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camaco1.png“We were able to rapidly deploy a system to take advantage of global opportunities.”  —Bob Adams, Vice President of Manufacturing Services, Camaco




The automotive supplier moves its ERP/MRP system into the cloud, with traceability and productivity improvements

Automotive suppliers are under as much pressure as the OEMs they serve. But keeping product quality high while trimming costs requires a flexible enterprise architecture, something that Camaco LLC, a maker of seat frames for the North American automotive market, didn’t have a few years ago.

The company was relying on dial-up modems and outdated electronic data interchange (EDI) software to transfer important inventory and production management information between its three U.S.-based factories. The system was mapped to an MRP application residing on a PC, which used the modem to send and receive data. Sometimes the system mapping failed, the unreliable PC stopped working, or the modem would not dial out to the value-added network (VAN). Since the EDI software was also out of date, software support was no longer available. It certainly was time to move into the 21st century, but Camaco didn’t want to take on a huge integration project or the burden of buying expensive hardware and software that would require a team of specialists to maintain.

Still, with an eye toward the future, Camaco wanted more than just a base MRP/ERP system. It wanted an all-encompassing system with real-time information flowing easily and accurately between its three facilities.

The answer was in the cloud. Specifically, Plex Systems’s turnkey application, which delivers ERP, manufacturing execution system (MES), and quality management in an on-demand software-as-a-service model.

The project, which took a little more than two years to complete, was launched in phases and finished in 2009. Today, not only has the cloud-based ERP rollout paid for itself by eliminating manual entry and lost data, but employees are able to access and print real-time reports to help them be more productive on the job.

“The success of our SaaS-based ERP project is a testament of how Camaco communicates and practices excellent teamwork,” said IT manager David Smith. “Our ability to embrace the change, from a batch process ERP system to a real-time SaaS-based ERP system, helped us improve our quality, productivity, and traceability while reducing our technology cost.”

By leveraging a SaaS system, the company now has a strong and flexible IT foundation that can take it into new territories. Said Bob Adams, vice president of manufacturing services and strategic planning, and the executive sponsor of the project, “By employing a Web-based ERP system, we were able to rapidly deploy a significantly upgraded system that would not only serve us well in North America but would also position us to take advantage of global opportunities.”