Requirements: Die-Matic sought to streamline its order entry process, despite the origination of customer orders from a variety of sources. Die-Matic also required the order entry results to integrate fully with plant floor scheduling and daily/weekly shipping requirements.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: Materials Management, Manufacturing, Shipping
Results: The SV Order Fulfillment module removes much of the administrative burden of order entry and allows Die-Matic’s Materials Management Department to focus on what it does best — shop floor scheduling, materials procurement, and customer service.
Orders are entered into the system via EDI data transfer, customer web site download, and manually. Customer and part level information such as prices, lead times, and ship to/ bill to’s are prefilled to save considerable time. The resulting order data drives forward into plant floor and shipping schedules. Current and past orders can be accessed instantly through a variety of search options.
“I can’t count how much time we save using the Steel Viking order fulfillment tools. The software prefills much of the order information for us. The web and EDI order downloads save us countless hours and headaches.”
Marisa Graor-Ports, Scheduling Coordinator
The Untold Story: As you see above, the members of the Materials Management department chose an “action” photograph, surrounded by coils of steel. What you don’t see in the photo are the press operators looking on in disbelief at the presence of these schedulers on the shop floor. SV software allows Materials Management to communicate with the floor primarily through automation.
Requirements: Die-Matic’s schedulers requested a shop order-based system, where production lots could be planned and the future effect on customer due dates and finished goods inventory determined. Product would then be tracked by the unique shop order number from schedule inception through to shipment to the customer.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: Materials Management, Manufacturing, Shipping
Results:The heart of the SV Scheduling module for Die-Matic is the Part Status screen. In a single glance, company schedulers can view all critical information about a part – current finished goods and WIP inventory by operation, current shop order statuses, open customer orders and due dates, and planned production.
Shop order information can then be created or modified from this screen and the impact to deliveries and future inventory is immediately known. When first created, shop order operation dates cascade backward based on default lead times on the part routing. The resulting shop order schedule can be further tailored. The shop order number follows the product through the manufacturing process – through to finished goods and customer shipments.
“The Part Status screen and accompanying reports give us a central point of control from which we can plan production and materials purchasing. It is our fundamental planning and scheduling tool.”
Marisa Graor-Ports, Scheduling Coordinator
The Untold Story: Moving to a shop order based system required that an extra level of detail be recorded throughout the process – including scheduling, production, receiving, shipping, and inventory control. This was a major culture change for Die-Matic, from management through to the operators on the floor.
Requirements: The Materials Management department at Die-Matic wanted the new system to suggest the raw material purchasing requirements based on current raw material on hand inventory combined with future production requirements against that material. Further, Die-Matic’s material buyers asked for a host of flexible purchase order processing features. Finally, a natural requirement was full integration with the raw material receiving process.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: Materials Management, Receiving
Results: The SV Part Status and Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) reports both combine current raw material inventory with future production requirements to suggest purchase quantities of raw material.
“The system recommendation of precisely what steel that needs to be bought is one of the factors that contributed to a reduction in our raw material inventory by over 30%.”
Ed Pietrasz, Materials Manager
When a purchase order is issued, a variety of system features are available, including the ability to link raw material specifications, the issuance of releases against a blanket PO, and the automatic emailing of the PO to the supplier along with customized messages.
The Receiving department then works against an open purchase order report and only accepts receivers that fall within the bounds of that report. Supplier performance is subsequently reported out of the system in terms of delivery dates vs. due dates.
The Untold Story: Prior to the introduction of SV Purchasing at Die-Matic, Ed Pietrasz was the go to person for PO numbers in the organization, since he held the box of pre-printed forms with sequential PO numbers on them. We all know that issuing the same PO number to different suppliers is a no-no. A problem no longer! System generated PO numbers and generation of forms to the laser printer have rendered the box of preprinted forms a fairly expensive paperweight.
