Infors TRANS4M Drives the Supply Chain Game for Repetitive Manufacturing

INFORMATION: Free information is available from INFOR on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

Management of the automotive supply chain and the level of flexibility required by the demands of OEMs have become particularly complex, to the point where the industry requires a type of ERP system that is devised, developed and dedicated to the needs of automotive suppliers. Just-in-time processes, rapidly changing manufacturer requirements, and the expense of EDI mandates require the creation of much more flexible and accessible systems for communicating up and down the supply chain and ERP technology that is less expensive, easier to use and more functional than previous systems.

Infor Global Solutions Automotive Essentials Suite not only satisfies these constantly evolving new realities in the auto industry but is also componentized to provide a complete automotive solution, or feature state-of-the-art level customer and supply chain management components that integrate with existing ERP systems or that can stand alone.

The solution is called TRANS4M (pronounced transform). It was created specifically for repetitive manufacturing and has been developed exclusively for automotive suppliers in its functionality and capabilities. Moreover, it is an ERP application strategically focused on the precise requirements of the automotive arena in North America.

TRANS4M combines repetitive manufacturing with two of Infors most successful and advanced solutions: ACmanager, for managing logistics and communications specifically with automotive customers, and SupplyWEB, which provides an easy and highly visible Internet-based solution for supplier management and execution. In addition to being highly integrated with TRANS4M, ACmanager and SupplyWEB can also be used with any other ERP system or run as stand-alone solutions.

ACmanager integrates communications, order processing, shipping, invoicing, ASN management and bar coding. Its features include automation and integration of EDI (users do not have to be literate in EDI); release management; cumulative calculations; fabrication and material authorizations; calculation of lead time and ship days; suggested truck-load quantities; automatic advanced shipping notices (ASN) and billing; retrobilling price changes; complete histories of releases, shipments and invoices. All are specifically designed and managed by Infor to handle the OEM requirements.

Built into ACmanager is the capability to handle the requirements of all trading partners at all tier levels. ACmanager recognizes the business rules for each customer, which vary significantly throughout the industry. In fact, more than 10,000 different business rules are built into the application to handle the nuances of trading partners. These relate to the full spectrum of requirements for bar coding, paperwork, communications, financials, business practices (blanket release or pay-as-consumed) and other processes. A specific trading-partner module is provided for each of your customers and each is built to their specific requirements. ACmanager is designed to make adaptation to new demands from your customers easy and fast. Infor carries out all the programming to set up ACmanager and develops an easy-to-use interface, which is designed to each customers specifications.

Release processing through ACmanager provides improved convenience and accuracy. First, it integrates EDI incoming and outgoing message formats. Additionally, it provides sales and distribution processing and control for order processing, shipping, loading-equipment management, and billing processes. Finally, it provides stock and material flow for finished goods, including dynamic JIT changes, and integrated container management over the entire process.

SupplyWEB significantly reduces supply-chain costs and inventories while increasing operational efficiencies. Its strong ROI derives from increased supplier visibility, along with improved communications and a high level of integration. SupplyWEB combines information from multiple versions of a variety of ERP systems into one universal view for the entire chain of suppliers.

The supply-chain capabilities of SupplyWEB include shipping, receiving, barcodes, orders, premium freight, supplier performance and more. To take advantage of the method that best fits each kind of part, SupplyWEB enables companies to use multiple procurement processes: Blanket Releases, Kanban, Purchase Orders, Supplier Managed Inventory (SMI) and Logistical Releases.

SupplyWEB further allows both purchasers and suppliers to respond quickly to exceptions. Its exception-management tools track events and alerts and can free up as much as 80 percent of staff workload. It slashes labor time and costs associated with human error by doing away with manual intervention in planning and sending of supplier schedules. It also eliminates manual calculation and entry of supplier-performance information because performance ratings are calculated automatically for each supplier.

SupplyWEB provides multiple communication methods for suppliers. It operates with either traditional EDI communications or Internet-based communications that makes it highly accessible from anywhere in the world and dramatically reduces the costs of message transmission. It allows for totally electronic communication with all suppliers, even those that have not implemented EDI. Through SupplyWEB, suppliers can receive their forecast and daily requirements and send ASNs. The requirements can also be viewed in XML, HTML, Spreadsheet, and PDF formats.

Unlike most other ERP systems that are structured around individual jobs orders, TRANS4M is designed for repetitive manufacturing. The solution is part number based, so no work orders are required. This enables lean manufacturing where millions of parts can flow through a work center without having to open and close work orders. Parts can be rejected, reworked or scrapped at an operation and the proper part and labor costs are reflected. Bills and Routings handle versioning that automatically change and are accurately reflected in product costing. In areas where activities are more project based, work orders can be created to manage a discrete process. All of this leads to the reduction of overhead and faster flow of materials.

In replacing less-efficient ERP systems, customers have found that TRANS4M has a lower deployment cost and brings a faster return on investment than competing systems. Its automotive focus allows it to be up and saving dollars in a fraction of the time that other solutions require.

TRANS4M indeed does represent a transformation in the way that automotive suppliers and OEMs manage their costs, their communications and their changes. It brings automation and integration to many of the last remaining manual operations in the industry, along with the scalability to retain these new efficiencies as companies grow and their responsibilities broaden in an unpredictable environment that demands the efficiency and industry understanding upon with TRANS4M has been developed.

As Vice President of Product Management and Technology, Dave Van Noord is responsible for knowledge of current trends in technology as it relates to the automotive industry as well as product direction and partnerships for Infor Global Solutions.  Dave has worked in the automotive industry since the mid-1980s, with significant expertise in Electronic Commerce and automotive-specific requirements.  He joined Infor Global Solutions in 1989, coming from a Tier 1 automotive supplier.  He speaks at many automotive conferences and participates in numerous industry initiatives.  Daves vision and understanding of the automotive industry has assisted Infor Global Solutions in providing automotive-specific total business solutions.

INFORMATION: Free information is available from INFOR on the subject in this story. Click here to request a copy

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