“By taking Plex to the shop floor, Revstone Vassar Foundry now has meaningful, timely, and comprehensive information.” —Janice D’Amico, Senior Business Analyst, Revstone Industries
New processes and cloud-based system deliver $145,000 in annual savings, enabling turnaround of foundry
In 2009, when Revstone Industries LLC purchased the nearly bankrupt Grede Foundry in Vassar, MI, it was clear that standard manufacturing processes and controls at the acquired unit were sorely lacking. To an outsider, the acquisition of an inefficient facility may have appeared to be a risky endeavor. But executives at Rev-stone, a global supplier of aluminum, magnesium, and ferrous castings and subassemblies, saw it as an opportunity to breathe new life into a money-losing operation and a community that had seen too many businesses shuttered.
In 2010, they did just that.
The project involved the implementation of Plex Systems’ Plex Online, a cloud-based ERP system, and the development of new processes to better control operations at the Vassar Ferrous Casting facility. The initiative included the development and launch of methods to formally track the recipes used for castings, track raw-materials usage, create bills of material, keep tabs on costs, and optimize casting quality.
One of the main challenges for all foundries is tracking consumption of raw materials. The difficulty is due to how these materials are measured. They arrive measured in pounds, but the measurements must be converted to pieces as the molds are cast. It is not a process that is easily managed by traditional ERP systems.
Using the Plex system, Revstone designed a customized process router in which all materials arrive in a single shared location where they are automatically tracked as purchased components, labeled with bar codes, and routed to molds. At the machines where molds are loaded and poured, employees simply scan the labels to identify where the materials came from, and the machines correlate the materials’ weights to the unit measures of the molds. With this process in place, Vassar is able to control its inventory, track costs, and achieve on-time delivery.
“By taking Plex to the shop floor, Revstone Vassar Foundry now has meaningful, timely, and comprehensive information,” says Revstone senior business analyst Janice D’Amico.
The payoff: Process improvements have led to a 50% savings in inventory and labor costs, with a total savings of $145,000 annually, according to the company.
And Revstone delivered on its promise. At the end of the 2010 fiscal year, the foundry was profitable for the first time in 10 years.