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THE COMPANY: Sport Systems Unlimited in Waterloo, Ont., began operations in 1996, with a mission to built hockey boards in a better way. The company has been designing, manufacturing and installing dasher-board systems for ice and inline hockey, indoor soccer and other sports and recreational activities. They're made of mechanically fastened anodized aluminum frames, high-density polyethylene puckboard, tempered safety glass and stainless-steel hardware.THE CHALLENGE: Hockey is more than 125 years old, and while it’s still the same game it has always been, today’s state-of-the-art rink is a lot more than ice, wood and chicken-wire fence. Sport Systems wanted to produce rink board systems that look better, last longer and are easier to maintain.THE STRATEGY: The company then turned to SolidWorks CAD, which is at the heart of a recent Lean manufacturing transformation at Sport Systems, automatically generating robotics and CNC code from 3D solid models. "Switching to SolidWorks software was a critical move in our manufacturing transformation," says project manager and design coordinator Chris Henhoeffer. "Prior to embracing SolidWorks and 3D, the knowledge for producing a set of boards was in shop floor drawing templates and with manufacturing employees, requiring arduous fabrication steps and intensive training. Now the knowledge is inside the engineering office. SolidWorks software streams data out to robots and CNC machines via its Visual Basic for Applications interface. Line workers simply set up raw stock, punch in the SolidWorks part code, and watch the panel, part, or aluminum member be machined in a fraction of the previous time." Sport Systems uses DriveWorks knowledge-based engineering software for configuring customized board sizes for the job. The company relies on reseller Javelin Technologies for ongoing software training, implementation and support.THE RESULTS: The new manufacturing approach has slashed production time of custom rinks from approximately 1,200 staff-hours per rink in 2006 to 450 staff-hours in 2009. "We can now produce more hockey board systems more efficiently with the same amount of staff and virtually no overtime, all of which has set us apart in the industry," says director of sales and marketing David Staines. "When we have the raw material in stock, we can deliver a rink in three days. Lean manufacturing, robotics and SolidWorks have also allowed us to branch out into new markets like indoor soccer, one of North America’s fastest-growing sports, and even pharmaceuticals, where partitions prevent cross-contamination of drug batches. Efficiencies realized from our new manufacturing program also positioned us for a merger that allowed us to become a preferred rink equipment supplier to the NHL."• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Founded in 1926 and based in Coquitlam, B.C., Dynamic Structures designs and manufactures complex structures. Whether it’s creating a massive telescope enclosure or an amusement ride, the company is known for its innovative designs and exacting engineering. THE CHALLENGE: The products Dynamic Structures builds have very precise requirements. For example, amusement rides must not only wow riders, they must also meet stringent safety regulations and be completely reliable. Ride rails need to line up and switches bear the weight and motion. On these and other projects, there’s little room for error. Most of the time, building physical prototypes of these complex projects is nearly impossible. Yet the company needs to have confidence that when fabrication begins, it has accounted for all aspects of operation and installation. THE SOLUTION: In 1994, the company began designing its most complex structures using AutoCAD, incorporating 3D functionality as it became available. Then, in 2002, it decided to move beyond 3D to digital prototyping with Autodesk Inventor. With Inventor, they’re able to model highly complex geometry for intricate structures faster and easier than ever before. What’s more, it can use digital prototyping to visualize and validate designs from all angles. "On massive, complex structures … we can’t fabricate, assemble, then realize something won’t work," drawing office manager Craig Breckenridge says. "On a traditional drawing, it can take hours to determine whether someone can access an area of an enclosure. With the digital prototype, we can visualize exactly how the worker can do it. We know how much space equipment takes up, what’s around it, and how we’ll support it – just by looking at the digital prototype." Before digital prototyping, teamwork was hampered by miscommunication. Now, both designers and engineers access data for projects using Autodesk Vault Manufacturing, data management software that helps with revision control and the engineering change order process. THE RESULTS: Besides helping to streamline the design process, digital prototyping enables Dynamic Structures and its clients to experience photorealistic renderings and animations of designs. "Before we build anything, we can see and almost feel it," Breckenridge says. "It makes a huge difference in the accuracy of our design process – we are confident that what we see is what we’ll get." The company animates digital prototypes to help the fabrication shop quickly understand how to sequence the assembly process. It also includes 3D visualizations in its bids for new projects, importing Inventor models into Autodesk 3ds Max to create project animations. Additionally, the company estimates digital prototyping reduces the time it takes to create and revise part and assembly drawings by more than 20 percent. • Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Newmarket, Ont.