Features - E-business Systems

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Make the connection 18/06/2008

Analysts report that manufacturers are cranking up their spend on web-based operational systems. But who is doing what, and why – and who’s really benefiting? Brian Tinham finds out

Grundfos pumps up with e-training 25/09/2007

Grundfos’ adoption of an Adobe Connect-driven e-learning system has transformed development and delivery of product training, both for employees and for customers worldwide, says Brian Wall

Cosworth makes team working world class 04/10/2006

Northampton-based race engine developer Cosworth has created a common information window for engineering, purchasing and suppliers that's transformed its business operations. The firm implemented Documentum's eRoom, initially for exchanging CAD information but is now enabling collaboration with customers and suppliers way beyond design.

An ideal standard for Ideal Standard 03/10/2006

Automated EDI transactions with customers now up 25% in Italy and 40% in the UK are among early benefits at bathroom and kitchen fixtures manufacturer Ideal Standard – as a result of implementing an integration server system aimed eventually at covering its entire global trading community. Not only is it shaving cost from what were previously inefficient manual processes, but it’s improving customer service, increasing order accuracy, speeding up problem resolution and driving business volumes.

Outsourced logistics runs on latest SAP upgrades 02/10/2006

One way to get your supply chain processes very slick, very flexible and very efficient, while simultaneously cutting costs is to outsource some or all of the load to a third party organisation. Jaguar, Land Rover, London Taxis, Homebase, Halfords and Vodafone are doing just that, using Unipart Logistics (ULS). Why Unipart? Because the company has built business processes and foundation IT systems for its clients that make their supply chain operations robust, reliable and very flexible to changing demands – and it is these aspects that have been highly commended by our independent panel of judges.

Supply chain comms go well beyond MRP 01/10/2006

With cars now personalised fashion items, manufacturers have to deal not only with significant production complexity, but how to get late changes faster along the supply chain. This implementation at Tier One automotive supplier Johnson Controls Interiors impressed the panel with its solution. Shap Haque, director of IT operations, explains: “The problems we were facing drove us to re-think MRP. We have been using QAD Mfg/Pro ERP for nearly 15 years throughout our organisation and we have extensive knowledge of JIT [just in time] sequencing, so we decided to develop a solution in partnership with QAD.”

Supporting massive growth on ERP foundation 30/09/2006

Precision engineering SME CommaTECH is achieving outstanding growth in part by harnessing its ERP system’s integration and supply chain functionality. CommaTECH is a major supplier of seal housing and prismatic components to aerospace, motorsport and other specialist industries. Last year the company acquired aerospace component supplier DDi Precision in Hertford and NH Precision Engineering in Northampton. This year has since seen the acquisition of O+S Gears and most recently Braye Precision, resulting in turnover doubled to over £23 million in 18 months.

Transformed multi-site business operations 29/09/2006

Seating manufacturer Boss Group, or specifically its to-order division Boss Design and its designer reception and meeting room seats unit KOMAC, were highly commended for their business change programme resulting from a Syspro ERP system implementation by McGuffie Brunton.

Distilling the secrets of a spirited success 28/09/2006

Ian Macleod Distillers' new business and manufacturing process-centric ERP system caught the judges' eyes for its delivery of much more than most would imagine

Pumping up at Ernest Hill 07/09/2006

Choosing the right ERP company has resulted in improvements built on improvements at Sheffield-based £2 million specialist pumps manufacturer Ernest Hill. Brian Tinham reports on its latest developments involving fully managed IT and network infrastructure support plus custom-built e-commerce websites - all at sensible prices

Special report: Lean and agile thinking - appropriate IT for successful manufacturing businesses 16/08/2006

Lean thinking, as opposed to lean manufacturing - meaning the application of lean concepts, methodologies and supporting tools, techniques and systems to whole businesses, not just to the factory - continues to grow in popularity. As manufacturers experience worsening competitive pressures from rivals in the UK as well as those around the world, management teams seem to be realising that, while 'going lean' is neither trivial nor short and sharp, it's the only way they're going to survive and hopefully revive their fortunes.

What's behind a slick supply chain 19/06/2006

Unipart Logistics Systems looks after logistics for more than car majors. Brian Tinham talks to its head of IT about the systems and processes behind its operations

Extending your ERP: spending a little to gain a lot 12/06/2006

Manufacturing businesses don't stand still, so neither can your IT. Brian Tinham examines the ERP add-on modules that can make the biggest difference

Flakt Woods now gets collaborative 24/05/2006

For ventilation systems manufacturer Flakt Woods, an online document management system is transforming its business all the way from customer service to product development and production.

Get to know yourself better and faster 18/05/2006

Finding information fast for good business decision-making is becoming increasingly important. Keith Ricketts tells us how to do it well

Going for global integration 18/05/2006

EUR 8bn global pharmaceuticals, chemicals and performance materials conglomerate DSM reports success with its `Vision 2005' project for company-wide process streamlining and system integration.

e-procurement: like speed dating? 11/04/2006

The chances of finding a supplier that matches your requirements the traditional way are pretty remote. Online matching makes all the difference, says Andrew Ward

Customer support moves on the web 11/04/2006

EdgeCAM toolpath simulation software developer Pathtrace is using web conferencing and remote control to transform service. Brian Tinham reports

Supply chain visibility now in real time 01/03/2006

Supply chain synchronisation is fast becoming a business focus as the returns of lean and Six Sigma run dry

Ducati: riding on the lean road 01/03/2006

Italy's legendary motorcycle maker is implementing a lean demand-driven supply network on the back of Oracle E-Business Suite. Brian Tinham explains

Manufacturing to the pull of the customer 01/03/2006

Most of us know that we need to do something radical in manufacturing to tackle stiffening competition, particularly from the increasingly active low cost economies around the world – like India, China and eastern Europe. We also know from looking at what’s happening in the global automotive sector, among others, that top of the list is changing more of our production, where at all possible, to building only what customers order, rather than making to-forecast and/or to-stock

Maintaining a high profile 01/03/2006

Whether retailers’ Tier One suppliers face delisting or a strong revenue stream depends very much on their ability to comply with customers’ production, quality and audit standards. That, in turn, is a function of how well they maintain their manufacturing assets – machines, equipment, tooling etc. “Maintenance isn’t an afterthought,” says Hallam. “It’s a foundation, it’s being able to do what you do.”

Sensing success from integrated thinking 01/03/2006

Radio frequency and sensing technologies firm e2v –formerly part of Marconi but, following a management buyout, independent and now seeing considerable success on the London Stock Exchange – is proving the immense value of an IT strategy linked in lock-step to a pragmatic business strategy, particularly in times of great change. As a result of its efforts it’s currently looking at taking some 25% out of materials and finished goods inventories, worth about £5 million, as well as improving customer service and responsiveness

The missing link in the adaptive enterprise? 01/03/2006

Even in the best run enterprise, there is one simple certainty: one second after the business forecast and plan are produced the real world takes over. According to former AMR analyst Simon Pollard, now SAP’s VP discrete manufacturing in EMEA, the secret lies in knowing just how different they are

Tapping into lean processes and systems 01/02/2006

Overdue orders have been completely eliminated and production lead times cut by 78% at £30 million bespoke push-buttons and control systems manufacturer Dewhurst – thanks to a company-wide lean improvement initiative in tandem with implementing a new consolidated ERP system covering the UK and its subsidiaries in Canada, the USA and Australia

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