Just over two years ago, Ralco Industries Inc., an automotive components supplier, followed through on a management promise. After surviving the collapse of the U.S. auto market, and along with it the end of 60 percent of its competition, Ralco would diversify.
The manufacturer entered the medical device industry with plans for customized, lightweight electric wheelchairs, a far cry from its core metal-stamping business. For help, it turned to its long-time manufacturing software provider, Plex Systems. Plex worked with Ralco to create an efficient parts-procurement system, organize its skilled workers, price the chair and, most importantly, set up a manufacturing system that could make each wheelchair according to user specifications, such as height or seat width.
“There are 11,000 different combinations for the [wheelchair] frame alone,” says Ralco Chief Executive Tom Gitter. “I don’t know how we would have done it without Plex.”
Plex provides manufacturers with cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, “every module needed to run a manufacturing operation,” from quality control and production management to human resources, invoicing and accounting, says Plex Chief Executive Jason Blessing.