-based 21st Century Airships, in business since 1988, designs helium-filled aircraft with distinct environmental advantages for use in geo-surveys, military surveillance and weather monitoring, and to support temporary infrastructure, such as cellular towers, during disasters. THE CHALLENGE: Since its inception, 21st Century has researched and developed approximately 18 airship designs, incorporating different configurations and levels of technology. Its latest offering, recently tested in Alabama, demonstrates a new hull design and bio-fuel capability. Despite this innovation, the company spent 18 years creating its designs on paper, scaling them up and then building physical prototypes to uncover the small errors that became exaggerated when scaled. It was a slow process that required significant trial and error, time and materials. THE STRATEGY: In 2006, 21st Century left its paper-based methods behind in favour of CAD. The company selected CATIA because it is the design standard throughout the aviation industry. THE RESULTS: The transition to CATIA has enabled many efficiencies and improvements in the company’s processes. "The repeatability that comes with using CATIA is one of the key improvements we’ve seen," engineering director Tim Buss says. "Once we’ve designed the envelope (the airship’s outer shell) in CATIA and sectioned it up, we can repeat those same gores all the way around without error. Everything is an exact replica of the previous one. No flaws or errors are being perpetuated." CATIA also allows designers to use their previous practical experience to ensure structural support is incorporated in the right places and to perfect a ship’s design before it is built, saving time and the cost of discarded materials. By leveraging CATIA’s ability to factor in component properties, designers can ensure balance and accurately predict positioning of systems and loads. CATIA also has proven to provide the company a significant advantage when dealing with its partners. External suppliers provide engines, actuators and other components, and because many of the company’s suppliers also design with CATIA, 21st Century can pull its suppliers’ models for parts directly into its own designs. In fact, the company is merging with one of its manufacturing partners. Once the merger is complete, both companies will use CATIA to ease the transition from design to manufacture. They also are considering 3DVIA Composer, which generates fully associative product documentation directly from CATIA models, to produce assembly documentation. "Efficiency has gone way up," Buss says. "We can handle a lot more projects at the same time and still keep track of everything. Using CATIA, we’ve improved efficiency by at least 60 percent, so we can take on more work with the same staff and improve our profitability." "Leveraging CATIA has improved our efficiency and, in turn, our profitability," president Hokan Colting says. "We’re producing higher-quality airships more quickly and cost-effectively, which helps us bring this very 'green’ form of transportation to even more markets." • Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: For more than 25 years, Venmar Ventilation in Drummondville, Que., has been a leading North American manufacturer of indoor air quality products for residential applications. It manufactures a full range of products, from kitchen range hoods and attic ventilators to filtration and ventilation systems.THE CHALLENGE: Venmar needed an integrated 3D product design solution that would enable the company to quickly design and deliver the highest quality, most accurate digital models while also promoting best practices in design protocol to ensure compliance with industry and company standards. Additionally, the company wanted to enable multiple designers to work on the same product and the same assembly at the same time. And finally, it wanted a visualization tool for other people in the company who did not have the CAD software to enable broader collaboration.THE STRATEGY: PTC’s Pro/ENGINEER 3D CAD software and Windchill PDMLink content and process management solution proved to be the best solution for these requirements. Venmar uses Pro/ENGINEER to explore new concepts, design new parts and develop new products." With the software’s seamless Web connectivity, Venmar designers have global access to the resources, information and capabilities they need. Pro/ENGINEER also has high-fidelity digital models that have full "associativity," which means that product changes made anywhere can update deliverables everywhere.Venmar is also using PDMLink, a web-based solution that gives its designers the ability to work with multiple users on the same assembly. By checking the part or drawing in and out, everyone involved with a particular assembly has instant access to the latest iteration. Having centralized information enables collaboration between Venmar’s multiple users. Additionally, documented assembly workflows ensure that the appropriate people are assigned tasks and go through the approval cycle. Venmar has found Windchill PDMLink easy to understand, easy to use, and user friendly.THE RESULTS: Among the benefits the company has received is a reduced time to market from 24 to 18 months and an ability to develop more products in the same time frame. In part, the product helps to achieve this by automating workflow for drawing approvals, and ensuring that documents cannot be overwritten, making it easier to track revisions. The connection Venmar has with PTC is beneficial to both PTC and Venmar, as well. "Our overall relationship with PTC is a good relationship," Venmar CAD administrator Marc-Andre Verville says. "PTC wants to help, and they want to make sure we get the most out of their product."
