No matter what type of manufacturing your company does, gaining real-time access to data and keen insight into what’s happening on your shop floor can help you achieve goals you once considered unattainable. It’s called connected manufacturing, and it’s having a ripple effect on the entire industry.
Here are six metal manufacturers that are already using smart manufacturing to their advantage.
For years, Gill Industries tried to manage business and production processes across eight global sites by using QuickBooks and spreadsheets. Frustrated by the out-of-date information that resulted from this approach—and wanting to gather better performance metrics from throughout the company—Gill’s new leadership began looking for a way to standardize processes across all facilities. After establishing a single, cloud-based ERP system of record, Gill centralized its operational data, freeing up staff to focus on adding value rather than entering data. The company is now maintaining higher quality standards by conducting quality checks and recording production data in real time.
G&W Industries’ legacy ERP system was so outdated that employees were resorting to manual, paper-based workarounds. Not only did the system divert the staff’s attention from more important tasks, but it also produced inaccurate inventory reports. It was clearly time for G&W Industries to upgrade to a modern, cloud-based platform that would provide real-time access to data. After making the transition, the company increased its on-time delivery rate from 85 percent to as high as 98 percent. In addition, G&W Industries now keeps just two weeks of raw materials on hand, compared to 3,500 sheets of metal previously.
In the midst of rapid growth, Hatch Stamping took a critical look at its business technology and decided to evaluate new ERP systems. The company eventually decided to integrate all of its data into an easy-to-use cloud-based solution. Employees can now enter and retrieve data in real time, enhancing the quality of all their decisions. This means Hatch can manage its resources more strategically by eliminating waste and reducing errors. For the first time ever, the company is managing accounts and inventories for each of its plants—providing its executives with a new level of transparency into the health of the business.
When customers approach HK Metalcraft with complex needs, the company prides itself on being able to deliver. But HK Metalcraft finally reached a point where its legacy ERP system was doing more harm than good. The company’s president researched his options thoroughly before making the strategic decision to bring the company into the cloud. Today, HK Metalcraft applies real-time data to make better decisions about everything from optimizing profit and loss to reducing shop floor downtime. Rather than having to spend hours coaxing an aging ERP system into cooperating, staff can now use a modern cloud system to collect the information that will drive the company’s continuous improvement.
Wisco Industries used to think that lost production time caused by an inadequate ERP system was just part of the cost of doing business. The company eventually realized that by upgrading to a modern system, they could deliver on customer requests such as integrated quality. Wisco implemented a comprehensive, cloud-based ERP system that offers built-in quality and EDI functionality. Not only has Wisco made communication and compliance part of its operational strategy, but the company has reduced its overall inventory by 20 percent and its raw material inventory by 15 percent.
For Toyotetsu, “smart manufacturing” isn’t just another buzzword—it’s a path to competitive advantage. Seeking to achieve sustainable growth, the company realized it needed to build a technology foundation that would support connected manufacturing. Toyotetsu implemented a cloud-based ERP system, which enabled the company to integrate its programmable logic controls (PLCs) from more than 250 work centers. This integration, which will eventually reach 100 percent, gives Toyotetsu’s decision-makers better insight into every aspect of their manufacturing, making it easier for them to plan towards long-term business goals.
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