Forging Ahead Leveraging ERP Data for Enhanced Planning and Scheduling

STREETSBORO, OH, Oct. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Viking Forge, a customer of User Solutions product planning and scheduling software, is one of the largest closed die forging companies in the United States. Viking Forge produces high precision forged carbon steel, alloy, micro-alloy and stainless steel products ranging from 1 to 100 pounds, 3 to 14 inches in diameter and up to 10 inches in length. Volumes range from 5,000 to 500,000 annually. As an ISO 9001:2015 Certified forged steel company Viking Forge provides the most consistent, tight tolerance, near-net forgings available anywhere.

Viking Forge roots go back over three decades, starting as a supplier of various hardware items for the truck industry. Today Viking Forge is a leading supplier of steel and stainless steel forgings to a wide variety of markets including:  Transportation, Recreational Vehicles, Energy, Industrial, Heavy Equipment, Defense & Ordnance.

Challenges with Current ERP System (Inventory Overhead, Uncertain Promise Dates, Communicating the Schedule to Floor)

Viking Forge produces make-to-order parts that not only are forecasted months into the future but also subject to demand fluctuations and expedited orders. Viking Forge needed to provide more accurate promise dates, increase production efficiencies, and reduce inventory overhead.  The caveat was needing to accomplish all of this without increasing user complexity.

Uncertain promise dates caused by fluctuating demand and unforeseen events can only be resolved by a system that factors in factory floor reality such as finite capacity constraints, alternate work centers and maintenance/downtime.  Without it, promise dates for both new and existing customers, who may need to change order quantities themselves in reaction to their own supply chain demands, are not as accurate.  In addition, the ERP system ‘front loads’ the buying of material based solely on standard, pre-forecasted demand, resulting in carrying expensive inventory (rolled steel bars) much longer than needed.  Finally, there’s no easy method to translate the ERP Schedule into an easy to understand, accurate, graphical view, for the production floor.

Solution:  Production Scheduling the Customer Way, Leveraging Existing Data

Roger Koeberle, President of Viking Forge, reached out to User Solutions, of South Lyon MI after being referred by their ERP Support group.   According to Roger, “User Solutions was able to easily adapt their core production scheduling offering (Resource Manager-DB) to use our existing ERP data. They took our operational standards (setup and cycle times for presses, process lead times, inventory and MRP considerations) and then applied finite capacity constraints plus priorities for customer promise dates in order to create a viable schedule. Roger continues, “With the correct schedule, RMDB then seamlessly updates our ERP to run MRP, achieving Just in Time materials management. This results in significantly decreased inventory carrying costs. 

Yet, after all the complexities of integrating with our ERP and applying our constraints to the schedule, we can now display the final schedule in a simple, intuitive, graphical interface using User Solutions’ new EDGE (Enhanced Drag n’ Drop Graphical Environment). EDGE facilitates all the last minute tweaking that typically reflect real time adjustments with via mere mouse clicks or touch screen, just like a visual, intelligent white board.  Roger concludes, “With RMDB and EDGE, for the first time we can accurately quote viable promise dates and meet them.  It is totally refreshing to work with an organization that is willing to adapt their offerings to fit our needs, rather than the other way around.  We have a multi-year, multi-user investment in our ERP system and the tools from User Solutions will allow us to continue using and getting a great return for years to come.”

Results: Saves Time, Eliminates Manual Effort, Increases Accuracy

Lori Walters has been the Scheduling and Purchasing Manager at Viking Forge for many years.  Before working with User Solutions and implementing the Resource Manager-DB/EDGE Combination, Lori had to manually manage each customer order change. Due to internal business rules, each customer order requires 3 separate manufacturing orders which she had to manually synchronize.  While that method worked just fine when no internal or external schedule changes occurred, more often than not that was not the case. Each internal or external change left Lori with having to manually recalculate better dates for each of the 3 production orders per customer order and to be constantly updating the ERP and rerunning MRP accordingly.   According to Lori, “When our business would cycle through periods of high to low demand, we found it extremely difficult to manage materials most efficiently, especially since one order of material could supply multiple production and customer orders.  Now, with Resource Manager-DB/EDGE Combination, a viable schedule is automatically generated and optimum material requirements dates are automatically synchronized with our ERP System.  This saves me untold number of hours and eliminates any manual recalculation errors.”  Lori continues, “Another huge benefit is using EDGE as an intelligent white board.  After the viable schedule is automatically generated, EDGE displays the production schedule by workcenter in an easy to understand format.  I can just make final manual adjustments, due to maintenance downtime, snow days, etc., simply with a click of the mouse and all the dates associated are automatically synchronized back to the ERP.” Lori concludes, “One of the best parts of working with User Solutions is the help – both the printed version and the personal touch, all of which was tailored to how I like to manage things.  Even though they have a normal full manual, they took the time to create an online help manual that can take anyone through the process.  Plus, they actually answer phones and emails quickly and accurately.”

About US:

User Solutions, Inc.  as founded in 1991 in response to the demand for lower cost, easy to learn and use software solutions for the manufacturing and operations management markets. As either an add-on solution to existing ERP solutions, or running stand alone, their affordable planning, scheduling, and tracking solutions are known for great flexibility, rapid implementation and increasing the knowledge and skill set of those involved with the production process.


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SOURCE User Solutions, Inc.

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