THE COMPANY: The Allan Candy Company Ltd. in Mississauga, Ont., is a manufacturer of chocolate and sugar confectionery products established in the 1950s. It generates more than $100 million in sales and manages a strong portfolio of bulk candy, count goods, retail bags and seasonal offerings for Easter and Christmas. With two manufacturing plants in Granby, Que., and Hamilton, Ont., this new stand-alone unit produces more than 250 products.THE CHALLENGE: A former division of Cadbury Adams, Allan Candy became a stand-alone entity that needed to quickly shift from a complex SAP-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) environment to an out-of-the-box business solution that supports rapid growth and leaner manufacturing and distribution processes. The goal, according to president and CEO Steve Diakowsky, was to improve and streamline its IT and Lean manufacturing processes, and become more results-oriented and performance-driven. For example, staff needed a faster method of processing purchase orders and managers sought more real-time access to financial data. "Our business was threatening to buckle under the 800 pound weight of our legacy system," Diakowsky says. "The future of the Allan Candy operation relied on doing things differently – deploying the right technology infrastructure would be the first step along this path."THE STRATEGY: Facing tight deadlines, Allan Candy worked with TGO Consulting Inc. in Markham, Ont., to develop a flexible and scalable financial and operations solution based on Microsoft Dynamics GP. Designed for rapid time-to-benefit and low cost of ownership, Dynamics GP is a global financial and business management application for midsize organizations. "With Dynamics GP, no customization was required, and staff were particularly pleased that it has the same look and feel as our existing Microsoft-based software," Diakowsky says. In particular, it is using it to simplify manufacturing and distribution processes, as defined by the previous legacy ERP environment, to meet the specific IT needs of the new stand-alone business unit. Staff is now taking advantage of the customizable reporting and workflow features of Dynamics GP to improve inventory and distribution processes. "Due to the recent business changes, we were working under ridiculously tight deadlines and were ultimately pleased with the level of flexibility and scalability that Dynamics GP provided," he says.THE RESULTS: By developing a new IT infrastructure based on Dynamics GP, Allan Candy successfully made the transition to a stand-alone entity. Today, it benefits from improved inventory management, streamlined distribution and Lean processes. The company is now better positioned to streamline warehouse processes, better manage inventory and distribution, and improve accuracy, efficiency and customer service levels. The new platform allows employees to update information in real time and take advantage of new monitoring tools that help ensure inventory data is accurate and up to date. Via automatic notifications, managers can now monitor business-critical activity, including brand inventory, customer shipments, purchasing and invoicing.With Dynamics GP in place, staff is defining new processes around tighter budget control and enhanced reporting tools. "The out-of-the-box solution has better positioned us in the highly competitive confectionery industry," Diakowsky says. "We needed the flexibility to quickly adapt to new business demands and our new Microsoft-based environment allows us to do that. The move to Dynamics GP is playing a key role as we transform our business into a more results-oriented and performance-driven company."• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Mississauga, Ont.-based Atlantic Tube & Steel (AT&S) is a manufacturer of automotive and structural steel tubing. It runs two mills: one makes mechanical tubing, predominantly for the automotive aftermarket; and the other manufactures larger-sized structural tubing used in a host of applications, such as conveyor belt rolls, jackposts and trailer hitch tubing. THE CHALLENGE: “Over the past 30 years,” president Frank Cancelli says, “the business has grown increasingly complex on all fronts.” AT&S controller Marvin Bavcevic, who was in charge of the implementation, said that before the transition, they were using a DOS-based program with a very limited ability to analyze results. “It was a dinosaur, and our management decisions were being made in the absence of sufficient data.” THE STRATEGY: “To compete effectively,” Cancelli says, “we needed to implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. After researching the alternatives, we chose Syspro ERP because we believed it would create business efficiencies, help us maintain our inventory and volume advantage, and ensure that we conform to our industry’s strict quality requirements.” They made the decision to go with Syspro in August 2007, and then in December, they ran Syspro in parallel with their old program. Finally, on Jan. 1, 2008, they went live. THE RESULTS: One of the ERP capabilities AT&S needed the