At a Glance:
- Fastener manufacturer relies on cloud ERP for integrated management of all functions, with flexibility to meet the unique needs of six sites.
- Plex Manufacturing Cloud ERP allows Contmid Group to close books in half the time each month.
- Solution provides baseline measures for OEE, throughput and scrap.
- Cloud solution monitors metrics to drive efficiencies.
- Increased data accessibility enables continuous improvements in performance across the workforce.
About Contmid Group
Contmid Group is a manufacturer that produces an extensive product line of internally and externally threaded fasteners and stamped products for automotive and industrial markets.
None of the facilities from which Contmid Group was initially formed had existing ERP systems. As the company expanded its customer base over time, it realized it needed an ERP system to effectively manage operations and allow for continued growth. Yet it proved difficult to find a solution that allowed for central control while also providing the customizations needed for each location.
When the company acquired a new facility, Jacobson Tiffin, it found the solution it needed. The Jacobson Tiffin site had recently launched Plex Cloud ERP. ContMid leaders reviewed the cloud ERP solution’s functionality and decided it was perfect for the entire enterprise.
Management felt Plex would be agile enough to meet the differing needs of its six locations. Also, because it is completely integrated, it would allow ContMid to share resources and best practices, while standardizing data management and reporting.
According to Contmid Group’s IT Manager Brent Hunter, Plex was viewed as a “great gift that the company received with the acquisition of Jacobson Tiffin.”
Today, Contmid Group has a consolidated view of the world through which employees at all six of its locations can access the same information, produce the same reports, and make critical business and operational decisions more quickly. All data is integrated, and the team can view critical information through dashboards in real time.
Plex Manufacturing ERP has been the perfect all-in-one solution for the Contmid Group. It combines the capabilities of enterprise resource planning (ERP), manufacturing execution systems (MES), quality management, customer relationship management (CRM), shop floor integration, and much more.
It enables the company to more effectively and efficiently manage virtually every aspect of its operation including bills of material, purchasing, receiving, inventory, manufacturing, quality, planning and scheduling, shipping, EDI, and supply-chain management.
Integration Drives Efficiency
The seamless integration of all of its functions is viewed by Hunter as one of the greatest benefits of Plex for the company’s day-to-day operations.
The company leverages single points of data entry without having to maintain separate interfaces, duplication, or replication. For instance, the part list is the core of the system and ties together engineering, quality, accounting, sales, and inventory at a single point. All information related to a manufactured part is easily accessible and references that single entry on the part list.
Contmid Group employees are able to access and print real-time reports while filtering out data as needed. The integration of data and the use of common processes enable management to have a more accurate view of the operations in all of the plants at all times. Accurate, comprehensive tracking of its products as they are being manufactured has enabled the company to improve its inventory management, traceability, and resource forecasting.
Experts Manage Maintenance
Because Plex is a cloud solution, all of Contmid Group’s data is securely housed and maintained off-site by Plex Systems.
The company avoids costly servers, hardware, and energy costs. There’s no need for internal IT maintenance for the ERP system. The company rests assured knowing that its data is housed in a highly secure environment with back-up servers and industry-leading disaster recovery levels.
In addition, updates are made to the software on a real-time basis at no additional cost to users; there are never new versions to install.
Prior to the launch of Plex Cloud ERP, information- sharing and reporting functions at most of Contmid locations had been handled manually. Everything was tracked with Excel spreadsheets and third-party reporting software using separate processes, so it was impossible to consolidate and compare data.
“Before Plex, we had no baseline measurements for things like OEE, throughput and scrap levels,” noted Hunter. “Now we can gather and review measurables month to month, compare them, and delve deeper to investigate root causes for variations. Comparing apples to apples helps us identify opportunities to operate more efficiently and make smarter overall business decisions.”
Improved Customer Satisfaction
One of Contmid Group’s toughest challenges is meeting the very tight delivery time frames imposed by its customers. Plex has helped the company become more responsive to customer inquiries about turnaround times, more flexible in adjusting schedules, and better able to control everything from inventory to shipping.
“With the real-time recording of production data, we can immediately check on the availability and status of parts for shipment,” said Hunter. “This helps us respond to our customers’ inquiries, identify and manage any potential roadblocks or production issues, and ensure that all delivery schedules
Speedy Information Sharing
The fact that all data entered into Plex is instantaneously accessible for use by other departments and locations has dramatically sped up reporting, both within each facility and across the entire Contmid enterprise. Financial reporting is one example.
“Compared to how long it used to take Accounting to close the books each month, with Plex, the time has been cut in half,” explained Systems Analyst Michelle Campbell.
Campbell views this benefit as one of several advantages Plex Cloud ERP has brought to the Contmid Group.
“When we make business decisions, we must plan months ahead,” she noted. “Being able to review results in real time and consolidate and quickly compare information means we can respond to market changes faster than we previously were able to. This is a huge competitive advantage.”
Knowledge is Power
The increased accessibility of information with Plex has led to increased knowledge across the entire Contmid workforce. Campbell notes the value of this unexpected Plex benefit.
“Plex’s change control/history screens track who is doing what on the shop floor based on employee IDs, so we are able to identify who may need additional training in certain areas,” she explained. “We can then educate individuals on how to improve performance and achieve better results.”
“At a high level, we see examples each day of how more knowledge is helping each member of our workforce grow,” Campbell concluded. “Employees on the shop floor now have access to information they never saw before, and that has helped them become more active contributors to the overall business.”
All brand names are registered trademarks of their respective owners.