niwet cproduction planning and control22 Nucor Corporation's Crawfordsville, Indiana sheet mill is an impressive facility. Its size is measured not in square feet, but in acreage. Here, Nucor melts steel, pours steel, and rolls it so it can eventually be used in a wide variety of products, including car parts, piping, and semi trailer walls. When Bill Johnston was hired five years ago to take over as IT Supervisor for the division, he inherited a tremendous amount of responsibility. His department was charged with maintaining the many business systems that support the 600-employee steel production facility. Bill also inherited a technology company called Dataflow. "When I started at Nucor I was told 'we deal with this vendor, Dataflow'," remembers Bill. "With so much at stake, I was naturally concerned about whether Dataflow could meet my needs. But as I got involved with them and started building my own relationship with the Dataflow folks, I found they're people I can rely on. They've jumped through hoops to make me look pretty good." Where Dataflow has made the biggest impact at Nucor is in the development and customization of the MIPS system. Short for Mill Information and Production System, MIPS is a Level 3 Manufacturing Execution System (MES) designed specifically for hot and cold steel mills. "When this division began operations about 14 years ago we had a software system, but it just wasn't sophisticated enough to do everything demanded of it," says Bill. "Dataflow was brought in to help develop a better solution. They've been here ever since because they quickly established themselves as true strategic partners. They're involved in virtually all of our major development efforts. We frequently sit down and jointly develop solutions to business issues. A lot of our people say that Dataflow is an extension of our department." Today, the MIPS system Dataflow developed is the backbone of virtually everything the mill does, from order entry, production scheduling, and inventory control to accounting functions, claims handling, and shipping. "MIPS is the life blood of our sheet mill," Bill explains. "It runs our product, our scrap, even invoicing and receiving of payments. MIPS gives us information about the status of every aspect of our business. We see the benefits of the system everywhere we look. Not only are we more productive, but we see a better attitude among our staff. MIPS puts everybody on the same page." Bill adds that Dataflow's custom development services have served Nucor well in many other ways, beyond MIPS. "We utilize a Lotus Notes/Domino environment. When we first moved into Lotus Notes, no one here really knew a lot about it. We told Dataflow that we needed applications developed and they quickly trained staff, who then developed a number of resources for us within that system. Our ISO 9000 certification is based on a database program Dataflow helped customize. Dataflow is especially good at taking existing products and creating auxiliary products that make the original program much more useful. When problems arise, Dataflow doesn't point fingers and say, 'That's another vendor's fault.' They just deliver a solution." The bottom line for Bill Johnston? "Dataflow has been Nucor's strategic partner for nearly 14 years, through two or three management changes. The reason why is simple: Dataflow is flexible, adaptable, and genuinely interested in contributing to the success of our company. They're great to work with and they give me what I need." Steel Mill Software - Case Study
niwet cproduction planning and control23 Products For The Steel Industry MIPS: Mill Information and Production System What It Is A Level 3 Manufacturing Execution System (MES) designed specifically for hot and cold steel mills, MIPS supports the entire steel production process, from Order Entry to Shipping, and serves as an information conduit between mill operations and enterprise business systems. Developed as a series of modules, MIPS provides the functionality and flexibility needed to maximize output, quality, and cost control.
niwet cproduction planning and control24 Why You Need It MIPS software enables users to make a quantum leap forward in their ability to control the manufacturing process and identify non-productive procedures and expenditures. MIPS also allows users to collect and analyze data critical to both short- and long-term strategic planning. MIPS improves management of the manufacturing process at all these levels: Planning, Reporting, Analysis, and Decision Making Sales Order Management Daily Production Management Cost Management Inventory Control and Management Shipping Management Efficiency and Productivity Control Invoicing Cash Application Claims Management Customer Service Outside Processing Management Technology Considerations Based on client-server technology, MIPS operates under Unix or Windows, using an Oracle database for high performance and reliability. The MIPS development environment is database and client independent and can be fully integrated with Level 2 and ERP systems.