most was product traceability. “Quality, and the perception of quality, are of paramount importance in our industry,” AT&S sales manager Larry Brandon says. “That’s why Syspro’s lot traceability component is a key benefit.” Steel, Brandon explains, can be manufactured in many forms using myriad components. “Too much or too little of certain components (carbon, for example) will affect the product’s malleability. And since many of our customers need to bend and shape the steel they buy, it must conform precisely to exacting specifications.” If an order of steel does not conform to specification, and if AT&S receives a customer complaint, the company can now use Syspro to quickly identify the relevant production run. “With that information, we can take all the rest of that steel out of stock,” Brandon says. “That way we avoid sending the wrong product to other customers, which helps us eliminate, or at least minimize, any negative quality perceptions that might arise in the market.” Lot traceability also allows AT&S to drill down to the source components of any production run. Implementing Syspro has enabled AT&S to fully automate its production floors. “That allows us to look at the shop floor in terms of reducing man-hours,” Bavcevic says. “In addition, with Syspro we no longer need our manual production reporting process. … These days, the whole production process, from input to output, is all recorded and reported by Syspro.” • Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Nestlé Purina PetCare Co. is a global manufacturer of pet products with a plant in Mississauga, Ont.THE CHALLENGE: Before MDT AutoSave Change Management Software was installed (first at the Nestlé Purina plant in Mechanicsburg, Pa.), the plant used a homegrown program to track changes in their programmable devices. About 15 programmers regularly made changes by accessing the most current program from Explorer, making changes and then saving the new version of the program back on Explorer. "We really had no way to manage all the different program versions created by our programmers," controls engineer Alan Hiler explains. In facilities where multiple people are making changes from multiple computers, the documentation of changes is often lost, archives of older copies are non-existent and the wrong programs may be running on the devices. In environments requiring frequent changes, it is not uncommon for code to be lost or changes overwritten resulting in increased downtime and decreased productivity.THE STRATEGY: "We made the decision to use AutoSave because we wanted to get away from having different people making changes and not documenting it properly," Mark Buettner, director of electrical and controls, says. "We didn’t want a situation where an emergency occurs, such as a processor dies, and production is stopped because we don’t know where the latest version of the program is located or have to decipher which program is the current one."THE RESULTS: In providing a central repository of all program changes, AutoSave ensures that, if a device fails or a program results in undesired performance, a prior version of the program is readily available so plant operations can be restored quickly and correctly. "With AutoSave we can easily download the previous copy of the program and get things running again quickly. If one device is down, the entire plant could potentially be down, so the ability to get up and running again is very important," Hiler says. Stopping production because there are no older versions of a program available is costly enough but consider the cost associated to completely rewrite a program. "If you lose a copy of a program, it isn’t just the production time we are losing, but we also lose the intellectual value of the program we have created," Buettner says. The cost to re-write, test and commission a single program is often greater than the cost to implement a change management solution."Before AutoSave was installed in the plant, we had some problems with program version mismatches, the biggest issue being the assumption that the copy on file was the program running in the PLC, but in some instances, it was not," Hiler explained. "MDT AutoSave periodically queries automation devices and compares the code running in the processor with what is on file. If a mismatch is detected (indicating someone went around the software to make a change), an e-mail notification is sent highlighting the mismatch along with information pinpointing the changes. This ability to regularly verify that the correct version of the program is running significantly decreases product waste and safety risks. "A big benefit for us is AutoSave’s ease of use for our maintenance guys." We have guys here that have never accessed a PLC program before and they have to download a program to make a simple change. Before AutoSave, we had to write pretty detailed documentation on how to find the file, open it, connect to the server and so on. Not only does AutoSave save us time, it also significantly reduces any chance that the wrong PLC is accessed, causing big safety issues," says Hiler.
