Industrial manufacturers often face the challenge that off-the-shelf process management applications cannot cover all important aspects of the individual manufacturing process. NETIS developed an individual application from scratch for a manufacturer producing automotive parts for world class global suppliers which is now able to track each product from plan to delivery.
Meleghegyi Ltd. is a privately owned Hungarian industrial manufacturer, primarily supplying parts to various automotive manufacturers and similar. Key clients include car manufacturers as well as KUKA Robotics. The company has a steady business with good growth and sales prospects, provided they can deliver high quality products on time for their clients. The company has manufacturing activities in two physical locations, which makes management processes and requirements more complex.
The key challenge was to establish and operate a production and product management system which ensures high quality, compliance to standards required by clients, in an efficient and transparent way. However, additional challenge was to experience that user needs may change quickly in this industry environment, which needs to be followed by any management system.
Such a system is able to track all parts manufactured, from initial quote and order, to final delivery or if any quality issue needs to be addressed.
Requirements included the following main priorities:
Clients required their suppliers to meet higher standards of manufacturing as well as support documentation to achieve a higher status of supplier. Part of this requirement was also to make manufacturing process more transparent for the client.
To become more cost efficient, better use of base materials and a more efficient use of these materials was required.
Management wanted to identify any phase of production which should be improved. In addition to this, better trackability was required to support better controlling.
One of the key goals was to decrease the number of faulty products or missing products/materials.
An additional requirement was to track and evaluate production performance, including performance of individual staff members.
The company has experienced the limits of „off-the-shelf” software applications. Customisation and precise configuration would have been extremely complicated, while the first individual development attempt did not follow thoroughly the complete journey of the products during the manufacturing process.
Internal Quality Assurance processes also needed some improvement.
In the same time, the company was gradually replacing and upgrading its manufacturing equipment. As these became more digital, this technology upgrade could enable a higher level of integration with any manufacturing process and product management system.
Solution and services
The solution was to develop a manufacturing support software from scratch, based on initial set of client needs.
The application has the following modules and functionalities:
Storage management: managing materials in the specific way required by the client. Individual shelves store various base materials (such as metal sheets), and their storage order is also important. To support material management, the storage system is a visualised solution to find all materials easily.
Managing the technology process behind offers, quotes and orders: partial integration with the design software to process its output file. This module also manages different phases of production, including individual work tasks and standard times for individual phases.
Manufacturing module: manages start and stop of processes, assignment of workers (machine operators) and cost centres.
Managing subcontractors: delivery notes, supply of various parts, QA information.
Administration and documentation: consignment notes for clients, which later may be integrated with the accounting/billing software application. Management and administration of claims/complaints.
Management information and reporting: logs of activities, work and time sheets of staff members, Management Information System and various reports, including number of completed or faulty products of a particular period.
The application was developed using Microsoft technologies. The base is a Windows thick client (particularly required by the client), while the development process used .NET Framework and Devexpress Components. Data is stored/managed by a central MSSQL database.
The first version (using the original client requirement list) was completed within 9 months. As additional client requirements were identified, a second phase of development was added – the two phases together approximately required 14 months. Modules are still being updated according to dynamically changing user needs, which are reflected in the updated version of the application.
The latest client need is to get a stronger support for production and effort/resource planning process.
Development and implementation of the application was particularly useful for the client to achieve a higher grade status with key clients and strengthen market position; implement an improved QA system, by also providing more detailed and transparent information for the management of the company; improve documentation and have more standardised internal processes within the organisation.
Business applications are good if they reflect the real procedures within the organisation, or even help to make/transform these procedures to be more effective and competitive. NETIS supported the client to oversee all important aspects of the manufacturing activity, to meet higher quality and transparency customer requirements as well as providing more detailed information for the management. Trackability is the first step to control and improve all important processes within an organisation, and digitalisation is the most useful tool to achieve this goal.