Fort Wayne Metals Adopts Lean Manufacturing Techniques

Precision fine wire manufacturer for medical devices implements ERP solution to contain costs, comply with regulations

Atlanta — July 20, 2004 — Using Ross Systems' enterprise software solutions, Fort Wayne Metals, a manufacturer of precision fine wire for medical products in the United States, said it has reduced time-to-market for some custom orders from 14 weeks to just two.

Fort Wayne Metals added that it has streamlined manufacturing processes, complied with quality control standards and built a flexible foundation to support company growth with Ross' iRenaissance enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Plagued by soaring industry prices and critical quality control regulations across the healthcare industry, manufacturers like Fort Wayne Metals, that provide the wire used in medical devices such as pacemakers, guide wires, surgical needles and catheters, face many distinct challenges.

First, it was difficult for Fort Wayne Metals to respond quickly to customers about their orders due to the inflexible and limited nature of its production cycle.

In addition, the company's legacy system hindered its ability to implement new technology installments vital to support company growth.

Lastly, the company needed to address key quality regulations to comply with the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) mandate by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Reviewing several solutions on the market, Fort Wayne Metals was concerned that many were not specific enough and could not address the requirements of a specialized metals manufacturer. Mark Michael, company president and chief operating officer, said that, in contrast, Ross Systems demonstrated the intimate knowledge, deep experience and focused solutions for the metals markets.

"Ross' deep industry focus helps Fort Wayne Metals address the unique challenges faced in the metals industry," Michael said. "iRenaissance has allowed us to change our manufacturing processes, enabling more lean, streamlined manufacturing techniques. Now, Fort Wayne Metals is responding to the issues and concerns in the healthcare industry by incorporating a method to bring products to market more quickly, while lowering costs."

Fort Wayne Metals said it has adopted a new method of manufacturing scheduling and has significantly reduced time-to-market for custom orders with iRenaissance. Due to enhanced visibility, the company said it can produce a "stock" or sub-set of material as a base, enabling it to trim the time to produce a custom order to less than two weeks. In some cases, the reduction of lead-time from 14 weeks to two weeks has enhanced its ability to react more quickly to the unique requirements of each customer.

And with improved planning and more efficient cycles, Fort Wayne Metals said it has experienced an annual growth rate of 15 percent, and the company's production facility in Ireland, live with iRenaissance since 2002, has more than doubled its output in a year.

iRenaissance provides Fort Wayne Metals with controls and audit trails to monitor and manage formulation, process control and inventory procedures, which are required under the GMP. Fort Wayne Metals said the software also meets company growth objectives, since the technology has adaptable infrastructure to support future business requirements as they evolve.

"Highly regulated industries like the metals industry need enterprise business solutions designed to specifically address key industry concerns," said Rick Marquardt, president of North American Operations at Ross Systems. "At Ross, we provide the tools needed to enable companies like Fort Wayne Metals to become industry leaders and to evolve and retain a leadership position with future changes in the industry."

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