THE COMPANY: Armour Valve Ltd., headquartered in Toronto, supplies specialty valves, accessories and process equipment to the oil & gas, power, petrochemical and wastewater industries. It also has an office in Calgary dedicated to servicing the Western Canadian marketplace.THE CHALLENGE: In recent years, double-digit growth intensified the need for information to manage performance. Until 2007, it generated reports and key performance indicators (KPIs) from 24 Lotus Notes databases, all separate from its financial package. Response to customer, supplier and internal inquiries was hampered due to the lack of an integrated database. Metrics and reporting depended on manually transferring data from one system to another, increasing the potential for error and weakening the company’s ability to identify trends and respond to problems early. In 2006, Armour Valve drafted a mission statement to achieve integration and real-time information for improved decision support. With sales reps spanning the continent and suppliers worldwide, an integrated global system made sense.THE STRATEGY: After an extensive search, it chose Exact Software’s enterprise solution. In 2007, the company implemented Exact Globe, Synergy and Event Manager, and in 2008, Exact Business Analytics (EBA). The company customized its front-office processes with Synergy SDK (software development kit) and is currently working with Globe SDK to introduce custom elements to its core back office processes.THE RESULTS: Since implementation, metrics have flowed automatically via customized EBA dashboards. Analysis is multi-dimensional by company, cost centre, sales rep, sector, product and manufacturer. Meanwhile, notifications from Event Manager have increased visibility of process gaps and informed task prioritization. According to marketing manager Liz McBeth, customer service has improved and operations have been streamlined. "Having a central integrated database allows us to retrieve information quickly and be more responsive to customers, suppliers and internal stakeholders. The system encourages collaboration in new ways thanks to a cross-enterprise view of the business," she says.Benefits also come from integration of all four systems. For example, the sales team uses Synergy on the road for access to 30,000 contacts, plus real-time sales and scheduling information via their mobile devices. Globe ERP allows the company to conduct business seamlessly with faraway customers and suppliers. It functions as a financial, inventory, project and workflow management tool. Event Manager automates processes, notifies and frees users for higher priority tasks. "We wanted consolidated metrics gathered from both companies that could easily be filtered to focus on single company performance," McBeth says. "Exact has enabled us to provide KPIs via custom dashboards to any level of the company in real time for access to performance data whenever needed." With Exact’s suite of systems, real time metrics became a reality, steering the company toward more growth.• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Flexahopper Plastics Ltd. is a plastic products manufacturer based in Lethbridge, Alta., that uses a rotational molding process serving agricultural, industrial, fishing and ecological industries.THE CHALLENGE: Flexahopper has a complex product mix with more than 600 items and several dozen distributors that makes for a difficult management task in materials planning, BOM maintenance and production scheduling. Many of the products produced are often changed based on custom ordering. Under their old system, having a non-standard or custom BOM based on a sales order was next to impossible to maintain as it would require creating a new BOM for every custom order. This led to outdated and inaccurate costing of BOMs and production.As well, material planning was a guessing game based on constant physical counts and checks of raw materials. The system in use had no practical or accurate material requirements planning system. Production scheduling was also a problem, as their old system had no facility for estimating production times of product runs.THE STRATEGY: Flexahopper needed to find a manufacturing control system that would accurately cost their BOMs, make BOM management and customization easier, and provide them with both material requirement forecasting and master production scheduling. They needed to find a software system that would integrate with the existing accounting system rather than purchase an entire new ERP system. MISys Manufacturing for Sage Accpac ERP (MISys SAE) fit the bill as it allowed for easy cost "roll-ups" throughout BOMs when items are replaced or have price changes; allowed customization through the use of "manufacturing orders" that can customize a BOM without changing the standard BOM; did an excellent job of materials and purchasing planning based on unlimited customizable criteria; and accurately forecasted production run times based on the BOM routing details.THE RESULTS: The cost savings and return on investment were enough to justify the purchase, the company says. They now always have proper stock levels and have reduced freight costs by an estimated 15 percent by eliminating "emergency orders." It has also allowed them to negotiate better terms with their suppliers. They now have accurately costed finished goods, allowing them to determine the best product pricing for customers and themselves. They can also customize a production run and still know exactly what it costs based on standard, projected and actual costs – and can now give a customer accurate delivery dates.• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: As a provider of design engineering and manufacturing services for electronic products, Kanata, Ont.