Profiles in Supply Chain Enablement: Being a supplier in the auto industry means complying with customer-specific as well as industry-wide mandates and standards. By tapping AIM Computer Solutions for help in meeting electronic communications requirements, The Grant Group, a small supplier to the OEMs, has been able to keep its customers happy and grow its business without adding resources.
Company: The Grant Group (Fraser and Clinton Township, MI)
Company Size: Small
Company Sector: Automotive
Area(s) of Enablement: Order/Demand Capture, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Customer Relationship Management, Product Lifecycle Management, Supply Chain Integration & Technology Infrastructure/ERP, Decision Support
Enabler: AIM Computer Solutions, Inc. (Fraser, MI)
Case Study: The Grant Group, consisting of Grant Industries Inc., Press-Way Inc. and Eagle Assemblies Inc., has been manufacturing a wide range of stampings, clips and assemblies since 1963. Back in the mid-1980s, the company's main original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers, General Motors and Ford Motor Co., were beginning to communicate electronically, and Grant needed an electronic data interchange (EDI) software supplier.
At that time, Grant tapped AIM Computer Solutions, which was one of the few providers at the time offering a fully integrated package with EDI (including releases and advanced shipping notices, or ASNs), billing and shipping, and manufacturing resource planning (MRP).
Since that time, Grant has been challenged to grow its business while continuing to meet customer-specific and industry-wide requirements. For example, being an automotive supplier means that Grant must be registered to the current quality/business standards, meeting all QS-9000 and TS16949 requirements and automotive-mandated Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) standards for barcode labels and reduced overhead.
In pursuit of compliance, in 1999 Press-Way Inc. implemented the AIM Container Movement sub-system, part of the Manufacturing Execution System application, which provides lot traceability from raw material to finished product. As raw material is received, a unique lot number is assigned and a bar coded receiving tag is produced. When the production process is performed the raw material lot number is scanned and linked to the stamping via the container movement process. Each posting through container movement requires a link to the component lot used (if any) at that step. This provides complete traceability, as required by the automotive industry.
Implementing the outside processing application in 1999 allowed Grant to better track product as it went from process to process (work in process). This module also increased the accuracy of paperwork associated with outside processors (making sure that the correct specifications are performed on the proper parts as well as paying the negotiated prices for the processes based on actual receipt quantities).
Later, the implementation of AIM's Capacity Requirements Planning application in 2001 provided several advantages. The company's scheduling went from a manual process that was subject to much individual interpretation and done weekly or bi-weekly, to an automated scheduling process done daily and based entirely on specific customer requirements, inventory quantities, lead times, queue times and process speeds. A team of four previously was needed to coordinate the company's scheduling when it was done manually. By implementing CRP the schedules are automatically generated for all processes, thus allowing the people involved in the scheduling process to perform other tasks.
Elsewhere, AIM's Vision software has aided The Grant Group in its QS-9000 and TS16949 registrations by helping the company ensure compliance under the following elements: Purchasing; Control of Customer-Supplied Product; and Handling, Storage, Packaging, Preservation and Delivery.
Overall, the implementation of the AIM solutions has helped Grant grow its manufacturing business by 30 percent without adding additional resources while ensuring that the company meets all its mandated requirements and standards.
Robert Grant, president of The Grant Group, commented that, while the auto industry has worked to develop common methods of communicating via EDI, nevertheless electronic data interchange remains as varied as the customers that the company serves. "Each customer has their unique EDI and barcode requirements, which we are required to be compliant with," he says. "AIM's software allows us to be compliant with all OEM and tier customer EDI and barcode requirements. This includes fully integrating all customer requirements transmitted via EDI into our shipping, bar code and ASN systems."
For more stories of successful supply chain implementation, read the "2005 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100" article in the June/July 2005 issue of the magazine. Also watch the Today's Headlines section of SDCExec.com every Tuesday and Thursday for more in depth best practices drawn from this year's Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100.