Piolax benefits from cutting edge SYSPRO solution that incorporates APS functionality and SFDC
K3 Syspro (K3) customer Piolax has implemented SYSPRO ERP v6.10 with Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS). The system went live in July 2007 giving Piolax full visibility of its production processes, accessible management information and a platform for its expanding business. The innovative tailored solution incorporates shopfloor data capture (SFDC) using mobile devices to assist with managing and monitoring production progress.
Piolax is based in Lancashire and is part of a global group of companies that manufacture and supply plastic fasteners for the car manufacturing industry. Its customers include BMW, Nissan, Toyota and Honda.
Piolax operates in a fast turnaround, high throughput make-to-stock environment. To help it manage a slick operation it turned to K3 for a tailored technological solution that would underpin its business. This would replace Piolax’s legacy Sage CS/3 that it had outgrown and no longer provided the power or functionality to support it.
K3 responded with a state-of-the-art SYSPRO enterprise resource planning (ERP) system configured to Piolax’s exact requirements. This is integrated with SYSPRO APS Advanced Progress Tracking module and used with the APS Mobile module, to deliver a turnkey solution that would help manage the company’s high speed, high turnover make-to-stock operation.
SYSPRO runs on two Dell PowerEdge servers running Windows 2003 Server and SQL 2005. The system went live in July 2007 giving the Piolax UK operation full visibility of its production processes. This provides readily accessible management information and a platform for its expanding business.
The Piolax installation is cutting edge. It has been specifically designed to support a streamlined manufacturing and supply process. Customers place orders with the Sales & Distribution division and these are transferred overnight to Manufacturing. Some of these are EDI orders while others are entered manually into the system. The orders trigger the MRP function to create the demand. SYSPRO transmits this to the APS module which interrogates data and produces the production plan. From here a works order is generated that contains all the production information and barcode labels for the items.
“There is no guesswork with SYSPRO. We work from accurate information and this means our processes are managed rigorously. We have complete visibility of production and traceability via SYSPRO and are able to make crucial manufacturing management decisions quickly,” says Geoff Youds, Plant Manager, Piolax.
The system incorporates many interesting features including mobile computing for shopfloor data capture and communication. This keeps SYSPRO updated by logging exactly what is happening on the shopfloor. Using wireless handheld computers with integrated laser scanners, operators simply scan the instruction on the works orders for the various operations they must perform for each job.
They do this as they start and finish each stage of production. The scanned information is transmitted back to the system verifying each stage. This is displayed on large screens and utilises ‘traffic lights’ to indicate the exact status for each plastic moulding machine.
For example, as soon as a job is complete the machine operator scans the barcoded works order to register that the task is finished. Should there be a production issue such as a machine breakdown the operator also scans a barcode. This automatically signals a ‘stop’ and registers a red traffic light on the screen which signals the maintenance team into action to fix the machine.
“K3 has provided a highly developed solution that gives us full visibility of shopfloor activities. We are already benefiting from better management information and ability to track production progress as well as the total traceability the system provides,” says Geoff Youds.
He added: “Being able to monitor progress on screen using the large ‘plasmas’ or any PC is very useful for management and shopfloor staff. This is of great benefit because the screens show the status of each machine, the jobs they are performing and the next set of jobs coming down the line. The screens also display job progress in Gantt chart format which gives a rapid visual account of job cycle times. We can instantly see if a job is ahead of schedule or if it is lagging. This allows us to react immediately and ensures efficiency.
“We are pleased with the SYSPRO solution and it has generated a lot of interest from other Piolax sites around the world. In particular the quality of the information the system provides and the ability to interrogate this using Crystal Reporting Services is creating a stir. K3 undoubtedly has listened to what we needed and responded well to our requirements,” he concludes.