-based BreconRidge collaborates on voice, video and data applications with the world’s leading communications, industrial, medical, aerospace and defence OEMs.THE CHALLENGE: Collaborative partnerships with customers are the cornerstone to BreconRidge’s value proposition, making responsiveness and service paramount to maintaining its competitive edge and managing multiple, geographically dispersed manufacturing sites. Therefore, it needed to improve data availability and analysis to support decision-making and response times. Managing order promising and on-time delivery in response to order or forecast changes were urgent needs in particular. As well, effectively managing engineering changes is an ongoing focus; many of the company’s business engagements with customers are at the design and first-time build stage.THE STRATEGY: The company then decided to deploy Kinaxis RapidResponse globally in multiple areas of the company, which arms it with the ability to drive rapid resolution to persistent changes across the supply chain. Users can access accurate and detailed information in an easy-to-use spreadsheet-like interface embedded with ERP analytics and automatically populated with live data feeds from BreconRidge’s SAP system. Participants from across various functional groups can instantly model ERP data to simulate and share the impacts of countless "what-if" scenarios in response to changes in supply, demand and product. They can then rapidly score these scenario alternatives against set performance metrics to ensure that decisions are aligned with corporate goals. The RapidResponse solution offers key functionalities the company says is not found in traditional planning systems, such as component to sales order allocation/pegging, clear visibility of projected delivery dates of demand records, and business metrics and trend analysis/reporting.THE RESULTS: With RapidResponse, the company was able to offer its customers more accurate original-commitment information and supporting details for constraints or problem materials through improved "capable to promise" analysis, increasing on-time delivery performance by 40 per cent in just eight months. What’s more, the software’s ability to provide readily accessible, actionable data reduced the company’s response times to customers for demand change requests by 80 per cent. RapidResponse provides accurate product lead-time information internally and to customers – all with the supporting detail required to simulate and assess inventory reduction options. With the help of the tool, manufacturing lead times have been reduced by 20 per cent and confidence in the accuracy of the lead time is very strong. For one customer who strategically invested in inventory, RapidResponse aided in defining the investment needed to meet a certain flexibility factor, which allowed product lead times to be reduced by 50 per cent overall.
THE COMPANY: Freybe Gourmet Chef (FGC) in Langley, B.C., a subsidiary of Freybe Gourmet Foods, has grown substantial since inception and continues with strong growth. It supplies salads, dips and soups to local delis, chain stores and distributors, and prides itself in using local produce whenever possible.THE CHALLENGE: A major challenge is that the raw material used is highly dependent on seasonality, which is a major contributor to the volatility of raw material cost. FGC’s legacy system used for managing recipes and work instructions could only track projected cost instead of actual cost. Maintenance of the existing system was almost impossible as it was a homegrown solution. Similarly, any upgrades and modifications proved to be extremely difficult and time consuming.THE SOLUTION: The president of FGC requested the implementation of an IFS recipe management application that was already in use by its parent company Freybe Gourmet Foods. Recipes included in the pilot project were based on complexity of their structures, and a recipe from each product category was to be included. Once the data for the project was cleaned and entered into IFS, the system was then configured to provide reports and information that addressed core business requirements. As soon as the costing information is available (estimated material cost, latest purchase price or average purchase price), one of these costs is selected and set to the standard cost for evaluating the inventory movement of the finished goods. The summary graphical presentation of the costing result, allows for review of product costing buildup without having to go into detailed accounting explanations. An added benefit is the revision control, and accountability for changes.THE RESULT: Cost can now be rolled for estimated material cost; latest purchase price or average purchase price." This information is extremely valuable when renegotiating contract pricing with major customers. It also helps the operations management group to identify product categories that need to be revisited to review and update the production standards. FGC is impressed with the results of the pilot; and will capture all of the current active recipes into the system. Particularly helpful was the fact that IFS Applications was able to handle the mixed mode nature of FGC’s business, combining recipe management and process manufacturing with discrete manufacturing, which allows FGC to track cost per packaged item as well as the cost of recipe ingredients as they change.Custom reports were designed to present recipe information to the shop floor." In a format that is easy to read, and understand yet still capturing all the requirements needed for traceability, yield and test results for a production run. The costing report also includes a section with pricing suggestions detailing the unit and per kg costs and selling prices at different markups.An additional phase of the project that is under discussion is shop order access on the shop floor, allowing for real time tracking and electronic end-to-end lot tractability.
