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US foundry halves production lead-time

A US foundry has reduced its production lead times by 50 per cent by instigating a paperless process management system.
Stainless Foundry & Engineering Inc is based in Milwaukee and employs 260 people, producing castings for customers in the valve and pump, chemical, petrochemical, nuclear, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical, food and dairy, metering, military and instrumentation industries. 
Shipping a hefty 1.8 million tonnes of product annually, the company realised it had outgrown its manual system of order input and workflow, and that it should be automated, enabling the order-to-cash processing to drive faster production, shipping and billing. The challenges were as follows:
• Gaining visibility into order processing
• Enhancing workflow between departments
• Accelerating order/contract review lead time
• Reducing costs associated with paper - handling (invoice retrieval from filing cabinets, copying documents, updating log books, and lost orders due to capture ineffectiveness), significant storage space allotment
“Once a customer order came in, there were a lot of steps required before it was entered into our enterprise resource planning system (ERP) – we use Odyssey from B&L Information Systems Inc,” said Steve Cooke, Stainless Foundry’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Engineering, quality, production and customer service were all involved in the order review process. Each area might have responsibilities from validating pricing, setting up new customers, providing samples - all based on the kind of order received and from whom. This meant a lot of room for error, shuffling paper between departments, lots of emails; overall an inefficient manual process.”
Stainless Foundry’s requirements for the new system included:
• Will work with the existing B&L Odyssey ERP system 
• Will capture emailed orders
• Workflow will handle the complex order process
After evaluating four options, the foundry selected IntelliChief, which integrated with the existing ERP system, provided the document capture and workflow capabilities they needed, required less upfront configuration to fit their processes, and provided attentive ongoing maintenance and user support.

Impact of the new system
“IntelliChief’s paperless process management has enabled Stainless Foundry’s production lead time to be reduced by 50 per cent,” Cooke reported. “This significant improvement also provides benefits of substantially fewer lost orders, enhanced visibility into the orders-to-cash process, and ultimately fewer customer complaints.”
Functionally, orders are now uploaded to IntelliChief, validated against Odyssey, and routed to all respective parties involved in a structured electronic package. What was done manually by moving paper in batches through various departments is now cohesive in real time. The new system’s accelerated order-to-cash processing allows access to the entire order packet directly from Stainless Foundry’s ERP screens, saving time and improving customer service. Through this automation, the system captures customer order documents regardless of how they are physically received - by email, fax or postal service. The system’s workflow assists in order processing by automating functions including new customer set-up, expired pricing, credit checks and engineering approvals.
“IntelliChief’s user training enabled everyone interacting with the system to be comfortable with its usage quickly,” said Cooke. “That helped achieve our system ROI within a year.
“My advice to those considering automating their document capture and workflow is: thoroughly understand your current process and what you want the future state to be. IntelliChief’s business process specialists helped us immensely to assess our strengths and discover opportunities, and configured our new system to suit our needs best.”
Contact: IntelliChief, Tel: 00 1 813 971 9500, email: sales@intellichief.com web: www.intellichief.com