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Exceeding Expectations: Aerospace Supplier Adds Value With Integrated Manufacturing System

Plex Online Case Study

At a Glance
An aerospace manufacturer replaces 40 stand-alone spreadsheets with one fully integrated ERP Software as a Service (SaaS) solution.

The company eliminates the cost of printing, handling, and storing over 20,000 pages of documents once generated each month, saving more than $53,000 per year.

The supplier implements real-time changes on the

production floor, reducing processing time by 75%.

Plex Online was a key component in the companys internally funded 50% growth rate.

growth and allowed them to successfully manage an

The company achieved ROI in less than 18 months.

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About Phoenix Logistics

Arizona-based aerospace manufacturer Phoenix Logistics, Inc., designs aerospace markets. and produces integrated data transmission solutions for global military and The company provides the design, manufacture, and testing of highcustomers include Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, Boeing.

frequency connectors, cable assemblies, and components. Major aerospace Recent applications include supplying data bus components for the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiters mission to the moon; high frequency solutions for multiple helicopter, fighter, and transport platforms. subassemblies for the International Space Station; and data transmission

Silos of Information
In previous years, Phoenix Logistics managed their low-volume, batchThe company relied on nearly 40 manufacturing process with non-integrated manual and paper-based systems. stand-alone spreadsheets to track

customer orders, accounting, parts other key areas literally silos of across the business.

traceability, inventory, shipping, and information with no linking of data

With automated workflow, weve cut costs and improved production.

The company stored all documentation and production source documents in over 50 filing cabinets, managed by one full-time administrative clerk dedicated to the sole task of moving and controlling documents.

Overcoming Document Control Challenges

One of the most significant limitations with the previous methods was complying with AS9100 production requirements for lot traceability. AS9100 is an international aerospace standard that stipulates full lot traceability documentation requirements.

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Compliance was difficult because the company stored paper documents

tracing the source of key materials and processes such as plating, cable, and days to search and pull bills of materials and assembly procedures from the difficult to track BOM or process instruction revisions.

other components in file cabinets in a large room. It took a clerk three to four hundreds of file folders. There was no standard document control, and it was

Inefficient Ordering Process

Processing customer orders was also inefficient. When Phoenix Logistics received a customer order issued by Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, or other OEM,

workers keyed the order data into a standby passing a folder from department to to determine material to be ordered, jobs released to production, and shipments to be made.

alone system. The order was then approved department. Various reports were generated

In addition, the customer order data was verified prior to generating a job

and then re-verified when the job was issued to the shop floor, again when

products came off the floor, and one final time before the order was shipped.

Engineering Change Request (ECR) Process

Engineering change request (ECR) documents were manually routed within the plant for approvals and disposition. Paper forms traveled more than a mile within the plant for handwritten signatures. As with any paper-based system, there was a high likelihood for error,

duplicate and triplicate data entry, lost papers, and poor communication shipped to customers.

between production and purchasing to manage the configuration of product

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A Better Way
Using Plex Online, Phoenix Logistics replaced stand-alone manual and paperbased work processes with automated electronic workflows. Implementation began with the accounts payable, accounts receivable, purchasing, customer orders and shipping modules going live in six months. Inventory, engineering change requests, quality, document control, manufacturing jobs, MRP/PRP, and costing were functioning within another program management, human relations, and strategic planning. six months. Additional modules implemented include: time and attendance,

Real-time information lets us reduce cycle times and improve customer response.
Automated Real-Time Traceability and Production Status
One of the most significant achievements experienced by the company is paperless, integrated real-time traceability. The automated traceability system accurately tracks individual containers and/or pieces as they flow through the manufacturing process, letting the company isolate problems with pinpoint precision. Real-time, detailed historical information related to production, was with the paper stored away in filing cabinets.

inspection, genealogy, and usage is available in seconds instead of days as it The company gained real-time visibility into status, issues, projected ship

date, and management of exceptions throughout the entire manufacturing been transformed from once reacting to past events, to now planning and executing to realize future opportunities.

cycle. This real-time visibility had not existed in the past. Management has

Ease of Compliance
Because full and detailed traceability is built into the Plex Online inventory system, its simple to comply with AS9100 requirements. The Plex Online inventory containers, providing both an upstream and downstream trace. traceability tree automatically tracks in real time the complete genealogy of all

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As a testament to the improved methods, Phoenix Logistics easily passed

a quarterly manufacturing process audit recently conducted by Boeing. The

company traces the source of production materials in seconds, isolates issues faster, and automatically generates audit reports which frees administrative staff for more meaningful tasks that add value to the process. Additionally a recent ISO/AS recertification audit was completed with a 25% reduction in audit time due to the speed of information availability and the ability to quickly audit electronic workflow records and detailed change history of every controlled document.

ECR Handling Improvements

ECRs flow automatically and in real time. No longer do paper ECR forms travel over a mile for approvals. The ECR

module provides an online system for company personnel to submit change requests to engineering.

The system tracks the ECR, manages the work flow, organizes and controls the drawings, and maintains ongoing documentation of the change. floor for a further streamlined production process. Phoenix production associates now call up the ECR directly on the shop

Sales Order Processing and Data Integrity Improvements

The sales order process is close to real-time with effective customer communication and feedback. Sales order folders are no longer physically make the journey.

moved from desk to desk as they were in the past, taking almost a week to The system tracks status and who is currently reviewing the order, customer confirming delivery and technical information.

providing timely communication to all departments and feedback to the

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Return on Investment
Phoenix calculates a return on investment of 18 months. Automated, real-time traceability and production status help the company achieve a cycle time reduction on the order of 9,000% resulting in drastically improved response time to the customer and the elimination of two quality positions dedicated to filling out paperwork. Total cost savings: over $89,000 per year. The system has allowed a 25% cycle time reduction in relation to all customer, ISO, and AS audits, saving $3,500 in direct costs. The supplier eliminated the cost of printing, handling, and storing over 20,000 pages of documents once generated each month, saving more than $53,000 per year. ECR improvements helped cut processing time by 75%, allowing for

virtually real-time changes to be implemented on the production floor.

Additionally, head count in engineering remained constant while workload for the department doubled, realizing a cost saving of $83,000 per year. Sales order approval cycle time has been reduced by 30%, while at the same time improving internal communication and feedback to the in another 10% reduction in production and shipping cycle times.

customer. The elimination of non-value-added validation steps resulted

About Plex Online

Plex Online, built on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, offers more than 350 functional modules, providing manufacturers instant access to vital information and management functions using a simple Web browser. The on-demand solution features product life cycle management (PLM) functions such as program and change management, enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions such as accounting and finance modules, customer relationship management (CRM) features such as order entry and tracking, manufacturing execution systems (MES) functions such as production scheduling and machine integration and supply chain management (SCM) functions such as supplier quality and traceability. www.plex.com

www.plex.com | 1.888.454.PLEX
No. 1 Rated ERP Solution for Manufacturers