THE COMPANY: Burnaby, B.C.-based Ballard Power Systems Inc. develops, manufactures, sells and services hydrogen fuel cells, with annual revenue of US$65.53 million. The company’s products are used today in various markets, from materials handling to residential cogeneration, backup power and transportation. As an innovator in the clean energy industry with 485 employees, Ballard works to accelerate fuel cell product adoption.THE CHALLENGE: Given the nature of its industry, the company needs to remain on the leading edge of the fuel cell industry and foster market adoption. In order to maintain its competitiveness, it must improve operational efficiency to reduce costs and accelerate time-to-market for fuel cell products – and position the company for significant product volume growth.THE STRATEGY: Ballard implemented Oracle’s Agile Product Lifecycle Management solutions to create a central repository for product data, including Agile Product Collaboration and Product Quality Management." Additionally, they added Oracle’s Hyperion Planning, a centralized, Excel and Web-based planning, budgeting and forecasting solution that integrates financial and operational planning processes and improves business predictability. They also use Hyperion Analyzer to provide intuitive Web analysis. THE RESULTS: After the implementation, the company streamlined its end-to-end process from product design through manufacturing, accelerating time-to-market. "As the fuel cell industry really takes off, we need to be prepared with a scalable, flexible system to meet the demands of significant product volume increases," Paul Louw, manager of design services and configuration management, says. "We trust Oracle’s Agile applications will enable us to meet those demands."Among the results, it increased access to product data and improved data accuracy and currency; enabled users to create product change requests directly, accelerating the approval process and reducing delays; and increased the ability to react to changing markets by enabling it to modify or create new products quickly to meet demands. The software created a new workflow to handle product fixtures and prototypes, enabling the company to react quickly to problems with products in the field or to customer change requests, and it enabled fixtures and prototypes users to purchase new parts or send drawings to vendors without clogging the material requirements planning system. Overall, the new system ensures appropriate approvals and documentation control without stalling the product manufacturing cycle.• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Ottawa Mould Craft Ltd. develops customized plastic product for a wide range of industrial applications. These include telecommunications equipment such as phones, connectors, cable management, fibre optics connectors and cellular phones. It develops consumer products including tools, toys, pagers and furniture components. The company also manufactures protective equipment and breathing apparatus for the military.THE CHALLENGE: The company has been an IQMS customer since 2003. Prior to implementing IQMS EnterpriseIQ, Ottawa did not operate any formal ERP system. It used spreadsheets. The company was using separate, multiple programs for its accounting, sales management, marketing and a third software solution for shipping. Even when bundled, Ottawa’s systems lacked the functionality and interoperability needed to mange its business effectively. David Beal, vice president of Ottawa, Inc. describes the company’s old system as, "between a crystal ball and Ouija board."THE STRATEGY: After an extensive review of competitive vendors and software, Ottawa selected EnterpriseIQ, which provides a powerful and cohesive solution that meets the unique and varied requirements of industry specific manufacturers. Ottawa was impressed with its features, such as a comprehensive financial management system, real time machine monitoring, regrind usage and consumption capabilities, multi-level bills of manufacture and multi-tool and family-tool functionality."Ottawa Mould Craft Ltd. spent four years researching the best software for our company and we are convinced when all things are considered IQMS was the best choice and still is," says vice-president David Veal.After working out minor compatibility glitches with a third party software Ottawa was using, IQMS technical support and customer service helped" Ottawa achieve a flexible, lean and robust solution to run its injection molding and manufacturing platform. THE RESULTS: IQMS was the only solutions provider that was able to assist in establishing its new ERP platform around the company’s multi-system configuration, saving Ottawa money, both in capital investment costs and manpower during implementation.Ottawa is bound by quality standards to exceed customers’ expectations both in product performance and customer service, and EnterpriseIQ has been central to this effort. While most technology companies target markets, IQMS targets customers. According to Veal, IQMS EnterpriseIQ technical support for customers is one of the most powerful features of the software. IQMS has saved Ottawa ten times of what they were previously paying with third party software. Having a single-source, Web-enabled ERP solution has allowed Ottawa to centralize its business activity, and improve its overall effectiveness and efficiency of operations. As a comprehensive solution, EnterpriseIQ enables Ottawa’s separate business areas to consistently achieve the rigorous quality standards set forth under ISO certification.• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Oakville, Ont.-based Integral Machining Ltd. machines and designs precision parts to the aerospace, medical, alternative fuel, instrumentation and photonics industries.THE CHALLENGE: President Peter Reypa said the company felt that in order to be more efficient, they needed to get into the Swiss-turn market with machines that are very fast, with multi-axis capability and extreme accuracy requirements. However, programming for these machines can be very complex and time consuming. THE STRATEGY: When they purchased their Tornos machine, at first they used the software that came with the machine; but when they saw Delcam PartMaker at a trade show, he was amazed at how easy it was to program. "With PartMaker we were able to combine the speed of the machine with PartMaker’s robust postprocessor," Reypa said, reducing programming time from six to one hour.The software breaks complicated part surfaces into sets of planes or faces, so machining tasks like turning, plane milling and cylinder milling are carried out separately and for each face in a intuitive manner. All this can be documented so the operator can handle even the most complex part quickly and easily. The software provides the link between the engineering department – which designs its product using both 2D drafting and 3D solid modeling – and the manufacturing department, is tasked with producing the parts.THE RESULTS: "The really big benefit to having PartMaker is the ability to take the solid model, or even the DXF file, coming out of our engineering department for the part and immediately import it and be able to view it, edit it as necessary, and generate accurate toolpaths," said CNC programming manager Andrew Sweeting. Thanks to a close collaboration between Tornos and the PartMaker developers, a special data-file format generated by PartMaker can be directly imported into Tornos’ TB-Deco software. This ensures accurate transfer of the SwissCAM toolpaths"As a business owner, for me, it’s all about speed," commented Mr Reypa. "With such powerful tools at our disposable, my staff and I can give customers the attention to details needed when producing components." Whether it is a single part or complete assembly using electronic files or blueprints, with the system IML has in place, they can offer a very quick turnaround.• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.
THE COMPANY: Toronto-based Mercor Lighting Group distributes lighting products for residential, industrial, retail and commercial customers in Canada and the United States. The company has annual revenues of approximately $20 million and currently employs 40 people. Mercor is the result of a merger between Mercury Lighting of Toronto and Eclairage Corlite of Montreal.THE CHALLENGE: Following the merger of Toronto’s Mercury Lighting of Toronto and Montreal’s Éclairage Corlite in 2002, Mercor has enjoyed an increase in market share. Given this rapid growth and the competitive nature of its industry, Mercor needed to standardize business processes, and consolidate inventory management and go-to-market strategies across its organization. The company also aimed to increase precision of managing inventory and enhance client and supplier relationships to ensure continued success and profitability. In addition, Mercor wanted to improve its ability to support growth, as it looked to further expand across Canada through organic growth and future acquisitions." THE STRATEGY: Mercor decided to integrate its IT systems to increase visibility across its supply chain and enable better decision-making. The company partnered with Implanciel (now known as Fortsum Business Solutions) and SAP Canada to implement the SAP Business One application, which helps small businesses to streamline operations and manage their entire business, including financials, sales, customer relationships and inventory using a single solution. It can be tailored to meet industry-specific requirements and is scalable to support changing needs as businesses grow. Using a phased approach, Mercor implemented the software in Montreal and then moved to Toronto.THE RESULTS: Since implementing SAP, Mercor has improved inventory visibility, reduced data entry errors and simplified transfers between locations–reducing annual inventory costs by 10 percent. The company has also optimized its procurement processes and improved its ability to audit suppliers to choose the most suitable one at any given time. This enables Mercor to fulfill orders quickly and effectively, which in turn has improved customer satisfaction and retention.Mercor has streamlined its financial and reporting processes and reduced invoicing costs by approximately $8,000 per year. The company has also improved its sales management and has seen a significant increase in profitability. In addition, Mercor has increased efficiency in its IT systems without increasing support costs and established a platform that can support future expansion and integrate acquisitions more easily. "SAP software has become the backbone of our company, providing IT stability and support for our critical business processes," Mercor owner Eric Tordjman said.

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