Requirements:The brutal fact is that Die-Matic’s production staff was not asking for a new ERP system – what production staff ever is? However, company management had definitive production software requirements – including the generation of a master production schedule, adherence to raw material FIFO, accurate labeling of work in process, finished goods inventory with associated traceability, and the reporting of quality production data (hours, productivity, and piece counts) on the back end. Fidelis’ job was to deliver these requirements without overly burdening the workers and pulling them from value-added activities.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: Manufacturing, Materials Management, Shipping, Receiving
Results: Weekly production is driven by the generation of a master production schedule – a natural output of the Scheduling function. The software also includes features to drive raw material inventory control, including individual steel coil labeling, coil inventory draws to and from shop orders, and FIFO raw material pull lists. Die-Matic’s Materials Handler, Carlos Barranca, has become a focal point of raw material inventory control and has been instrumental in Die-Matic attaining pinpoint accuracy of its steel inventory. Routing tickets generated out of the system accompany all WIP and finished goods product.
Production is reported by operators, including shop order, type of operation, piece and scrap count, hours, and coils used. Inventory movements, bill of materials consumption, and job status are all driven from these entries. Data edits in the system do their best to ensure quality production entries. The production tickets are also compared with time clock data to match up costs with payroll. On the reporting end, a series of advanced cost and production history reports are available to management.
“The software does a good job of tracking production, raw material usage, yields, costs, and inventory variances. It has enabled us to manage our inventory and production costs quite closely.”
Ron Szelesta, Vice President of Manufacturing
The Untold Story: Production Supervisor Allen Murad was a critical force in the adoption and ownership of the new production data capture procedures on the plant floor. Once Allen understood the value of the new steel inventory and production capture procedures, he mandated their usage with his entire staff and conducted necessary training sessions, with live examples, to ensure proper application.
Requirements:An enterprise software product is not going to physically ship product for you. Beyond that, Shipping’s needs were simple: Communicate what had to be shipped and when, facilitate proper inventory control including FIFO, and reduce the manual administrative burden of data entry and forms generation.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: Shipping, Materials Management, Finance and Accounting
Results: From a receiving standpoint, SV provides a single point of data entry for all receiving transactions, including raw materials, externally worked product, and miscellaneous items. The system generates labels and travel sheets for all raw material receivers to support item-level tracking and FIFO. SV also generates detailed informational labels to affix to receiving paperwork used by Accounting, facilitating accurate payables capture.
Multiple shipping transactions are supported from a single shipping system interface, including customer, vendor (outside work), vendor “drop ship”, and miscellaneous shipments. Customer warehouse consignment draws can also be downloaded from the warehouse website.
All finished goods shipments require sales order and shop order designation for price and lot traceability. Thoroughly completed bills of lading and packing slips can be generated in batch or on demand, along with certifications and custom paperwork – saving Shipping considerable administrative time and reducing carrier wait fees.
Speaking to Fidelis’ willingness to customize its software and SV’s flexible architecture, Shipping Supervisor Debi Harris says, “I am frankly impressed by how quickly the software can be adjusted to our always changing needs”.
The Untold Story: At one point in the system life cycle, Shipping found itself spending too much time manually preparing certification paperwork for certain customers. Fidelis customized the software to automatically generate these certifications using system data, saving significant time and reducing carrier wait costs considerably.
Requirements: Die-Matic’s Finance and Accounting department sought reliable, highly controlled capture and generation of its customer and vendor invoices.
Die-Matic was satisfied with its established accounting package for General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, and Accounts Payable processing and wanted the manufacturing software solution to interface with rather than replace the financial accounting package.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: Finance and Accounting, Materials Management, Shipping.
Results:Customer invoices (receivables) are automatically generated from customer shipments issued the prior day. System reports and other checkpoints ensure that invoice totals match customer shipment totals. Several flexible invoicing features are also available, including miscellaneous invoices, credit memos, and interim invoice reminders for longer term projects.
If desired, customer invoices can be automatically emailed to the customer, saving considerable document preparation time and postage expense.
Vendor invoices (payables) are entered into the software, with several tools available to enable rapid data entry. The vendor invoices are automatically interfaced to the Accounts Payable system and also link back to purchase orders and receivers to highlight vendor price variances and capture detailed costs.
