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Gesipa Blind Riveting Systems is a leading manufacturer of cold formed blind rivets and rivet nuts to a wide range of industries in the UK and throughout Europe. With a possible range of over 1500 different products, the company produces 300 million rivets and 60 million rivet nuts per year with order sizes ranging from single boxes for small distributors through to continual orders measured in millions for tier 1-3 automotive suppliers.
With changeover times of any dies taking up to half a day, planning the most efficient workflow is one of the companys key challenges. As is managing the degree of subcontracting involved, which not only lengthens the manufacturing process but also means that only two processes are under Gesipas direct control. Keeping track of huge volumes of part finished goods physically off-site provides a logistical difficulty while checking the accuracy of finishing and plating of goods returning from subcontractors represents another.
Cumbersome and complicated
The company had tried to overcome these challenges with a combination of spreadsheets and an accounts-based package called Multisoft. However, as manufacturing manager Paul Taylor pointed out: The makeshift plan was so cumbersome and complicated that it couldnt ever be updated because it took almost two weeks to redo. Monitoring progress was a matter of physically moving individual sheets of paper around the building with customer enquiries necessitating a walk around the shop floor to find the order in question and then estimating how much longer it would take.
The Multisoft authors stopped supporting the system in 2005, which led to the search for a much more robust, modern and most importantly, manufacturing-oriented business system with external IT consultant, Steve Ellis of Enigma Business Solutions. After a comprehensive review of suitable candidates, EFACS E/8 from Exel Computer Systems proved to be the best fit in every way. From a manufacturing perspective, it was clear that the Exel team had a deep understanding of the industry and business by the comprehensive way they explained a range of production planning techniques Gesipa could benefit from. From a technology perspective, Exels commitment to using the latest, most future-proof technology backed up by a substantial user base already benefiting from this, made EFACS E/8 the wisest investment.
Gesipa successfully live in May 06 and one of the most immediate benefits was the continued growth in the recognition by the shop floor of the value of the system and the possibilities it opened up to fine tune how work was actually done. Much of this came from the fact that from the outset the data in EFACS E/8 proved itself to be accurate. The manufacturing team would check and re-check the figures and each time EFACS E/8 would be right. The visibility of the system was also quickly recognised and appreciated. For the first time ever, Gesipa had real-time access not just to what was actually happening in every part of the production process, but also the projected flow of work into the production area. Not only could they at last keep accurate track of what products were with which subcontractor, they could also determine when these products should be despatched to the subcontractor as well as alerting the company to when deliveries back from the subcontractor had not materialised as planned.
The lack of visibility of the former system makes cost saving hard to quantify, but Gesipa have identified a reduction in Sales arrears from 150,000 per month down to under 50,000 per month. Financial director Andrew Holmes concluded: Customer satisfaction levels have risen dramatically because we are now getting the right product to the right place at the right time. While not the sole cause, this has had a direct impact on our ability to grow the business. We couldnt have got where we are without EFACS.