Architectural Millworker Brunt Associates Profiled

By: Thomas Cutler

In the current issue of AutomationMedia.com, leading manufacturing journalist TR Cutler profiles Brunt Associates' selection of ETO MES solution Trakware. The article may be read at its entirety at http://www.automationmedia.com/TRCutler.asp?ID=%2039.

Unlike repetitive manufacturers who have a catalog of SKU's and post to inventory, ETO (engineer-to-order) manufacturers have different requirements for measuring and tracking productivity. According to Randy Richel, president of Trakware Systems, "ETO manufacturers, like Brunt, need to track key business-critical functions such as estimating, advanced scheduling, job costing, production management as labor and material shop floor data collection. These unique ETO MES (manufacturing execution systems) requirements must simultaneously integrate with major software for financials, engineering design, optimization, payroll, and even wireless interaction for mobile workers."

In order to streamline all information into one central, interactive system, Brunt Associates, an architectural millwork firm based in Wixom, Michigan selected Trakware because of their extensive understanding of the ETO woodworking sector. According to Blunt, "It has helped in managing information and keeping track of orders. In our billing department we have been able to catch things like duplicate invoices. It's a much more organized and streamlined way of doing business and has been a real time saver to be able to go to one single spot to get all the information needed for things like hours, costs and purchases."

The program integrated seamlessly with the company's payroll system, which was significant because as a union shop they are required to provide additional pay and benefit reports. Shortly after the new system was up and running, Blunt had a custom link created that would import time data directly into payroll. All hours are collected on the shop floor via a work order. Blunt compared the previous process by noting, "Before implementing the new system, getting the information together was an all-day task. But now we have 100 percent accurate data collection on the shop floor because we are collecting time inside the plant through touchTRAK stations. Xora [a strategic alliance partner with Trakware Systems] allows us to do a precise job of collecting time outside of the plant. The remote time entry system can be used by anyone with a GPS-enabled cell phone."

Because customized ETO manufacturers are operating on thin margins, it is even more critical to know the status of any project throughout the enterprise, from the office to manufacturing plant, from project manager to estimator. ETO MES solutions must have the capacity to determine the status of any materials inside or outside the plant. Material must be bar-coded and labeled for each job and if there is a question, project-based manufacturers can discover quickly and accurately who received it.

While far from exhaustive, ETO MES solutions are most needed among the following types of manufacturing organizations:
&bullArchitectural Woodworking
&bullCabinets, Casegoods, Caseworks
&bullStore Fixtures
&bullDoors and Windows
&bullFurniture
&bullOil and Gas Fabrication
&bullSolid Surface
&bullMetal Fabrication
&bullYachts
&bullCustom Electronics

Trakware Systems is the worldwide leader in manufacturing execution system (MES) solutions for engineer-to-order (ETO) and project-based manufacturers maximizing both profitability and productivity. Trakware specializes in lean business-critical functions such as estimating, advanced scheduling, job costing, production management and labor as well as material shop floor data collection. TRAKware software fully integrates with existing ERP systems, as well as major software providers for financials, engineering design, optimization, payroll and wireless interaction for mobile workers. Trakware recognizes ETO manufacturing as a process and includes a wide range of industry sectors including Architectural Woodworking, Cabinets, Store Fixtures, Doors and Windows, Furniture, Oil and Gas Fabrication, Solid Surface, Metal Fabrication, Yachts-building, and Custom Electronics.

Founded in 1995, Trakware's partners include Microsoft, Oracle, ADP, Sage, and SolidWorks, Dell and TouchSystems. TRAKware software allows any manufacturer with unique requirements of a custom engineered-to-order business, in any industry, to have total control of each and every order through the plant. Trakware is the leader in delivering innovative Manufacturing, Planning, and Control (MPC) solutions for project-based manufacturers.

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