When most manufacturers think about ways to extend their competitive advantage, they focus on upgrading the technology throughout their manufacturing processes. What A&K Finishing found is that it’s equally important to make sure back-office systems and functions are leading edge.
A&K Finishing makes plastic paint solutions for the automotive, office furniture, electronics and commercial industries. For nearly 30 years, the company has sought to be the “first to finish, with quality.” This philosophy—backed by advanced technology and the latest lean manufacturing techniques—enables A&K Finishing to meet the stringent requirements of major customers such as General Motors, Ford, BMW and Toyota.
A&K Finishing had made investments in recent years to modernize its manufacturing process. Recent updates included robotic painting and open spray booths. While these changes differentiated the company, leaders also recognized that updates to its operational and business technology would also contribute to its bottom line.
The company had always managed its manufacturing operations via an on-premises accounting system and hundreds of spreadsheets. To achieve their ambitious five-year growth goals, A&K Finishing’s leadership decided that the company would need to upgrade to a highly accessible, user-friendly ERP system.
Cloud Solution Helps Keep Inventory Accuracy Near 100 Percent
As A&K Finishing looked for a solution that would give its decision-makers greater control over the growing business, the company kept several priorities in mind. Any new system would have to provide powerful functionality for managing product quality and automating the time-consuming process of performing monthly inventory counts. In addition, the solution would need to allow everyone to share data freely across the enterprise.
Because A&K Finishing had always used on-premise software, its team evaluated some traditional ERP platforms alongside cloud solutions. In the end, the ability to access a cloud system from anywhere and upgrade without disrupting business processes convinced A&K Finishing to lean towards cloud solutions.
A&K Finishing went live on the Plex Manufacturing Cloud on January 1, 2017. Since then, the company has achieved several quantifiable benefits. Inventory accuracy hovers near 100 percent. Scrap rate is down by 50 percent. The platform has eliminated data entry for A&K Finishing’s managers—even while enabling them to stay in control of a business that’s achieving annual revenue growth of 100 percent.
Paperless Processes Cuts Scrap Rate in Half
Now that A&K Finishing has moved its business processes to the cloud, managers and support staff are enjoying a paperless worksite. They use mobile devices, tablets and terminals to access company data instantly from the shop floor.
This speedy access to data helps the entire A&K Finishing team provide better customer service—especially when customers call in with questions about delivery status. And because information about the company’s product quality standards is readily available on the nearest screen, shop floor workers are more focused than ever on being “First to Finish, With Quality.”
A&K Finishing’s quality control staff no longer have to spend hours completing paperwork or hunting down the right technician to help them with a machine. This enables them to spend more time inspecting products. And when they notice a problem with a product, their Plex system guides them through the correct protocols.
In addition, as soon as a machine operator on the shop floor changes the status of a production line, the Plex system automatically sends an alert to the technician who’s best qualified to fix it. All of these enhancements have contributed to a reduction in A&K Finishing’s scrap rate from nearly 3 percent to 1.5 percent.
Learn more about A&K Finishing’s success story.