For confidentiality reasons, the real name of the company introduced in this case study cannot be used.
The Swiss based job-to-order manufacturer operates in the field of heavy industries and was established in the 1950s. The company at the moment has over 85 employees. The core competencies of the company are hard facing, welding as well as engineering of capital-intensive goods which are highly exposed corrosion, temperature and abrasion. By engineering and applying an adequate treatment, the parts gain a longer life expectancy. Moreover the company provides also other services of precision manufacturing such as milling, drilling, beveling and assembling of aggregates.
The customers are mainly manufacturers of thermal power plants, in the chemical industry and in the hydro power industry and procure solutions, which help them to save money and be environment-friendly at the same time. The company used to have only few big customers, which generated 80% of the annual turnover. Over the past five years the customer base has dramatically changed, so that 60% of the turnover is generated by 30% of the customers. The new structure of the customer base is setting a challenge in flexibility, which the company is facing more and more.
Hence earlier strategic decisions based on a lower IT-support, the company faces the boundaries of its systems. The current system requires many human-computer interactions and hinders the management of documents such as the re-traceability of the daily business. Moreover, the customizations and the obsolete system architecture barely allow upgrades on the current software and operating systems. The company is now redesigning the IT concept and upgrading the systems. The company is using Microsoft Dynamics NAV as the central ERP system and CATIA V5 for the CAD engineering.
This paper shall concentrate on the main process of the company, the order-to-job process.