“The impact of ProductCenter had already proven substantial for the company over that time, with estimates of millions of dollars in savings gained through its use in product development and manufacturing. The application of ProductCenter to this new application was a logical next step in the evolution of the division’s product lifecycle management environment.”
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ProductCenter PLM Workflow at Heart of Business Process Improvements at Goodrich

ProductCenter PLM Workflow Expected to Significantly Decrease Order Processing Time

The Company

Headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, Goodrich Turbine Fuel Technologies, a division of Goodrich Corporation (NYSE: GR), is a leading producer of fuel injection nozzles. Using very sophisticated technology and manufacturing techniques for production, Turbine Fuel Technologies’ fuel injection nozzles are used in a host of applications from home heating systems to some of the most advanced military fighter jet engines.

The Situation

Identifying waste, eliminating non-value added activities and maintaining performance metrics associated with Goodrich’s order–to-cash business process (the process of moving an order through approvals and to actual revenue receipt) is an on-going continuous improvement activity at the company.

To that end, a team of employees at Goodrich’s West Des Moines operation developed and is in the final phase of testing a new purchase order-to-sales order system. The system, created utilizing SofTech’s ProductCenter™ PLM (product lifecycle management) solution and ProductCenter™ PLM Workflow, is expected to significantly reduce the time it takes to process purchase and sales orders and to access critical sales order entry documents.

In taking on this new project, the Goodrich team began by documenting the existing purchase order-to-sales order process. Some 1,200 plus purchase order review records, coined ‘PO Travelers’, were analyzed over a six-month period to judge the effectiveness and efficiency of the current processes.

The results were startling. On average, it took 19 working days (almost one month in total time) for purchase and sales orders to work through the review cycle process. In addition, it was not unusual for the original customer purchase order to be copied nine times and hardcopies filed in separate folders by multiple departments. On top of that, it was almost impossible to locate the purchase and sales order paperwork until it was returned to its originating department.

The Solution

The Goodrich team proposed a new and improved PO Traveler system that focused on reducing the total lead-time (throughput), cutting process time (touch time), and on improving first time quality (reducing errors). Even though modest improvements in total lead-time were possible by eliminating non-value operations and combining functions, the team’s overall objective of reducing purchase and sales order throughput from weeks to days would never happen without a major paradigm shift.

Goodrich had already met with much success in automating other areas of its business using SofTech’s PLM solution. ProductCenter™ PLM, ProductCenter Workflow™, and the ProductCenter™ PLM SolidWorks Integrator, which integrates PLM capabilities within the design application, had been used for a number of years for automation of company-wide design standards, centralized management of SolidWorks® and other product-related data, as well as version/release control and engineering change management.

The impact of ProductCenter had already proven substantial for the company over that time, with estimates of millions of dollars in savings gained through its use in product development and manufacturing. The application of ProductCenter to this new application was a logical next step in the evolution of the division’s product lifecycle management environment. ProductCenter seemed to offer the Goodrich team the best chance of achieving their aggressive throughput goal of just 2.5 days and so was selected for this new project.

To support the PO Traveler workflow, the first step was to create a ProductCenter class structure to facilitate the vaulting of purchase orders and associated Goodrich quotations. Customized linking structures were then created to facilitate easy access to these documents by all departments during the PO Traveler workflow process.

The flexibility of ProductCenter Workflow also allowed it to easily accommodate multiple purchase order review options including: existing and new customer; existing and new parts; and new purchase orders and amendments. It also allowed system utilization and information access by number of different Goodrich facilities, including manufacturing operations that support OEMs, overhaul, and product support activities.

ProductCenter Workflow also accommodated complex review cycles that could include group or named individuals from a combination of Marketing, Credit and Billing, Information Technology, Documentation Control, Operational Cell Leaders, Project Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Quality Engineering, and Buyer/Planners prior to entry of the sale order entry into Goodrich’s PeopleSoft® EnterpriseOne Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The new system will also close the loop by notifying each reviewer of a PO Traveler’s completion via a standard or custom notification lists.

In addition to improving throughput, a number of secondary benefits are also anticipated with the new system, giving employees at Goodrich the capability to:
  • Monitor and locate all open PO Travelers to encourage individuals to review and approve them in a more timely manner
  • Automatically monitor records and report actual throughput metrics on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis
  • Copy workflow project records to create a new record utilizing the sales order number assigned by the PeopleSoft ERP system as the file name. This record, linked back to the original workflow, allows other sales order specific documents such as invoices, delivery tickets, shipper export declarations, etc. to be linked together and maintained as a match set.
The implementation of the PO Traveler workflow system will be done in distinctive phases and as with any major change or paradigm shift, each phase must be managed and rolled out very methodically. User manuals and presentation materials are currently being prepared in anticipation of the final system rollout.

An initial live test pilot of the PO Traveler workflow will be conducted for 30 to 60 days. After that, changes will be made if needed based on user feedback, then it will be launched into full operation. It is premature to predict the total lead-time reduction of the system prior to its full launch, but the Goodrich team is confident that the process improvements associated with the purchase order–to-sales order entry system is capable of meeting their total lead-time objective of 2.5 days utilizing ProductCenter.

ProductCenter Benefits:

  • Immediate insight in to purchase/sales order status eliminates bottlenecks
  • Reduced purchase/sales order processing from 19 to 2.5 days
  • Critical purchase/sales order documents easily accessed

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The Case Study