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How Small Manufacturing Companies Can Lead the Industry

August 15, 2017

Most manufacturing firms in the U.S. are small—99 percent have less than 500 employees, 75 percent of which have less than 20 employees.1 And since small manufacturing companies are at the heart of creating the products the world uses, they are in the unique position to make changes at the grass root level that can lead the industry. G&W Products, a metal stamping manufacturing organization in Fairfield, OH, employs 145 people and has completely transformed how it does business with the Plex Manufacturing Cloud.

Thinking Beyond “On-Premise”

G&W’s legacy ERP system didn’t provide the flexibility or accessibility it needed to gain visibility into fundamental areas like inventory management control and capacity availability. Employees resorted to spreadsheets or running to the shop floor to find out what was happening in production or to locate inventory. It became clear that a new approach was needed to stay agile and sustain growth.

The company’s CEO realized that cloud-based ERP technology had evolved enough for a business like his to leverage its powerful capabilities. G&W saw with Plex that not only is the company’s data secure but it’s also available anytime, anywhere to anyone who needs it. One team member was even able to manage the shop floor from his daughter’s swim meets. Now the company operates with a single source of truth that has resulted in comprehensive traceability that has reduced inventory on hand by 25 percent.

Enforcing Quality Operations

Standing out as a manufacturer sometimes means providing quality products at the lowest price. However, without the proper checks and balances, and optimized workflows, quality gets sacrificed for on-time delivery. With the Plex Manufacturing Cloud, G&W can find root causes and perform corrective actions before the product even ships. All information is captured and available, essentially forever. This reduces customer returns, lowers operational costs, improves the ability to respond to audits, and ultimately improves customer satisfaction.

Responding Faster to Changing Demand

Responding to customer demand is critical. G&W recognized this and wanted to expand product portfolio to meet the market demand but that meant increased complexity—assemblies that used to contain 15 parts now involve hundreds of parts. The level of precision and traceability required to meet these demands needs a sophisticated yet flexible system. This gives the company the visibility and control needed to confidently meet ever-changing customer demands.

Leading the small business manufacturing industry for G&W means leveraging cloud computing manufacturing technology and the expertise of their people to manage day-to-day operations with ease and efficiency. Read more about how G&W Products is laying the foundation for success—both for its own company and the industry – in an ERP success story.

  1. Reference: MP Star Financial. 15 Facts That Can’t Be Ignored About U.S. Manufacturing. September 2016.


About the Author

Hemant Makhija Senior Director of Product Marketing, Plex Systems

Hemant Makhija served as senior director of product marketing for Plex Systems from January 2014 to March 2019.