several years ago, company management installed SyteLine at its Middleboro, MA, assembly plant for lean manufacturing, kaizen, kanban scheduling, just-in-time production, and overall increased plant productivity.
The software has improved supply-and-demand visibility and forecasting, ensuring availability of needed parts. Equally important, it has helped managers develop and implement long-term equipment maintenance plans.
For more information on ERP software, call 800-260-2640 or visit www.infor.com