White Paper

Systems Electronics Case Study

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For over 75 years, Systems Electronics, Incorporated has established a proud heritage of manufacturing defense and commercial products for customers worldwide.

From delivering the first horse drawn Budweiser beer wagon in 1919, to producing today's sophisticated advanced Electro-mechanical transportation systems andstate-of-the-art electronics equipment, SEI has developed an industry leading business based on a tradition of excellence and exceeding customer expectations. Reliable customer service and innovation have enabled SEI to meet the most aggressive customer demands, from conceptual design and engineering solutions through product development, manufacturing, and reliable product support.

Although SEI has built a strong business based on diverse product lines, profitable growth and ongoing success does not come easily. Dissimilar manufacturing processes, lead times and unique customer demands create tremendous challenges in strategically planning manufacturing capacity over 3-6 month time frames, in addition to day-to-day scheduling activities. Decisions based on untimely or inaccurate information can invariably lead to costly project overruns and even worse, order delays. To achieve the highest level of accuracy, SEI required a flexible planning and scheduling system that would model its various manufacturing methods, including made-to-order and mass assembly.

After examining new innovations in manufacturing and customer care, SEI chose to implement Matrikon's MxAPS, an integrated advanced planning and scheduling solution.

The MxAPS finite capacity engine provides accurate, reliable and fast support information at all levels of the enterprise.

Since MxAPS is a fully integrated system, SEI's remote facilities would be seamlessly linked through one common environment. Planning decision support information is shared between corporate-level business planning and each facility in order to maintain up-to-date information that will subsequently influence daily schedules.

SEI West Plain's facility is a world-class manufacturer of heavy transportation and US postal mail sorting equipment. Although the volume is relatively low, this division produces 40 different types of products with complete bill of materials (BOM) ranging from 2,000 to 6,000 part numbers. In order to achieve greater throughput, the West Plains plant placed an emphasis on scheduling operations that constrained overall production consisting of the fabrication, machine shop, subassembly, subweldment, and paint shop processes.

In stark contrast, the Sanford, Florida facility assembles a variety of sophisticated electronic components such as radar systems and circuit boards. These products are primarily mass assembled. However, electronic testing creates ongoing scheduling conflict and causes delays.

To meet the unique challenges at each facility, SEI channeled its intellectual knowledge into an internal deployment team comprised of Information Systems (IS) and manufacturing personnel. During the initial project planning and data gathering phases SEI and Matrikon technical teams worked alongside each other. Once they had developed a level of expertise, standard templates and programs, the SEI technical team eventually began working independently while still relying on Matrikon support services to field routine questions.

SEI has realized a return-on-investment in less than 6 months after implementation of MxAPS. The West Plains facility on-time delivery performance has improved by 16.1%. Accurate planning has helped to reduce overtime by 10% with expected reductions to exceed 25% in the following year. Compared to SEI baseline standards, machine utilization has improved by 25%.

Donald Joice, SEI Materials Manager, commented that "working alongside Matrikon's implementation experts in the first phase of our program enables us to become proficient in a relatively short period of time. The Mx product suite provided robust functionality that could best model our proprietary manufacturing processes. By establishing target objectives, coupled with a realistic timeframe, SEI was able to stay on course."

Terry Romeo, Corporate MIS Director, added, "The flexible and modular nature of the product allowed our team to gradually phase-in the system and minimize the disruption in overall business operations. Matrikon has dramatically improved our ability to accurately plan and schedule manufacturing operations at both corporate and plant levels."

Submitted by Matrikon.

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