At a Glance:
- After implementing Plex, Weber Metals, Inc., reduced quote entry time by 80 percent, and reduced errors and delays in the ordering and shipping process.
- The company replaced 40 man-hours per week of complex job and material optimization calculations with an automated, real-time process.
- Shop rescheduling time has been reduced from 18 hours to under one hour.
- From the quote process to the shipment of forgings, Weber’s data and processes are real-time, paperless, and completely visible and accessible online.
About Weber Metals
Weber Metals of Paramount, Calif., is a full-line aluminum and titanium forging supplier as well as the market leader in hand forgings. It specializes in stress- relieved products with minimum distortion during machining.
Employing more than 300 people, Weber prides itself on providing the shortest lead times in its industry. Its primary customers are in commercial aerospace, military aerospace, electronics/semiconductor, and jet engine component industries and in shuttle and space programs. It is wholly owned by Otto Fuchs Metallwerke of Germany.
The management team at Weber Metals knew it needed an ERP system that could integrate its quoting system with its order system. The company lacked an automated quote-to-order capability, and because of the nature of the products produced, quotes need to be 100 percent accurate.
They needed exact data with zero difference between the quote and the order. They also wanted a more flexible scheduling capability and the ability to integrate Intranet documents with their applications software.
Production Scheduling Challenges
In past years, Weber was also challenged with production scheduling. As an example, it took about 18 hours to reschedule the entire shop. Thus, Weber needed the ability to schedule like items together in order to reduce setup times at workcenters. They wanted the ability to quickly change time schedules and queue and move jobs.
To meet these and other objectives, Weber Metals began researching a new ERP system. Middle managers from nine different departments formed a team which developed a 13-page RFQ and evaluated 32 prospective systems. They had eliminated all but four companies, but they knew none of these four could fully meet their requirements. Before the final evaluation, Weber’s IT manager suggested the team investigate Plex Cloud ERP from Plex Systems, Inc.
After meeting with the Plex team, the Weber team realized it had found an ERP system that could meet all their criteria. Weber purchased the entire core package and set up an implementation schedule that allowed them to start with the functions that would give them the greatest return for the time invested. Weber implemented the Purchasing function and then the Quoting function. Once the entire package was programmed for Weber, it went live only one month later. The entire implementation took only three months.
Weber says it has had “fantastic” success with the Quote Tracking function and that they can now quote more rapidly. Entry is two to three minutes per quote, down from 10–15 minutes per quote. Pricing a quote used to take up to one hour but now takes only 1–2 minutes.
Plex’s Scheduling function was one of its strongest selling points for Weber. The Scheduling function is not only flexible with both finite and infinite workcenter scheduling, but it also has overlap operations, concurrent operations, and “what if” scenarios in addition to master schedules. Weber shop-floor supervisors can now make real-time decisions on changing crew sizes, overtime and workcenter changes. Prior to the Plex implementation, scheduling took so long that it was done only at night. Now it takes under an hour.
Weber found that Plex Cloud ERP not only met its RFQ needs but also brought considerably more value than originally expected.
Automated Order Process
For a customer to accept a product, Weber must certify that the product has certain metals with tight tolerances as specified in the original quote. This must be done for every piece produced.
Prior to implementing Plex’s Quote Tracking function, changes were keyed in and a manual review had to be conducted before every shipment, which sometimes delayed delivery. From the quote process to the shipment of forgings, Weber’s data and processes are now completely visible online and tracked in real time.
Shop Rescheduling Reduced
Weber needed to schedule like items together to reduce set-up time at the workcenter. They wanted a program that allowed them to schedule workstations with both finite and infinite capacities, move time schedules and queues, and maximize throughput. California’s laws regarding electrical power require Weber to be as efficient as possible, and its ability to schedule tightly is crucial. The Plex Cloud ERP Scheduling function positions all information at their fingertips, dramatically reducing scheduling time and significantly improving throughput. Shop-floor supervisors can analyze “what if” conditions and make real-time decisions on changing crew sizes, overtime and workcenter changes. Weber can determine its capacity compared to its schedule in real time.
Streamlined Inventory Inspections
The Plex Inventory function now has Weber inventory every single piece of material with a barcode which identifies every detail associated with it. Weber has complete traceability from the time they place a purchase order with a supplier until even after parts are shipped. Each supplier now labels every piece of material it provides with a barcode. When Weber wands the barcode upon receipt, Inspection sees the material receipts on their screens and inspects the material. Weber can then use the newly received material within hours of its receipt. It’s an extremely streamlined process.
Job Instruction Improvements
Before Plex Cloud ERP software was installed, all Weber job instructions were done manually. After the software installation, the shop-floor employees can access job instructions online within 60 seconds with the push of a button. Job instructions include pictures as well as text instructions. The Plex system is user-friendly, making it easy to train employees.