Breadth of Manufacturing Environments Served
© Art: Fleet's In by Patty Frierson TWS
My specialty is working at the strategic level with upper management
to establish solid direction for the use of information technology to achieve their
business objectives. That often involves working as a Consulting CIO to help them realize
what the latest technologies can do for them. I have spent most of my time in consulting
helping clients identify those feasible computer applications which redefine the
organization and enable it to achieve quantum leaps, and then marshalling the resources to
see them implemented quickly. I have selected the following clients to illustrate the
breadth of industries in which I have consulted since 1977:
- Southern Champion Tray Company produces custom boxes
for everything from perfume bottles to diskette boxes for the computer industry. The
critical application here is efficiently managing lots of custom orders for fast service
- Corley Manufacturing produces a well-known line of
saw mill machinery and complete saw mills now in use all over the world. They must
efficiently design and manufacture for hundreds of thousands of parts and replacement
parts and get them to the field promptly.
- Chattanooga Tufters Supply Company is highly
innovative. They reengineer older machinery to run faster and maintain close relations
with tufters all over the world. Innovation and efficient production of thousands of parts
is critical to follow-on sales. Nimbleness is a virtue as the price and supply of used
machinery ebbs and flows.
- Chattanooga Glass Company (acquired by Sewell
Plastics) produced a wide variety of glass containers for foods and beverages. Here the
challenge was to efficiently manage the very rapid flow of orders into shipped product.
- Chattem, Inc. produces mainly cosmetic items and
buys and sells new product lines and, sometimes, the manufacturing as well. The company
can drastically alter its product portfolio and its geography from year to year.
Nimbleness is essential here: an information infrastructure to support quick and constant
- Siskin Steel, was recently sold to Reliable, had
gravitated along with the competition from just supplying thousands of steel items cut to
varying lengths into the manufacture of custom shapes by various cutting and shaping
methods involving numerical control.
- Crates Leather Company produces one of the finest
lines of saddles in the world. The key role of information technology here is in the
marketing and customer service areas. Here the critical application was knowing the market
- The World Carpets finishing plant is a medium size
operation, which shipped to a network of contract warehouses. Here the breakthrough to
smooth production scheduling was found not in the plant but in providing online order
entry and inventory control to all the independent warehouses from a central database. By
drastically reducing expedited orders, World Carpets greatly increased sales out of the
- While Olan Mills, Inc. is a large family firm with
studios nationwide, its highly automated photo-finishing operations fit the medium
manufacturer profile. Innovative automation of manufacturing combined with a very powerful
order tracking system enables Olan Mills to count its customers in the millions.
- Nissan Motor Manufacturing Company built the largest
vehicle assembly under one one roof anywhere worldwide in Smyrna, Tennessee. Three
extremely automated assembly lines were supported by a massive order system and very
innovative production planning systems which enabled them to make a accept order
specifications within half the lead time of the competition. This was a precursor of make
to order manufacturing. With so many computers involved, they asked our help in measuring
the cost per transaction of the supporting business systems, so that they could verify and
reward continuous cost reductions.
Ten years of prior experience in a Fortune 1000 manufacturing firm
was indispensable preparation for these assignments, along with an MBA degree from Wharton