Lantek, a provider of sheet metal and structural steel CAD/CAM and ERP systems, has introduced the concept of Lantek Factory, which brings together its complete suite of software to achieve the aims of efficiency, communication and profit. Information sharing in real-time is at the heart of the concept, working from a common database across the whole company. Starting with the sales team and customer relationship management, quotations can be prepared and delivered in minutes, producing accurate pricing from live information about material costs, production times and expected profit margins. Based on current workload, the sales team is able to offer realistic delivery times. Once accepted, the sales order is processed and passed to production planning where the order is placed and the job is fitted into the production schedule. Next, the engineers create the program, allocating the machine and the material and nest the parts to maximize material utilization. Shared information goes to the warehouse where material is delivered to the allocated machine ready for manufacture, and stock levels are updated, triggering reordering of material where necessary. On the machine, the operator logs start and finish times to record the status of the job and the manufacturing times as the parts are being produced. This real-time information goes to the administrative team, where delivery notes and invoices are raised, information about the cost of the job are consolidated and instructions for shipment of the parts are issued to the warehouse. Managers have an overview of the complete process so that they can monitor production and the status of individual jobs. The Lantek Factory concept enables Lantek to tailor a solution for individual companies that will mimic the structure and interrelationships of the different areas within that company to produce significant improvements in efficiency, the company says.