Cohline GmbH
Cohline GmbH

With ORDAT, the Automotive supplier COHLINE is well prep ared for increasing.

COHLINE GmbH

The rich in tradition Cohline enterprise group, established in 1932, manufactures pipes and tubes at 2 locations in Germany and 2 further plants in England and the US for the automotive industry. All famous and leading companies such as Audi, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Opel, Porsche und Rolls-Royce are included in its list of clientele.

FOSS for more Competitiveness

In 1997 Cohline decided to introduce ORDAT’s ERP system FOSS to manage its business processes. Their main aim back then was to improve customer oriented processes. A major criterion for deciding for FOSS was its great competence in the automotive sector: FOSS was already being used by numerous referred customers in the automobile industry and ORDAT customers had snatched away automotive customer orders from Cohline. Thus, even before its introduction, it was predictable that Cohline would considerably increase its competitiveness through FOSS. Other decision relevant factors were the ability to maintain mandates and the sharpened inter-company functionalities of the system required for company’s branches in Montabaur und England. The complete integration of the EDI monitor into the ERP application and the general featuring of functions from Sales, Shipments, Production, Acquisitions, Financial Accounting and Controlling were further advantages. Last but not least, the short distance between the ERP-bidder in Giessen and the headquarters in Dillenburg also spoke in its favor.
Exactly on time by the 1st of January 1998, a real-time start of the first system development phase took place. After having stood the test successfully in Dillenburg, FOSS was also linked to both locations in Montabaur and Manston, UK and successive additional functions were introduced. Production was planned in monthly lots and all work procedures including preproduction and final assembly of pipes were combined into a single work plan – Cohline had selected this option since it resulted in less production orders and low production control costs.

 

 

Competent support even after purchase

Everything went perfectly fine for a few years. However, customer requirements changed overall in the automotive industry and Cohline needed to adjust to these new requirements gradually. The ever increasing complexity of production soon led to the first problems. Plans needed to be corrected very often and in the last moment rearrangements, backlogs and wrong shipments occurred. Due to delivery problems, in 2004 the customer BMW executed a logistics process analysis. The realization: the ERP system wasn’t being fully taken advantage of e.g. stock was maintained using individual MS-Office applications instead of the Warehouse Management system including FIFO withdrawals. Still in December 2004, Cohline approached ORDAT to help analyze the occurring problems. Very soon it became clear that the ERP system itself was not the problem but that Cohline processes needed to be optimized and available possibilities enabled by FOSS needed to be taken advantage of.

Inventory taking

For this purpose ORDAT offers its customers the so-called FOSS-Audit, as a service, which precisely analyzes the business processes and degree of utility of the system and identifies optimization potentials. In the Cohline case, ORDAT specialists proposed matching the disposition and planning to the actual production practice, easing production and projecting the complex product and delivery structures on the system. A major process reengineering was to ensure higher disposition quality and establish standard, automatic planning methods across all product groups.

Process optimization

ORDAT’s approach to the solution included neutralizing preproduction and final assembly within production planning and to ease production by narrowing the planning horizon. This required development of a new shop order structure including daily assembly orders for finished parts and lot size orders for semi-finished parts. Due to the fact that shop orders were now planned weekly and not monthly any more, reaction to requirement changes became much more flexible. The lot orders for the preproduction components were proposed by FOSS Requirement Calculation and generated automatically by the system. Replacing the numerous MS-Office solutions by FOSS-Standard reports was a challenge which included revising production overviews, packing slips for outside production and shipment planning.
A second focal point of the project included Warehouse Organization. Floor stock close to production with decentralized inventory responsibility assigned to the master craftsman was introduced. In the main warehouse inventory taking was shifted to FIFO. Since these measures led to a significant raise of entry volume, mobile wireless scanners were acquired: using the Add-on FOSS Mobile, warehouse stock labeled with barcodes could now be efficiently scanned on the spot and entered in the system immediately.

It was worth it

The efforts were worth it, concludes Wolfgang Würl, IT manager at Cohline. “By automatically generating shop orders in the system, planning today is completed in 2 days – earlier on this step would require five to eight work days. Material planning for acquisitions has improved significantly, requirements are not forgotten and the set-up times have decreased by 25%. In addition, machine bottlenecks can be avoided through the electronic plan board.” Processing times lie in the green area and handling outside production (“extended work bench”) also runs significantly more transparent. External expenses for the project were significantly lower than expected: it took just about 20 consultation days.

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