Gables Engineering Case Study by IFS ERP
The Company: About Gables Engineering
Located in Florida, Gables Engineering has been an avionics manufacturer for more than 50 years. Gables Engineering builds custom cockpit controls for the airline and airframe industry. Gables manufactures traffic collision avoidance systems (TCAS) panels, radio control panels, and audio systems. Besides designing and building the electrical assemblies, Gables also designs and builds the switches, housings, and LCD modules. Customers include Boeing and Airbus Industries. The component-based business applications package from IFS has enabled Gables to move forward by looking forward.
The Situation: Forecasting Functions
In 1995, Gables formed a team to examine its business processes and decided it needed a new enterprise application package. At that time, Gables had a pseudo material requirements planning (MRP) system based on reorder points. The system looked at current customer demand, as well as historical demand, and then had to figure out, “What do I really need to buy?” It was a process best described as moving forward by looking backward. The company wanted a product using the Oracle® database that had a Windows® look and feel, one that would seamlessly interface with other third-party systems. A request for quotation (RFQ) sent to numerous vendors zeroed in on key functions as specific as a minimum 23-character field for part numbers and as general as efficient MRP, inventory control, and forecasting functions.
The Solution: IFS Applications 10 ERP
Gables selected IFS enterprise resources planning (ERP) system. The IFS ERP/ebusiness system includes a true MRP module that gives a better grasp of actual demand. Before IFS, demand was determined by customer orders as well as by a factor for historical demand. This caused Gables to buy and build unnecessary parts, which would load the shops with unnecessary work and inflate purchased inventories.
The Results: IFS 10 ERP Implementation Benefits
Once Gables deployed IFS, it was able to calculate demand using actual customer orders and a forecast, something its previous system wouldn’t allow. Now the company “moves forward by looking forward,” ordering and building parts by looking at forecasts, not at history. This reduces work in process by 50 percent and overall inventories by 30 percent. The software also facilitates such APICS functionality as inventory and subassembly control. It used to take two days to get a spare part shipped out, from time of order to time of shipment. With IFS, same-day shipping is now possible. The integration in IFS Applications™ is also very helpful. “We now have one main data warehouse for all of our repair data — repairs we do in-house, warranties done by our customers, or work done by certified warranty facilities,” said Jonathan Wasicsko, director of quality assurance at Gables.
As for part traceability, the software tracks the history of changes made to a particular product right down to the serial number. “Everything that goes into building that part, including the parts removed from inventory to manufacture it — all that information is maintained for us now,” Wasicsko said. “It will always be there to trace back if we have a bad lot of something.” Recently, a Gable’s customer did a product audit. The auditor selected a part that had already shipped with the intent of tracing it through the system. Gables was asked to show the traceability of a component using the audited part’s subassembly. This would never have been possible before the IFS implementation.
The maintenance side of the application is also used to control equipment calibration. “IFS has a nice graphical, tree-type structure where you can view what equipment is where, based on the part number, right down to the workbench,” Wasicsko said. “You can set up the recall for calibration, and IFS will generate a calendar that tells you what equipment is coming due. That function has eliminated another offline system we had in place that we were paying for and maintaining.” This saved Gables roughly $2,000 per year in maintenance fees.
The software has changed Gables’ business in other ways. With IFS, Gables has reduced kitting time to less than one month before assembly. Since Gables can now depend on its data, the company is kitting almost 99 percent of the whole product just before assembling it. Gables also has notebooks that allow stockroom personnel to review the pick lists online from IFS Applications and pick and update inventory instantly. Gables is looking forward. The ebusiness capabilities the system provides will allow customers at some point in the future to place orders and track information online.