Techno-Coat, Inc.
Powder Web
"We saved four months of application development time and $40,000 in costs using Iron Speed Designer."

- Chris Allen of Influx Networking

Powder Web

Techno-Coat, Inc.
Holland, MI USA

The Powder Web application was developed for Techno-Coat, Inc., a powder coat solution provider in West Michigan. Powder Web is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application used by everyone in Techno-Coat. The Powder Web application was a new application developed to replace a purchased application.

This application provides complete ERP for Techno-Coat, including order entry, production scheduling, shop floor reporting, shipping, and invoicing. It also includes inventory, purchasing, receiving, quoting, and quality control systems.

Recipe (Bill of Material and Manufacturing Operations)

The core of the system is the inventory and production control. Parts are received and either placed into inventory or directly in the production line, depending on the production schedule. The shop floor schedule is the key. This is where we need to quickly access all production-related information and keep everyone in the operation informed.

As parts are needed, the schedule is used to pull parts from inventory. This creates a paper traveler that stays with the parts and enables the people pulling material from inventory to know where to get it. The paper traveler also acts as the identification for that group of parts. With the Powder Web application, the processing instructions for the parts can be pulled up by the paper traveler on any terminal on the shop floor as the parts are processed.

The traveler and the quick links on the schedule allow role-base viewing of the processing instructions. The software is set up so that the routing and bill of materials are predefined. Some material goes on for final assembly, while other product gets ready for shipping to the end user. Because of this, we need flexible labeling and documentation that allows us to react to the greatly different shipping requirements. Labeling is applied in production, and a single barcode scan allows parts to be shipped with almost no user input other than scanning the material as it is loaded onto the truck.

Shipping screen

We set up documentation to ensure customers receive goods from shippers best suited for their needs. This data is a direct input into their system and includes various electronic methods as well as traditional paper.

Once a shipment is made, all information transfers to the accounting and custom invoicing parts of the system. Our customers have diverse invoicing requirements. The Powder Web application allowed us to develop a flexible invoicing process. We invoice quickly yet differently to each of our customers. Some never receive invoices, others get custom electronic files, and a few still get paper invoices.

Production schedule

Once invoices are created, a summary file is sent to the MAS90 accounting software for GL and financial reporting.

Application size and scope

Our application uses one Microsoft SQL Server database, comprised of 112 tables and 23 views. The largest database table is InventoryTransactions, an item ledger that tracks all inventory movement. It consists of approximately 3.5 million rows. There are 190 Web pages in the application, which are used by 30 users per month, processing an estimated 700,000 transactions per month.

The project

The Powder Web Techno-Coat application took six team members 18 months to implement. The entire Powder Web application was developed using Iron Speed Designer.

Code extensions and customizations

We wrote approximately 10,000 lines of custom code and extensions, mostly to populate the fields and automatically add rows. We didn't use third-part components, although we did use Javascript and AJAX. In all, our code customizations took less than 40 hours to write.

Page layout customizations

We did do some layout customization. We moved the buttons around some to make data entry easier. (If you put the + button after the table, it gets focus and speeds up data entry of multiple rows. An added benefit is that your hands never have to leave the keyboard.)

We used the standard Fuji design theme in Iron Speed Designer.

Iron Speed Designer impact

Our project would have been feasible without using Iron Speed Designer, but would have taken at least 22 months. We believe that by using Iron Speed Designer, we saved four months of development time and $40,000 in development costs.

Next steps

We plan to add many more features to the Powder Web Techno-Coat application, as we include other departments in the company. However, we will add more users or deploy to additional sites only as needed.

About the developers

Chris Allen has a B.S. in Industrial Administration from GMI Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University). His development background includes 20 years in the field of programming, starting with mainframes and migrating to ASP, PHP, MySQL, and .NET as new technologies have evolved.

David Hering has been working in small business tier two suppliers to the automotive and office furniture industries for 17 years. He currently manages and maintains the computer systems at Techno Coat, Inc. Adapting and complying with the needs of our customers and end-customers is the key to success. He has been supporting the customer who has little or no technical support and delivering to the end-customer, fully meeting the end-customer's documentation requirements. By supporting the internal operations, the end-customer gets the quality product he needs.

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