Multi-site manufacturing management deployed for Anderson-Cook

The Anderson-Cook family of companies provides automotive components and spline rolling equipment to customers that range from large Fortune 500 manufacturers to small independent machine shops. A key supplier to the auto industry, Anderson-Cook is headquartered in Clinton Township, Michigan, and has seven manufacturing plants in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Shanghai, China.

A leader in spline rolling machines and tools, the company provides products and services to domestic and international automotive OEM’s and Tier I suppliers through its subsidiaries, MRA Industries (now called AC - Clinton Township), and LM Gear (now AC - Chesterfield). ACMT, in Fraser, Michigan, provides spline rolling machines and tooling, and drive-train components to OEM’s and Tier I suppliers. AC - Chesterfield manufactures gear and drive worm components for Tier I suppliers, primarily for use in automatic seat movements or anything requiring gearing to automate a particular movement. Anderson-Cook also has plants in Canada, China, and Mexico that add capabilities in the above areas, including stamping and injection molding.

The business challenge

In 2006, Anderson-Cook realized it needed a new integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in its then three plants (MRA Industries, LM Gear, and AC Manufacturing & Technology) to consolidate its accounting/financial reporting, integrate the manufacturing with accounting, and eliminate redundancy in the accounting departments. Each location was running a different GL application and had its own accounting department; there was no way to achieve visibility across operations in real-time. Anderson-Cook sought to eliminate cost and improve the timeliness of information.

After investigating several options, the company selected Plex Systems’ software-as-a-service (SaaS) ERP system, Plexus Online, primarily for its focus on the auto industry. The initial goal was to manage its operating plants under one integrated technology solution. Anderson-Cook eliminated the need for multiple systems and the redundancy of entering data several times by deploying Plexus Online for financial management, production, quality, program management, shop scheduling, EDI, and shipping processes.

The Baker Tilly solution

Following the Plex Online implementation at MRA Industries, Anderson-Cook brought in Baker Tilly to implement the other sites.

“They were making an investment in understanding and documenting the Plex System from an implementation standpoint. After several discussions, we decided to hire them for our second plant implementation,” reports CFO Dan Nowicki.

Applying its four-phase implementation methodology, the Baker Tilly Manufacturing Consulting team implemented the Plex Online business solution across AC - Chesterfield, ACMT (now AC Manufacturing & Technology), the then newly acquired AC - Cambridge, in Ontario, Canada, and the Hillsdale, MI, screw machine products plant, which Anderson-Cook later sold.

"Baker Tilly understands Plex Online and is very good at implementing the system as fast and economically as possible. They understand manufacturing and are good to work with." Dan Nowicki, CFO at Anderson-Cook

Baker Tilly implemented Plex Online across the following business processes:

  • Engineering (BOMs, routings, parts, engineering change requests)
  • Quality (FMEA, part specifications, control plans, check sheets)
  • Manufacturing (planning – PRP/MRP, shop floor control/data collection, Kanban, job system)
  • Costing (advanced standard costing)
  • Maintenance (master equipment list, PM, spares)
  • Inventory Management (inventory control, locations, subcontract processing, cycle counting)
  • Purchasing (integration of supplier schedules, supplier addresses, workflow for purchasing approvals)
  • Sales/CRM (integration of customer orders to shop floor, customer part numbers, customer addresses, EDI)
  • Comprehensive financials/accounting
  • Shipping and receiving
  • Part routing
  • All the paperwork and forms required by the auto business, such as production part approval processes (PPAPs)

Business results

“Our results included the ability to run the business with higher visibility, in real-time, and have the information we needed right at our fingertips on a daily basis, rather than having to wait for a monthly close,” reports Anderson-Cook CFO Dan Nowicki. Other business results included:

  • Better inventory control and understanding of costs
  • Real-time reconciliation
  • Elimination of volumes of paper
  • Real-time visibility into costs
  • Consolidation of plant financials
  • Reduction in the accounting staff
  • Streamlining the business with everything together in one system

Baker Tilly offers a dedicated manufacturing consulting team with deep vertical knowledge and exceptional Plex Online systems skills. The Baker Tilly Manufacturing Consulting Practice applies best practice methodologies to business process re-engineering and successfully implements corporate-wide ERP business solutions. Baker Tilly takes the complexity and risk out of challenging ERP deployments. For success with Plex Online, connect with Baker Tilly at 800 362 7301 or bakertilly.com.