Marching Forward To An MRP Solution

New solution helps military supplier tighten manufacturing schedules and reduce production shortages to zero.

If it flies, floats, or rolls for the U.S. military, chances are there is a Lambda Novatronics power supply on board. For more than 30 years, Lambda Novatronics has been one of the leading designers and manufacturers of special application electronic power subsystems for military and other high-end applications. Its products can be found on the Abrams Tank, the Minuteman and Trident missiles, F16s, and countless other military aircrafts, vessels, vehicles, and missiles.

As a supplier to the military, Lambda Novatronics has very stringent information requirements that most manufacturers don't have. The company must break down bids for orders by part costs and overhead rates. The government requires that historical data be maintained. All costs must be meticulously tracked, and incoming materials must be inspected and documented for the government.

Although the military environment is project-based, Lambda Novatronics wanted to purchase materials according to production requirements, instead of by requisition. However, the company still needed to invoice products according to the requisition for the U.S. military. Therefore, the company wanted a Material Resource Planning (MRP) system that would interface with its project-based accounting system. Lambda Novatronics needed to meet the demands of the military environment while attempting to streamline operations, automate data collection, improve the efficiency of the manufacturing processes, and provide complete online documentation.

After searching for a solution, Lambda Novatronics replaced its current system with Fourth Shift MSS. "We chose Fourth Shift because it is a flexible system that can be adapted to the military environment," said John Villane II, Senior System Analyst of Lambda Novatronics. "It allows us to manage production more efficiently, maintain the historical data we need, and tie manufacturing data in with our accounting systems." Lambda Novatronics also uses Visibar, Fourth Shift's bar code data collection solution, to collect inside source data when receiving and inspecting items. "We must inspect and document everything for the government," explains Villane. The new process enters data into the system after an item passes inspection and before the item is moved to the stock room. Once the data is in the system, users can easily access the historical data needed for audit purposes.

The new system enabled Lambda Novatronics to increase production while downsizing its operation. "One of our biggest accomplishments is increasing the amount of annual revenue per employee," said Villane. Over the past year, Lambda Novatronics has increased revenues per employee from $89,000 to $100,000.

Using the solution from Fourth Shift, Lambda Novatronics is able to meet stringent military requirements, while improving on-time delivery, increasing inventory turns, and reducing manufacturing cycle time. The company also continuously improves the quality of its products. This environment focuses on cycle time reduction (55% reduction to date), work in progress reduction (50% reduction to date), variation reduction, and reduction of shortages to zero (goal).Fourth Shift Corporation