Manufacturing operations are A-OKW with Javelin production planning & control software

Author : Ian Cox, Operations Director for OKW Enclosures

05 July 2018

“We don’t do anything, anywhere in the business, without it being on Javelin,” says OKW's Operations Director, Ian Cox – explaining how the Javelin production planning and control system from Vero Software is at the very heart of their complex manufacturing and production operations, both on the shop floor and in the office.

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The company produces metal housings for electronics, as well as importing and distributing plastic enclosures for four other brands, all under the name of German plastic moulding company, OKW. As well as manufacturing lightweight metal cases, typically from 1.5 to 2mm aluminium, under their METCASE brand, they distribute OKW’s plastic enclosures, ROLEC die cast IP66/67 rated aluminium housings, and moulded lightweight ABS cases from Teko and Serpac.

“Javelin played an absolutely vital role in getting the company to where it is today, and will remain vital as we grow,” says Cox. “As there are between 15,000 and 20,000 parts set up on Javelin across the five brands, we couldn’t run a business of this size without the information and control it gives us.”

OKW provide standard and custom enclosures for electronics to many industry sectors, including health and medical applications, measurement and control, mechanical engineering, automotive, heating, security and energy. At one stage, they even supplied the voting control boxes for the TV show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

METCASE’s metal products are manufactured at their factory in Fareham, and they often need to modify the injection moulded products they import from ROLEC in Germany, Teko from Italy, and American company Serpac, along with those from parent company, OKW in Germany.

They have used Javelin (and its forerunner, Job-shop) for more than 20 years. “We updated our entire IT system in 2011, and now that we’ve also made a sea change to meet Javelin’s SQL database requirement, our philosophy is to work with the latest releases.”

All shop floor operations for manufacturing the METCASE enclosures are controlled with Javelin. The blanks are cut on two Murata Wiedermann CNC punch presses, and then folded on Amada press brakes. Each part has a Javelin job card detailing every operation and drawing records. But even before that stage, the software’s powerful MRP (material requirements planning) system comes into play, providing precise control of all supply operations, addressing minimum stock levels and showing exactly what components they need to make.

Everything moving through the shop floor has a works order (WO). “For example, when we make METCASE enclosures, each individual component has its own Javelin WO for manufacturing, material required, routing and processing. And a top level WO brings in the kitting and puts it into stock.”

He says shop floor data capture was a big step forward for them. “It meant our operation became more reliable and accurate with everything being scanned, removing the possibility of error by inputting incorrect digits. It records everything – punching, bending, inserting, tapping, powder coating or wet painting, and digital printing for the front panels – all done by touch screen and bar coding, so a WO might say Punch, Form, Insert, Linish, Powdercoat.”

And the software plays an equally important role in giving full visibility and control over their importing and distribution processes for OKW, ROLEC, Teko and Serpac products. “If a customer wants 20 cases from ROLEC, we raise a purchase order (PO) and can include a box on the front that tells us who they are for and the order number.”

He explains how the works order integrates with the purchase order in providing unique information where necessary. “If we’re supplying a quantity of OKW cases, for instance, to a distributor, the distributor may want us to add a yellow label to each enclosure. When the PO is raised, it’ll be issued to a WO telling staff to put a yellow RS label on, and pack it in a certain storage bin ready for a specific shipment.”

Where products are modified, by machining features such as USB holes and slots for ribbon cables into the case, they enter the Javelin system via a purchase order, and are allocated to a works order for processing on the shop floor. Once the modifications are complete, the WO is closed off and the products put into stock ready for delivery.

Even when an order is for standard enclosures with no modifications, he says Javelin gives them full visibility and control at all times, and is used at the very start of their process. “Whenever we need to supply something to a customer, whether a sample or full order, the sales office team load the information into the system under that customer’s details.

“If we need to bring the product in from one of the brands, Javelin raises the purchase order for the supplier and the customer’s sales confirmation. When it arrives with us we book it in through Javelin, raise the delivery note and ship it out.” He says an individual order from a distributor may be 20 or 30 lines spread across the brands. MRP is then used to show which items should go on each brand’s PO.

Finally, everything is costed on Javelin, having been created on the system with a bill of materials (BOM) and routing, which produces the standard costing. “Modifications can be built onto that, giving an accurate price for quotations. And the standard costing is used in end-of-month stock valuation and work in progress valuations.”

Ian Cox concludes by saying Javelin is core to their business, and a vital and integral aspect of their ability to successfully manage the five brands – particularly through their use of Crystal Reports. “We’re just putting a new product into the market, and I’ve used a Crystal Report to create the price book in Javelin from Excel spreadsheets. It imports from the spreadsheet, taking that data and formatting it from horizontal to vertical, and outputting it into the price book structure.”

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