Access to the system’s accounting functions is controlled by the system administrator.
The full integration of accounting information with production and purchasing details gives Die-Matic a powerful reporting solution. Before implementation of the system, it took up to a month to value raw material, work in process, and finished goods inventory. With the tools and reports offered by the system, this is now completed in less than a day.
The Untold Story: The ability to link vendor invoices to receivers and purchase orders helped Die-Matic to identify a significant vendor overcharge, saving the company a substantial amount of money.
Requirements: Die-Matic understands the relationship between inventory control and overall profitability. At the onset of the project, company management placed improvements in inventory control as a high priority for the new system.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: Materials Management, Manufacturing, Shipping and Receiving, Finance and Accounting
Results: From a raw material standpoint, the software enables Die-Matic to label individual steel coils. Raw material receipts and usage are then tracked by individual coil number, providing pinpoint control of steel inventory.
At the work-in-process level, system checks and balances help ensure that production quantities fall within acceptable guidelines, given the quantity produced at prior operations, material used, and the number of hours worked. Inventory variance reports are reviewed routinely to quickly resolve yield and piece count variances early in the process.
Finished goods shipments are made against the production shop order number in support of FIFO and lot traceability.
The “Physical Inventory” features of the system support rapid entry of inventory tags and detailed/summary variance reports at all levels. The inventory management features introduced by the system also support real time inventory valuation for raw materials, WIP, and finished goods.
“Due in part to the new system, we have reduced our raw materials, work in process, and finished goods inventories substantially. The system gives us the ability to make timely, proactive inventory decisions. The information delivered by the system allows us to make purchasing and production decisions with confidence.”
Ron Szelesta, Vice President of Manufacturing
The Untold Story: Daily inventory variance meetings by the Manufacturing and Materials Management departments were very painstaking. The desire to reduce the length of these meetings prompted the development of some new and helpful raw material, WIP, and finished goods inventory procedures.
Requirements: Prior to implementation of the new system, Die-Matic’s purchasing process was manual, cumbersome, and paper-based. Purchase order numbers were assigned to buyers manually or in “blocks”. Purchase requests often became purchase orders without required management approval.
Die-Matic required a fully automated purchasing process that mandated approvals for certain types of purchases, supported electronic PO issuance, and tracked expenditures closely by department and purchase category.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: All
Results: All Die-Matic purchase orders are now entered via the system. Based on department and level within the organization, system users purchase against predefined account categories and AP account numbers.
Depending upon the type of purchase, purchase amount, department, and level within the organization, purchase requests automatically flow to appropriate management inboxes for automated approval. Management can approve, deny, or seek further information about the PO request before approving.
Once approved, purchase orders can be emailed to the vendor with a variety of configurable instructions.
The buyer is immediately informed via email upon system receipt against the purchase order. The purchase order and receiver then flow forward into the accounts payable process.
Each department can easily reporting on expenditures by category (or as a whole) for any timeframe.
“The system has simplified the management of my departmental expenditures”
Ernie Kurylo, Die-Matic’s Maintenance Manager
The Untold Story: Prior to the automated email notification of PO receipt in the system, received items would sometimes sit for days in the Shipping and Receiving area, unbeknownst to the buyer.
Requirements: One of the foremost reasons for implementing an integrated software system is the delivery of timely, accurate, comprehensive information to facilitate management decisionmaking.
As part of its system implementation, Die-Matic required a host of parameterized reports for each module, a flexible ad-hoc query capability, and the ability to develop future reports without outside consulting help.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: Executive Management, All Other Departments
Results: Using Crystal Reports software, Fidelis developed dozens of highly flexible, parameterized reports for use by Die-Matic personnel. All reports are launched centrally using a secure, configurable menu in the system.
Beyond the pre-developed reports, business users can create an ad-hoc query against system folders and export the data to Microsoft Excel for further manipulation.
Families of reports used by Die-Matic include:
- Daily Reports: Each day, work within the Shipping, Receiving, Manufacturing, and Accounting departments is largely driven by a number of real-time reports generated from data entry by departments upstream in the process flow.
