We have the technology…
In 2009, the DECC Company made a major investment in its future with the purchase of the Plex Online system. This state-of-the-art manufacturing execution system (MES) provides us with the tools needed to maintain our edge over the competition. The Plex system ties all of our departments together, utilizing software designed specifically for the DECC Company. With Plex at work in our facility, we’re prepared for any new challenges that may come our way.
About Plex Online
Plex Online is a cloud-based ERP system which is implemented via software as a service (SaaS). Unlike other ERP programs, Plex does not require annual updates nor does it reside on an in-house server. All of our employees are using the same version of the system, and Plex Online easily and automatically updates itself whenever improvements are made available. The Plex Online system is securely backed up off-site, providing reliable data protection and disaster recovery — DECC will never lose another important customer file. And, because Plex operates via a web browser page, it can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Our managers can peer into the production process from anywhere — even from their cell phones—and respond to issues immediately, in real time.
Plex is an all-in-one system designed to help every department at DECC work together. From accounting and engineering to production and shipping/receiving, every part of our business is ideally connected. Plex Online creates the necessary paperwork for all parts and components arriving at or leaving from our shipping docks, inventory is recorded and adjusted automatically, and costing records are instantly entered, eliminating the need for tedious paperwork and the potential for human error in our shipping, inventory management, and accounting departments. Our shop floor operators interface with the system in real time through a customized control panel screen, Plex automatically creates barcode labels corresponding to the parts being worked, and our qualified engineers can oversee production from anywhere, on- or off-site. The Plex Online system streamlines DECC’s production processes, helping our production team manage the flow of parts through our facility from start to finish.
DECC has seen major benefits in the part process thanks to Plex’s superior traceability. Parts move from process to process in our facility with serialized barcode labels. The Plex system tracks these barcodes, allowing us to see the date, time and duration that a specific part was at each step, which operators worked on the part, and what processes were performed. This helps eliminate unintentional operator deviation in the production process while making it easy to assess any issues that may cause product defects. The control panel screen manages the who, what, where and how of production, even stopping an operator if he is untrained on the machine at hand, if the incorrect machine is being used or if the parts or containers are incorrect. Every part leaves a detailed history in Plex, allowing for quick, easy investigation and correction of production processes.
In addition to our production processes, Plex Online helps us identify and track our coatings, solvents, and blends. DECC’s coating process involves applying either raw coatings or mixed coating/solvent blends. With Plex, we can track the exact mix of coating and solvent in each blend, the amount of coating or blend used in each operation, and the location of every material container throughout our facility. Each of these containers has a barcode label attached, which, when entered into the Plex system, yields a variety of statistical information regarding that unique container. Any time an operator uses coating from a container, the person, time and quantity are all logged in Plex, and that container’s history is recorded. All container histories are then linked together to form a traceability tree. Using this traceability tree, DECC is able to ensure exact replication of mixes for our blended coatings, allowing us to deliver perfect uniformity in applications.
For shipping and receiving purposes, Plex allows our shipping coordinator to locate customer parts anywhere in our facility without even having to leave his office. We can quickly and easily track all orders, from the second customers’ parts arrive until they’re shipped out. With Plex Online, DECC can even track delivery performance for our suppliers and shipping companies, helping us ensure maximum efficiency.
The Plex Online system has helped improve DECC’s quality of service. Not only can we rapidly correct production issues as they happen with Plex, we can also identify potential problems before they happen. With Plex’s electronic check sheets, our operators track every step of the process — any step that is omitted halts production until the missed step is properly completed. The Plex system eliminates unintentional operator deviation, helping DECC maintain consistent setup variables for every operation. The check sheets are flexible, to allow for necessary adjustments in processes prior to the start of production. All added or adjusted processes are highlighted on the system’s check sheets, to improve preparedness and efficiency. Additional instructions can be communicated by production managers in real time through the control panel screen.
DECC has also improved the quality of our services thanks to Plex’s capability to run statistical process control data on demand. SPC data is pulled from the Plex database, creating colorful histograms and graphs instantly. In the past, this data was entered by hand, a very tedious and mistake-prone process. Even the most organized quality engineer would need several hours to create SPC data charts like the ones Plex Online generates in mere seconds. With Plex, DECC can adhere to higher quality standards than ever before.
DECC’s new barcode inventory system through Plex Online has allowed us to decrease storage requirements, increase count accuracy, and improve our overall efficiency. Our inventory system has been completely updated with wireless barcode scanners and mobile computers to support this new technology, and our entire 100,000 square foot facility has been equipped with wireless access for full mobility. When supply items are received, labels are automatically printed, telling our inventory manager what the items are and exactly where they can be found. The incoming items are instantly added to our inventory system through the online database, complete with detailed descriptions and photos. In this way, Plex gives us exact, real-time inventory quantity. The improved accuracy and organization of our inventory system have lowered our storage requirements by 30 percent.
With the Plex system’s wireless barcode scanners, DECC’s inventory managers can check parts in and out as needed, instantaneously adjusting inventory quantities in the database to maintain inventory accuracy. Prior to Plex’s mobile scanning, our inventory process was done manually on paper, which created lag time between changes in inventory and updates to the database. This resulted in inventory inaccuracies and left room for human error — too often, listed quantities didn’t match what was actually on the shelves. With Plex Online’s real-time inventory adjustment, purchasing has become more streamlined and accurate. Plex gives us material requirement forecasts two weeks in advance, helping us stay up to date on our needs, and pre-filled purchase order templates to increase efficiency in the ordering process. The correct items are ordered in correct quantities with ample lead time, allowing production to continue without interruption.
The Future of DECC
DECC’s future looks brighter than ever, as our software and technology continue to improve. Plans are in motion to further upgrade the features and modules of our Plex Online system, to improve our already successful business model. As we enhance the capabilities of our systems, the DECC Company will continue to lead the industry with innovative, state-of-the-art coating services.
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