Founded in 2006, Plasan Carbon Composites is at the forefront of the carbon fibre automotive components movement and the leading provider in North America.
The company transformed into a high-volume manufacturer three years ago, in response to new vehicle fuel-efficiency standards requiring American-made cars and light trucks to average 34.5 MPG by 2016 and 54.5 MPG by 2025.
Lightening the weight of an automobile, without compromising its integrity, is one of the most effective ways to increase fuel-efficiency. Every 10% reduction in weight results in a 7% increase in gas mileage. Carbon fibre components are lighter and stronger than standard auto body materials, providing a great growth market for the foreseeable future.
General Motors and Chrysler were customers since the formation of the company, and Plasan currently has sales approaching $100 million per year supplying carbon fibre hoods, roofs, splitters for front spoilers, rockers, and rear lifters for Corvette Stingrays and Dodge Vipers.
Production of the carbon fibre components is a combination of robotic automation and highly skilled hands-on finishing work. Plasan expects to increase to $150 million annual revenue in the next five years as they expand their volume and customer base.
The challenge: Starting up a new company with looming customer contracts
Plasan was in the enviable position of starting up a new company with two major OEM customers already in place. There was enormous pressure to get up and running as quickly as possible.
“As soon as we got the contracts with GM and Chrysler we realised we needed an ERP system that could handle all aspects of the business, work well now and be able to grow with Plasan – and we needed it quickly,” comments Phillip Austin, Plasan’s systems manager. “We knew we didn’t want to invest money, personnel and time in an on-premise solution. Leveraging a cloud ERP was the best choice for us.”
The team started investigating cloud ERP companies. QAD’s excellent reputation and automotive industry expertise made them the top contender very quickly.
“QAD is a major power in the automotive sector and their Cloud ERP is a well-established product,” continues Austin. “Knowing QAD’s reputation and having worked with the company in the past – it was an easy choice.”
The Solution: Implementing QAD Cloud ERP while starting up a new company with a new manufacturing facility
Many things had to happen simultaneously in the hectic time Plasan was getting up and running. The company set up a new 200,000 sq. ft. manufacturing plant in Walker, MI. While working on the logistics of the factory floor, the QAD Cloud ERP system was being put into place. There was a critical deadline to satisfy both GM and Chrysler contracts.
“We needed to be up and running quickly, so we focused on tracking production, financials, purchasing, and order entry,” notes Austin. “It was invaluable to be able to begin with an ERP implementation that required very little customisation. The entire process took less than three months with the QAD Cloud ERP team’s help, while ensuring great options are available for future plans.”
Benefits: QAD Cloud ERP’s effectiveness starts strong and grows with Plasan
“Our first four years in business have proven very successful and QAD Cloud ERP has been
instrumental,” states Austin. “We haven’t had to invest in expert programmers or expensive hardware.
QAD always has us covered with knowledge, training and backup.” Just some of the benefits of QAD Cloud ERP are:
- The system has proven to be very stable and responsive with excellent uptime.
- It is easy to implement additional functionality such as lot tracing.
- Little customisation has been necessary making future upgrades easier and less complex.
- QAD Cloud ERP has made a separate disaster recovery plan unnecessary which eliminates a huge expense.
- The system has all the functionality and accreditations needed now as well as for future international expansion with its variety of languages, currency and EDI capabilities.
- QAD supplies training to systematically increase knowledge and ensure our super-users are fully utilising QAD Cloud ERP’s capabilities.
- All manual systems are being eliminated and the engineering, maintenance and routing departments are now also being managed through QAD Cloud ERP.
- The QAD Cloud ERP solution seamlessly links our R&D location to our manufacturing site.
“Our focus is on expansion,” continues Austin. “We need to speed up our manufacturing process to increase volume which will allow us to expand our customer base. QAD Cloud ERP is helping us capture the data we need to determine where we can make changes and improvements in our processes and better streamline inventory. QAD Cloud ERP will support our rapid growth and it’s a comfort knowing QAD’s knowledgeable staff is out there supporting us, versus Plasan having to run the system.”
|Company||Plasan Carbon Composites|
|Products||Carbon Fibre Components|
|Solution utilised||QAD Cloud ERP|