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MES and ERP for the Manufacturing Industry

MES and ERP for the Manufacturing Industry

Shiloh Industries approaches digital transformation from the manufacturing floor up – and designs a MES and ERP system that supports their business goals.

Meet Terry McKinney, director of Digital Transformation for Shiloh Industries. Shiloh Industries is an automotive supplier of ultra-lightweight structural technologies, electrification solutions, stamped metal systems, and driver control systems. Shiloh’s highly engineered solutions reduce CO2 emissions and material waste while enhancing vehicle safety. Their most recent expansion in North America is a state-of-the-art manufacturing site for electric vehicle battery enclosures.

A series of company acquisitions left Shiloh operating a variety of disparate systems, and the lack of visibility and cohesion amongst these systems was impacting manufacturing. “We had seven different ERP systems and none of them talked to each other. The data was inconsistent from plant to plant and using that data was difficult,” Terry explains. “We spent more time looking for the right data, cleaning it and making sure it was correct for decision-making than we did capturing the data.”
To remedy this situation, Shiloh built a manufacturing platform that has the capability to manage business operations. This system has been rolled out at 15 North American facilities to date.

A User-Friendly ERP System Focused on Manufacturing

Shiloh’s approach to digital transformation was built from the ground up: they wanted a manufacturing system that connected into a unified ERP system. This approach allowed the company to design the system so it supported their specific goals of reducing scrap, improving inventory tracking, and increasing overall manufacturing efficiency.

“We're a manufacturer, so we wanted to make sure that operations had something that was user-friendly on the shop floor, that would capture and store the data the way we wanted, and produce reports to make better decisions,” Terry says.

Shiloh was drawn to Plex’s manufacturing-focused solutions, and ultimately selected the platform to connect their operations and improve data access and visibility. “The implementation so far has been “flawless,” Terry adds. “The system is easy to understand and easier to use.”

Early Results Generate Excitement

While there’s been an expected learning curve, Shiloh facilities started to notice benefits after just a few months of Plex use.

For example, “Every year we do a physical inventory and one of our plants typically had year-end variances,” Terry explains.  “After using Plex for the first time for inventory, they had less than 1% material variances. That was huge for them, and they were excited.”

Even though manufacturing operations differ by plant, standardizing data and processes across facilities has made an impact for Shiloh. “We have a common language. How we input information. How we use it. It’s all same,” Terry says. “We’ve gone from data mining to data analytics.”

Evolving Toward Smart Manufacturing

Shiloh has several goals for how it plans to use the enhanced data to improve and evolve operations.

“In manufacturing, a good OEE number is critical to success. So is understanding scrap, understanding downtime, and leveraging preventative maintenance. We're even looking at taking the next step on our road towards smart manufacturing and starting to connect the machines,” Terry says. “That's the next step in our evolution. We’ve redesigned our entire business around this system.”