Industrial Innovation 914549578

How Horizon Technology Drives Innovation with a Single Solution

Dec. 20, 2019
Smart manufacturing propels innovation.

When Horizon Technology launched its business in 2001, powder metal—which is filled with tiny, Swiss-cheese-like holes—had been used in fairly limited applications within the automotive and heavy equipment industries. Horizon’s vision from the day it opened its doors was to make the material even better – and help companies capitalize on its potential to take their designs and product performance to new levels. 

Horizon Technology realized it could disrupt its industry by reducing the size and quantity of the pores within various powder metals. This would enable the company to offer metals that provided all the advantages of powder metal without compromising on the strength of the material. Horizon’s vision is becoming a reality: its technology can already reduce the size of an electric motor by as much as one-third. This achievement comes at a perfect time, as the automotive industry sets its sights on electrification as the future of vehicles.

What stood in the way of this St. Marys, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer? When the company had first formed, its leaders ran the business on JobBOSS, Impact, and QuickBooks software. As business grew, Horizon found that these platforms couldn’t keep up with the needs of a complex manufacturing business.

Innovative Company Sets the Bar High for a New ERP

Horizon Technology knew its customers wouldn’t cut the growing company any slack—they expected the company to demonstrate the same process control and quality assurance as its larger competitors. An ERP system that could support this goal was a must, so the team drafted a detailed list of requirements to guide their search.

Any new system for Horizon would need to:

  • Provide a single system of record.
  • Help the company meet quality management system (QMS) and automotive requirements while eliminating quality activity errors.
  • Increase traceability and ease of identification.
  • Reduce wasted time on the shop floor by allowing employees to complete multiple activities on one screen.

For Horizon Technology, Smart Manufacturing Begins in the Cloud

There was one more key requirement for Horizon’s new system. Considering that the company was still relatively new and had no formal IT department, Horizon had little interest in systems that would require heavy, costly maintenance. That’s why it began to look closely at cloud ERP solutions.

When several Horizon employees mentioned that they had used Plex in previous jobs, the company’s brain trust evaluated the solution. They immediately liked what they saw. With Plex, Horizon could roll out a new ERP solution simply by sending a link to any employee with an internet connection. These employees would then have easy access to the data they need to do their jobs effectively.

Horizon Technology’s leadership was also encouraged by the fact that with Plex, they would be able to go live quickly with core functionality and then add modules over time. The company implemented Plex’s quality module first, while making a plan to roll out other functionality when it made sense for the business.

Using old computers that it already had on hand, Horizon deployed Plex workstations for its staff. One by one, the company’s old software platforms disappeared. And, just as leadership had hoped, business processes began to move at the speed of Horizon’s innovation.

Read the full story for more on Horizon Technology’s improved quality and traceability, as well as its push toward Industry 4.0.

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