- Cost and Profitability: Die-Matic management can view cost and profitability by any level of customer or part and for any desired timeframe. Cost and profitability reports include all contributors to cost – labor, material, tooling, and miscellaneous. Users have the option to include quoted values to see variance between quoted and actual cost/profitability.
- Inventory Valuation: These reports enable instant access to raw material, WIP, and finished goods inventory values at summary or detailed levels.
- Inventory Variance: Highlight yield and piece count variances and negative inventories at all operational levels for immediate action.
- MRP: Materials Management can obtain insights into required material purchases based on customer demand, current on-hand inventory, production completed to date, and vendor lead times.
- Trending: A variety of trending reports were developed to assist management. For example, management can report vendor price increases for a given material over any period of time.
Jerry Zeitler, Die-Matic’s President speaks to what the integrated reporting has meant to the company. “Making solid business decisions requires comprehensive, accurate & timely access to data. The Steel Viking system delivered information by which we were able to better manage our costs, lower inventory levels, and make confident decisions regarding our prices & margins. The Steel Viking system was a major factor that contributed to our success and road back to profitability.”
The Untold Story: Some of the critical highly complex reports began to run longer than desired by Die-Matic. This prompted Fidelis to design an operational data store that replicates data real-time from the production system. Fidelis also developed a data archive process that makes data available over any timeframe without directly affecting operational processing. The separation of these functions and data stores has improved system performance immensely.
Requirements: As a certified supplier to the automotive industry, Die-Matic is held to strict quality control and inventory containment standards. The company required a way to segregate suspect inventory (referred to as “non conforming material”) when encountered and automate the resulting control plan assignments and subsequent inventory movements.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: Quality, Materials Management, Manufacturing, Engineering, Shipping and Receiving
Results: The system alerts all informed parties via email when a “non conforming material” (“NCMR”) instance is entered by the Quality department. For customer reported or serious material issues, the Quality department has the system option to prevent shipment of product until a Materials Review Board is convened.
Once material is contained, the system supports segregation at all levels – raw material, WIP, and finished goods. Inventory then flows into and out of containment status based on production time ticket “sort” and “rework” entries. Quality issues related to outside work vendors can be returned to the vendor with necessary debit memo information captured.
“Steel Viking allows me to immediately contain and prevent the shipment of suspect product if a quality concern were to arise. The system allows me to see exactly how many parts I have, at any given time, and in what state the parts are in…raw, stamped, plated, tumbled, in finished goods.”
“It also prevents my shipping department from sending any product by not allowing bar code labels to be printed or any other related paperwork. I am able to pass accurate data onto my customer and plan a course of action. No guesswork. Once all the issues are resolved I can easily get back into streamlined production.”
Rob Jester, Vice President of Engineering
The Untold Story: Training the Die-Matic production personnel on NCMR-related time ticket entries was perhaps the biggest challenge in system implementation. These transactions determined the status of “good” vs. “contained” inventory.
Requirements: Matt Gavlak, Die-Matic’s IT Manager, wanted what any IT Manager wants – for the system to run without incident and the ability to administer the system easily.
Die-Matic Departments Impacted: Information Technology
Results: The software conversion went very smoothly and did not interrupt any of Die-Matic’s core business processes, including purchasing, manufacturing, receiving, shipping, and invoicing. The software offers a multitude of system administration features surrounding configurable views, read and write privileges, workgroup administration, and integrated reporting.
Gavlak speaks to his satisfaction with the Steel Viking solution at Die-Matic from an IT perspective. “Implementing an entirely new ERP system can be a daunting task. Fidelis Partners was with us at every step along the way, and the transition occurred with relative ease. The attention to our specific needs and requests has obviously been a top priority for Fidelis and Steel Viking’s continuing success here at Die-Matic is a testament to that attention to detail.”
The Untold Story: Gavlak’s wizardry in the areas of Windows administration, software distribution, and system backup/recovery allowed Fidelis to concentrate on system application programming. His contributions to the project success are duly recognized here.