Original Date: 04/24/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Intranet Information System
Using Internet technology, Midwest Metal Products has replaced a manual, labor-intensive paper storage system with an IT-based company information database and engineering informational system. Midwest Metal Products’ Intranet provides employees easy access to many different types of data and information along with programs that can quickly provide needed engineering, inspection, and estimating pictures and processed data.
In early 2000 Midwest Metal Products (MMP) implemented Internet technology to replace the company’s manually maintained and accessed informational sources with a system that enabled employees to go to their nearest PC terminal and easily access supported company information placed into their network system. The MMP Intranet supplements the commercially provided Vantage production software package.
The MMP Intranet front page (Figure 2-2) displays a list of the company’s informational sources accessible by all employees and includes the company’s Quality Manual and ISO information, internal audit procedures, production process information, personnel lists, customer shipping guidelines, equipment and hardware specifications, supplier information sheets, potential estimating/quoting software, and other relevant company information.
MMP sought to place three business areas on its intranet – tooling inventory, the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and MMP’s customer pricing. These particular informational areas are extensive, were previously contained within several different books in many areas of the company, and vary in content.
MMP’s tooling inventory is contained in many books, each with varied tooling information that is constantly being updated as new tools are acquired. Included with the tooling inventory are all the digital numerical control (DNC) files used to produce the many MMP sheet metal products for the company’s customer database. For MMP engineering, inspection, and estimating personnel to access the required tooling and production data, they previously had to manually search multiple files to acquire all needed information. MMP’s IT approach placed the many interrelated data items and engineering software modules within a file structure easily accessible by clicking on a computer screen tab. MMP personnel can now easily access product DNC files, required tools, specified equipment and settings, statistical process control (SPC) dimensional information, and a finished view of the product.
MMP previously maintained MSDS data and informational lists in several books located in many areas of the company. Any change required the books to be updated. For MMP employees to access needed safety data, they had to manually search through all books that contained the safety data – a time-consuming and labor-intensive effort. MMP’s IT approach placed the MSDS information in a Microsoft Access database. MMP also prepared an Microsoft-supported control screen that facilitated rapid search and retrieval routines to provide users easy access to specific information.
MMP’s customer pricing is a company-proprietary process and is based on previously engineered sheet metal products. MMP accesses new material cost quotes from its updated supplier material-cost database. Using applicable material cost data, quantity desired, and previously built manufacturing job estimating algorithms, MMP can provide a quick and accurate job quote to prospective customers with its IT-based company information database and engineering informational system.
Figure 2-2. Intranet Informational Sources
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