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Sescoi’s enterprise research planning (ERP) software, Workplan Enterprise, has increased transparency within the organisation of German toolmaker Harting Applied Technologies, based in Espelkamp.

Harting specialises in producing injection and die-casting molds, progressive dies and assembly systems for products such as mechatronic actuators, micro optics and sensor casings for the automotive, medical, engine-building and electronics industries.

It has the technology to manufacture extremely small parts, such as die-casting moulds for producing parts with 0.1mm wall thicknesses, as well as tooling for electronic applications, such as contact springs made from 30um thick film.

All Harting’s products involve make to order (MTO) manufacturing, so it is essential the company understands the importance of enterprise resource planning, production planning and control.

It is part of the Harting group of companies that uses SAP to manage its business, but at its Espelkamp factory, Harting Applied Technologies used an in-house developed ERP system to manage its production.

However, this system was unable to keep up with the evolving requirements of the company, leading it to look for a replacement.

The natural choice was SAP but on closer evaluation, it was found to be unsuitable as it required very detailed production information to be entered at an early stage – which is not available at the start of a typical project.

Workplan Enterprise, on the other hand, can start with a preliminary plan with placeholders, which can be edited as more information becomes available.

Harting also appreciated the easy-to-create tree structure and the interoperable views in Workplan Enterpirse, in which forms, views and filters can be generated easily, enabling the company to tailor the system exactly to its needs without requiring an IT specialist.

The decision to install Workplan Enterprise was taken at the end of 2009, with training taking place at Sescoi in December.

By mid-January the test installation had been commissioned; by March 2010 all the sales order information had been transferred to the system; and in April the system went live for the first time.

Everything worked perfectly and the end of the month account for April was transferred to SAP without any problems.

Workplan Enterprise has a SAP interface and Sescoi is SAP certified, so integration between the systems was straightforward.

Harting has 15 Workplan Enterprise workstations in a Citrix terminal server environment enabling managers, controllers, technicians and the sales personnel to have access to relevant data on the central Workplan Enterprise system.

The software manages quotation creation, sales order management, invoicing, stock management, purchasing and goods received documentation.

SAP manages the material cost centres, credit control, time and attendance, so the smooth link that exists between the two systems is essential for Harting.

As more Workplan Enterprise functionality is being implemented at Harting, more efficiency is obtained, as part of a continuous process.

Clock in/out messages are automatically transferred to and displayed in the SAP system software, and a new calendar for absences will soon replace the previous Microsoft Excel list.

The software’s tools have replaced certain unreliable external systems for calculating cost, so that manufacturing costs can now be established in a clear and transparent manner.

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