Opperman Mastergear drives forward with Innogistic

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In order to put in place a World Class data management regime able to efficiently handle all aspects of sales order process though to shipping and after sales, Opperman Mastergear chose Innogistics Concept 4000 MRPII/ERP solution.

Opperman Mastergear designs and manufacturers a range of industrial gear drives for a wide variety of power transmission applications including equipment used for conveying, handling, agriculture, mining, pumping and mixing. In addition, the companys Mastergear range of actuators can be found throughout the world in a number of water, oil, chemical and allied processing industry applications. Opperman Mastergear was acquired by the Regal Beloit Corporation of Wisconsin USA, a world leader in the power transitions market with sales of $1.8 billion.

Opperman Mastergear has manufacturing facilities the UK, Germany, Italy, the USA and China. A key business strategy for the company is the implementation of Lean Manufacturing. To realise this objective the digitisation of process and information systems provides a common platform where customers, manufacturing, operations and suppliers can use single source of data to enable decision making on a real-time basis.

In order realise this strategy the implementation of a World Class data management system was needed to handle all aspects of sales order process though to shipping and after sales.


World Class

The companys software solution of choice was Innogistics Concept 4000 MRPII/ERP solution. Ron Cowley, who made the decision to source Concept 4000 soon after his appointment as Managing Director in July 2006, provided the background: When I joined the company I was keen to set up a B2B World Class strategy as soon as possible, and one of my key objectives was to ensure the company had as accurate a data set as possible within an ERP environment, he said. I was aware that Opperman Mastergear had been one of the very first users of Innogistics Concept 3000 MRP software, and soon after I joined the company I benchmarked Innogistics latest Concept 4000 software against other packages available on the market, including high-level systems offered by SAP, Oracle together with more basic systems.

Cowley evaluated the functionality and cost of each software package. He also considered the consultancy and back-up service offered by each vendor. As well as being highly cost-competitive, Concept 4000 could be easily tailored to meet our process needs, said Cowley. Innogistic made it clear from the outset that they could quickly configure and customise the software to ensure it would be a perfect fit for our requirements. We also required the dataset that sits on the database to be able to output in the format of .Net. This was because we were keen to ensure documents and data was easily and immediately accessible by our different sites and business partner network via the Internet.

Another key objective of Cowleys B2B World Class strategy was to set up E Kanbans. This speeds up production process information sharing globally in real time, as well as bills of materials, drawings stored on our central server and shared via .Net, he explained. Cowley also required that the software did not simply look inwardly like many traditional MRP systems (stock control, minimum and maximum order levels and works orders, etc.) but also had an awareness of the whole enterprise, from sales order processing to back office supply scheduling etc.

Once Opperman Mastergear had made the decision to source Concept 4000, implementation and customisation took place very quickly. We started the process of evaluation when I first joined the company in July 2006, and by September we had made the decision to source Concept 4000, said Cowley. We began implementation and customisation in the same month and went live by December through working closely with Innogistics consultants from the initial process road using Microsoft Visio to establish the value adding and non value adding processes creating a mapping to go live.

Prior to the implementation of Concept 4000 it was necessary for Opperman Mastergear to ensure that bills of materials accuracy was 100 per cent and that all other data sets were correct. Good information systems are based on accurate and meaningful data. We can now cleanse and mass-change data more easily to ensure we always have accurate bills of materials and cost sets, said Cowley.


Fast order processing

For its operations abroad, Opperman Mastergear can process information much quicker than before. We can now process a shop order or works order in seconds, whereas in the past we would have days of paperwork trails, said Cowley. Shop and works orders are now created automatically so much of the time-wasting human intervention we had in the past is now unnecessary because much of the decision making criteria is built into the software. Cowley also points out that with Concept 4000 the company can demonstrate bills of materials and engineering change control with pictorial views as well as textual representation. We can attach pictures to bills of materials so staff can immediately see the part number refers to a shaft, for example.

Concept 4000 ensures the company can manage the front end of the business from quotations to sales order processing. The softwares CRM gives us the ability to measure customer performance, measures of quote conversions, as well as giving us very good standard reporting capability he said. Cowley also highlighted the benefits of the Concept Explorer module: This helps us generate different types of statistical reports related to margins, supplier delivery performance, customer on-time deliveries, delivery to promise dates, etc. Concept Explorer is great from a KPI perspective. Opperman Mastergear has also integrated Crystal Reports as part of the package. This sits on Concept 4000 and looks at key data held in Concept, allowing us to quickly prepare and deliver reports via the Internet.


Ongoing developments

Tushar Kulkarni, Opperman Mastergears engineering and IT manager, spoke of some of the ongoing developments: I am looking forward to working with Concept to further enhance its ERP capabilities. This will include the implementation of a total quality module, which will help us to identify the total cost of quality and attribute corrective and preventative measure to eliminate waste in the system. He added that the company intends to add bar coding functionality to allow serial tracking of customer orders, and will shortly be able to access data direct from customer and supplier portals in order to move to a paperless office environment.

Nicola Nobes, director of manufacturing at Innogistic, said Innogistics mission phrase is Your company in our palm. All functions within Concept 4000 will be able to be remotely accessed in real time, giving open and speedy lines of communication from front-end process to the supply chain management, she explained. We are expanding our business through close partnerships with key organisations such as Opperman Mastergear and have bridged the gap from being a traditional MRPII to true ERP functionality.


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