Category: Aerospace Manufacturing, Government Contract Manufacturing, Make to Order Manufacturing, Case Studies
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Corsair Electrical Connectors Chooses Global Shop Solutions ERP Software
Corsair Electrical Connectors is an ISO 9001: 2008 Quality Management System and AS9100: 2009 certified, privately held, contract manufacturing company that produces Mil-Aero connectors for value-added distributors, OEMs, and the U.S. government. Headquartered in Irvine, California, the majority of the firm’s connectors serve as junctions for the miles of electrical cables and wiring used throughout an aircraft. The company currently manufactures more than 30,000 different connector products—all of which comply with the industry’s strict quality standards.
Unlike most aerospace connector manufacturers that build to stock, Corsair Electrical Connectors makes their parts to customer orders. This leads to some unique shop floor and inventory management challenges. According to Operations Director Amir Saket, the desire to minimize lead times was a primary factor when selecting Global Shop Solutions as their ERP system of choice in 2012.
“We picked Global Shop Solutions mainly because it fit our business model of making parts to order,” says Saket. “In our industry, fast response time is critical. Global Shop Solutions gives us the flexibility we need by allowing us to create all our jobs to specific customer orders rather than to stock.”
Better “Lego” Management
At any given time, Corsair Electrical Connectors can have up to 700 custom jobs moving through the shop floor. This creates a highly complex manufacturing environment where data, raw materials, and labor all must come together at the same time in order to get the product out the door on schedule.
According to Ken Payne, vice president of engineering, managing this constantly fluctuating environment has become a lot easier since implementing Global Shop Solutions.
“We look at our business like building Legos,” he says. “It takes a variety of different shapes, sizes and colors of Lego bricks to build a part, and the trick is to get all the red, blue, green and yellow Legos in the right place at the right time. Before Global Shop Solutions, we did everything by the seat of our pants. As a result, we often had yellow Legos sitting around for months while we didn’t even have the green ones ordered yet.”
“Global Shop Solutions allows us to combine purchase orders and schedule them in advance for better pricing and improved purchasing efficiencies. Now we no longer have to wait around for the green Legos to come in so we can make the part.”
20% Reduction In Inventory
Although Corsair Electrical Connectors makes custom parts, most of them have common components. Global Shop Solutions allows Payne to combine those common parts into lower levels on the BOM so that he can group and batch part numbers more efficiently.
It also enables him to combine all in-house manufacturing requirements during the purchasing process, and provides a true picture of the company’s backlog and customer demand. This, in turn, has reduced the company’s past-due jobs while significantly improving on-time delivery rates. Equally important, it enables the company to manage inventory with much greater precision.
“It’s hard to tell exactly how much we’ve reduced inventory because we’re introducing new product lines every month,” says Saket. “But I would estimate a 20% improvement at minimum. We’ve also reduced our receivables through regular use of Global Shop Solutions’ financial module, which integrates seamlessly with all the shop floor data.”
On the shop floor, Global Shop Solutions has helped to reduce past due jobs by about 60%, and has improved traceability for every part that moves through the shop floor—an essential activity for every aerospace manufacturer.
“We’ve always had traceability,” notes Payne, “but it used to take a lot of time and required lengthy paper trails. Now it’s all done electronically. Global Shop Solutions makes it easy to track, store, and provide the objective evidence we need to qualify for contracts and industry certifications.”
Off the shop floor, Global Shop Solutions has dramatically improved the company’s financial consistency. Previously, the financials ran on Quickbooks, which required a lot of manual data entry. With Global Shop, all the modules talk to each other, and all the numbers flow right into the general ledger. This speeds up the time it takes to generate reports and close the books. Plus it reduces the errors that can occur when transferring data from one system to another.
A Culture of Communication
Perhaps most important, Global Shop Solutions is encouraging a discipline of data integrity and better communication throughout the company.
“Before Global Shop, we basically ran the company with independent spreadsheets in each corner of the business,” says Payne. “Some folks didn’t like to share their spreadsheets, so we didn’t always have the best communication from one department to another.”
“Having one central database in Global Shop Solutions that provides easy access to data encourages the sharing of information. For example, in the Supply and Demand module you can go into almost any screen and find out what is live within the system. Anyone in the company can do this, and the data is real time.”
Ultimately, Global Shop Solutions gives Corsair Electrical Connectors a powerful business management tool that enhances the quality of business decisions. “Global Shop Solutions provides great visibility in all areas of the business, which allows us to make more informed decisions about everything from customer orders to BOMs and routers to financials,” says Saket.
“Going forward, our goal is to continue to develop company-wide fluency with the software while encouraging individuals to take more initiative in developing their own skills. We’ve only been at this about a year, and already we’ve made tremendous strides with the software. I can’t wait to see what we can do in the next few years!”