“This initiative has enabled us to have a true window into our manufacturing floor.” —Steve Spanjers, Director of Engineering, Marwood Metal Fabrication
Automotive manufacturer implements an ERP cloud system
Marwood Metal Fabrication Ltd., a manufacturer of automotive stampings and assemblies, was at a crossroads.
Like many other manufacturers that adopted some of the first enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems years ago, the Tillsonburg, Ontario-based company’s outdated DOS-based system needed another upgrade, and management had to decide whether it was worth investing in a system that was far less than state-of-the-art.
Moreover, every department within the company, from accounting to operations to shipping, was adversely affected by having too many disparate systems, none of which were integrated. The lack of integration required many manual processes to coordinate information, leaving too much room for human error and delays.
After a thorough evaluation, Marwood decided to move to a new, cloud-based ERP system from Plex Systems. The project involved replacing 10 disparate systems, databases, and spreadsheets, and introducing related data management disciplines and processes to provide accurate, real-time business information for all employees. Marwood’s overall objectives were to improve productivity, reduce waste, and maximize quality.
The project automated the vast majority of manual processes so management no longer needed to track and update redundant, inconsistent data. Specifically, regarding shop-floor manufacturing, the project revolutionized operations by providing ERP integration with programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for all of Marwood’s shop floor machines in all four of its locations, enabling seamless, real-time communication. This included integration of many different makes and models of equipment, ranging from 150-ton to 3,500-ton robotic transfers that are capable of supplying dozens of robotic weld cells, projection welders, and multiple TOX assembly cells.
Thanks to the project, production at the individual machine level is now tracked closely. This has allowed management to more accurately plan for machine maintenance, which has reduced downtime and enabled more efficient use of financial and human resources. Now that Marwood has real-time inventory tracking, the company has been able to reduce raw materials and work-in-process inventory costs, while improving inventory turns by 50%.
“This initiative has enabled us to have a true window into our manufacturing floor, and to use the data obtained to drive business decisions in real time,” said Steve Spanjers, Marwood’s director of engineering. “Reduced downtime, lower product inventories, accurate reporting, and improved quality have been the results.”