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2010 Best Deployment Scenario

Value added & fast ROI achieved with integrated system launch


Background:
Phoenix Logistics manufactures integrated data transmission solutions for global military and aerospace markets. Over the years Phoenix Logistics had managed its low-volume batch manufacturing with non-integrated manual paper-based systems. The company used nearly 40 stand-alone spreadsheets to track customer orders accounting parts traceability inventory shipping and more - literally silos of information with no linking across departments. Documents were stored in tens of filing cabinets. One full-time clerk was dedicated to the sole task of document handling. The company decided to look for a single integrated system that could replace all its separate systems so it could improve productivity.

Challenges: One of the most significant limitations with the previous methods was complying with aerospace standard AS9100's requirements for full-lot traceability documentation. Compliance was difficult because the company stored paper documents tracing the source of key materials and processes such as platings cables and other components in file cabinets in a large room. It took a clerk 3 to 4 days to search and pull bills of materials and assembly procedures from the hundreds of file folders. There was no standard document control and it was difficult to track BOM or process instruction revisions.Processing customer orders was also inefficient. When Phoenix Logistics received a customer order issued by Lockheed Northrop Grumman Boeing or any other OEM workers keyed the order data into a standalone system. Prior to generating a work order for the shop floor the purchase order data was verified and then re-verified when the work order was issued to the shop floor again when products came off the floor and one final time before the order was shipped.Another challenge was that Engineering Change Request (ECR) documents were manually routed within the plant for approvals and manual handling. Paper forms travelled more than a mile within the plant for handwritten signatures. As with any paper based system there was a high likelihood for error duplicate and triplicate data entry lost papers and other inefficiencies. To avoid the hassles of manual processing and to increase efficiency Phoenix Logistics implemented Plex Online ERP delivered as a Software as Service (SaaS) solution. With over 350 modules accessed using a Web browser Plex Online offers fully integrated manufacturing enterprise resource planning (ERP) features such as full lot traceability workflow accounting order entry and tracking manufacturing execution systems (MES) and more. Phoenix Logistics' challenge was to find a SaaS-based ERP system that would enable it to avoid the cost and effort to

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Solution provided by Plex Systems: The new system deployed by Phoenix Logistics includes fully integrated functions which link together previously standalone business functions including shop floor traceability customer orders accounting and more. Implementation began with accounts payable accounts receivable inventory purchasing and shipping functions and it continued later with inventory and work-flow management.One of the biggest benefits delivered by the deployment of the new system is paperless integrated real-time traceability. The automated traceability system accurately tracks individual containers and/or pieces as they flow through the manufacturing process letting the company isolate problems with pinpoint precision. Real-time detailed historical information related to production inspection genealogy and usage is available in seconds instead of days as it was when employees had to locate and reference reams of paper documents stored away in filing cabinets.Work instructions check sheets and other key documents are created and stored within the system fully replacing the reams of non-standardized paper instructions. The company is confident it is accessing the most current approved documents and document control is now completely automated.Engineering change requests (ECRs) flow automatically and in real time. No longer do paper ECR forms travel over a mile for approvals. The ECR module provides an online system for company personnel to submit change requests to engineering. The system tracks the ECR manages the work flow organizes and controls the drawings and maintains ongoing documentation of the change. Phoenix production associates now call up the ECR directly on the shop floor for a further streamlined production process.Detailed real-time information available since this system deployment has helped the company improve performance. Employees can see current customer scorecards regarding quality and delivery performance. Operators drill down to see the source

Summary: Because full and detailed traceability is built into the Plex Online inventory system it's simple to comply with AS9100 requirements. The Plex Online traceability tree automatically tracks in real time the complete genealogy of all inventory containers providing both an upstream and downstream trace. As a testament to the improved methods Phoenix Logistics easily passed a quarterly manufacturing process audit recently conducted by Boeing. The company achieved this because it can now easily trace the source of production materials in seconds can isolate issues faster and automatically generate audit reports.Plex Online was a key component in the company's growth and helped Phoenix Logistics successfully manage a 50 percent growth rate within the first year of its deployment. Additionally paper costs have been drastically reduced since the company no longer prints and stores over 20000 pages of documentation each month as it did in the past.

Plex Systems
1731 Harmon Rd.
Auburn Hills MI 48326 U.S.A.