Southern Cast Products Inc. (SCP) (Meridian, Mississippi) uses an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system to help with scheduling tasks in its molding and melting departments. This system is in place to help the steel casting facility maximize efficiency when dealing with constraints in both departments. For molding, proper scheduling can boost the total number of molds produced per day on SCP’s three nobake molding lines. For melting, the casting facility can use ERP to balance three constraints:
- All products in a heat must be the same alloy.
- The total pour weight of all products in a heat must be as close as possible to but not greater than the furnace container capacity.
- Heats per day fits management requirements.
SCP employees build a daily schedule to fill those constraints and publish it in paper form throughout the plant for execution. The next day, SCP assesses whether the planned number of heats were poured. With this feedback system, the company knows within a day whether it is on pace with the planned production level. The strategy—building the schedule—is handled by individuals in contact with customers, and the execution is the objective of the shop.
Recently, SCP began exploring the possibility of introducing ERP to the cleaning room, which did not have a strategic solution for increasing efficiency. After shakeout, the goal is to get parts out as quickly as possible, but employees don’t actually know if they are on pace for on-time shipment until castings arrive at inspection, which is the last operation.