The starring role in any manufacturing company belongs to the products that are produced. However, the supporting cast, especially information technology (IT), is quickly beginning from behind the scenes and taking center stage to make sure companies have all essential information readily available to optimize operations and therefore the business overall.

"Digitizing processes create full automation and therefore the ability to find out what result is often expected, alert us when intervention is required"

This is certainly the case at Cooper Standard. As a growing automotive supplier, there's an immense and growing demand for more information to make greater insight into the business. to satisfy this need, the corporate is installing business processes aimed toward accelerating world-class performance. There's a craving for data of all types: how processes are performing, whether its people-centric processes or machine-centric processes, in our manufacturing plants; information on how products perform; also because the recipes and style characteristics that improve quality, product performance and manufacturability.

In the past, IT typically fulfilled these needs by generating reporting capability from the prevailing business systems or implementing new business systems where none existed before. additionally to expanding our business solution set, we now even have to expand the scope of our digital footprint and found out our manufacturing facilities to inform us how the manufacturing and material handling processes are performing. we've to manage information as a business asset that's growing in its value to us by fueling innovation and continuous improvement. Finally, we've to seamlessly integrate these processes and knowledge assets to leverage the opportunities they afford.

This is a journey that each one world-class manufacturing companies are taking, but getting it right for your business is vital. While there are many technologies available to be leveraged, IT and therefore the business must stay faithful balancing a sound vision and roadmap while being pragmatic in applying these enabling technologies. that specialize in current and real business opportunities, structuring initiatives to urge a continuing stream of returns, and avoiding the hype and frenzy coming from the marketplace are all critical.

Here is what Cooper Standard is doing in IT to deal with these challenges of and opportunities for our business:

Standardize & Adopt

First, we are implementing standard core business systems to enable common global best practices. just like the master script of a stage production, everyone must get rid of an equivalent plan, regardless of their role within the production. This includes following these standardize best practice processes globally, which creates a faster response to changes within the business and provides a go-to template for integrating new acquisitions.

These six solutions are returning to 14 different legacy ERP systems and issuing new opportunities for our product design and program launch procedure, HR and talent management, and financial planning and consolidation. We also are newly that specializes in defining the quality solution set for our manufacturing execution systems and building global technology roadmaps and methods for our Industry 4.0 journey. 

Digitize & Optimize

To continuously improve the speed and efficiency of our work processes, we'd like to shut the traps and gaps in and between processes through automating and capturing each process step and workflow digitally, therefore, the process progression is efficient, transparent and ready to measure and proper itself. This effort to travel fully digital replaces the mass reliance on emails and spreadsheets that our business uses in and between processes to hide the gaps. it's labor-intensive, slow and susceptible to error.

Digitizing processes creates full automation (low touch) and therefore the ability to find out what results are often expected, alert us when intervention is required, or better yet, make the required adjustments learned and leveraged to stop unintended results.

Digital processes create valuable information that will be analyzed and modeled to spur further product and process innovation. IT must address the means for the capture and storage of the increased volume of knowledge generated from PLCs, sensors, scales, flow meters, etc. that control our manufacturing and material handling equipment, also because of the infrastructure in our facilities.

This optimization effort may be a continuous process of launching discrete initiatives prioritized with the business. We recently implemented a totally digital process for indirect procurement across our North American region. Full digital automation of the indirect procurement process was implemented for requisitioners, approvers, buyers, accounts payable and suppliers to realize significant savings in purchase costs and transparency for better utilization analytics.

Manage Information Assets to make Value

More data is out there now than at any time within the past. As processes, services and things become data generators, they supply opportunities for us to find out and improve our business. within the past, data was always checked out as an input or output supporting a business process. Now, the role of knowledge has elevated therein it's becoming a value-added asset in and of itself.

Raw data alone, collected in any IT system, doesn't necessarily have any value if it can't be utilized by downstream processes or aggregated to research trends and patterns for improving performance. to urge value from our business data, we'd like to raised manage the life cycle of shared business data (customers, suppliers, part numbers, work cells, etc.) to permit its global unification to support real-time business execution measurement and analytics.

For Cooper Standard, this involves:

• Determining the business data that must be consistent across the set of standardized business solutions;

• Identifying the source system for every data asset and developing common codification selection values and a governance structure for business ownership and maintenance; and

• Creating digital processes to integrate information from source systems to destination systems to assure the integrity of knowledge across business solutions.

At Cooper Standard, the IT team has embraced its heightened role because of the critical member of the supporting cast. We are fully engaged in Cooper Standard’s journey to world-class across all of its business processes.