Automation of Drawing Approval Process Saves Plastic Omnium $2.5K Per Location Annually

Company Background

Plastic Omnium is a global leader in automotive equipment manufacturing. They specialize in body modules, structural components, fuel tanks and emissions reduction systems. Founded in 1946, Plastic Omnium employs 32,000 across 131 factories, 24 R&D facilities in 26 countries. Plastic Omnium focuses on innovation that enhances individual and social well-being while protecting the natural environment.

Challenge

Plastic Omnium’s Engineering Design team for plastic fuel tanks had a manual process for approving 2D drawings before sending them to their suppliers. They used an ink signature process where a technical drawing was created with CAD software. That document would be printed out and hand-signed with an ink signature by an engineer and stamped as a control document and released through a paper document control system. Then the documents were mailed out to the suppliers as controlled copies.

The process was slow, required manual paperwork, and an onsite dedicated staff. Plastic Omnium wanted to automate the 2D drawing document approval process to gain efficiencies and improve their relationship with suppliers.

Results

Saved $1000 in paper cost annually per location

Saved $1500 in annual labor savings per location

Improved supplier relationships with same-day response versus paper mailing

With the launch of the application in one location, we identified approximately 1500 hrs. of annual labor savings by automating the process and a reduction of $1000 in paper consumption annually

Jeremy Lempicki,Product Development Manager Plastic Omnium

What SharpQuest Did

Enabled digital transformation from manual processes

Developed new web application portal accessible online

Designed solution architecture and database

Designed modern user interface and experience

Performed data migration from legacy systems

They were good to work with and were responsive. They were open to feedback and flexible in accommodating requests.

Solution

Plastic Omnium started the initiative by doing some internal research. Jeremy Lempicki, Product Development Manager at Plastic Omnium recalled, “We did some workshops internally to identify the functionality that we were looking for, then provided that technical specification to SharpQuest.”

SharpQuest listened to their requirements and worked collaboratively to create a solution to meet their needs. Lempicki described the process, “They developed a pilot site for us to do demos on the interface. We had feedback on workflows, functionality, and the layout and they were receptive to those ideas. We also identified some additional things that could be treated as follow-up work or maintenance that they continue to support us with. They work to ensure we’re happy with the product.”

SharpQuest focused on automating process and creating a digital signature to eliminate the need to paper and ink. They developed a web application portal to approve the drawings online with electronic signatures and send drawings to suppliers and other stakeholders electronically. All of this was done under a tight schedule. According to Lempicki, “We were in a time crunch and needed the project completed quickly. They were able to meet the deadlines.”

Lempicki was also pleased with the experience working with SharpQuest, “They were good to work with and were responsive. They were open to feedback and flexible in accommodating requests that we identified after the requirements had already been written. They understood that the end goal was to have something that met our needs.”

How Plastic Omnium Rates SharpQuest

Keeping on Schedule

Quality of Service and Deliverables

Outcomes

The launch of the new automated drawing approval application showed immediate ROI. Lempicki stated, “With the launch of the application in one location, we identified approximately 1500 hrs. of annual labor savings by automating the process and a reduction of $1000 in paper consumption annually.”

SharpQuest went on to incorporate other drawing types so that the application could be rolled out to other locations for additional gains in cost savings and productivity.

Beyond efficiency gains, Lempicki recognized that the project had a positive impact on employees and suppliers, “The feedback on the project has been very positive. People like the fact that they were able to submit the drawing transfers themselves and the suppliers were able to get them the same day as opposed to waiting for the postal mail. They like the fact that it’s electronic and no longer have to work with paper copies. We also have the database which tracks all the information so that people are able to go back and see what was approved for a specific project.”

Since this project was such a success, Plastic Omnium continued working with SharpQuest on a project to combine and modernize four different legacy desktop applications used by their Engineering and R&D teams. This effort significantly improved productivity and data outcomes. 

How Plastic Omnium Rates SharpQuest

Keeping Cost Within Estimates and Delivering Value

Willingness to Refer SharpQuest

People like the fact that they were able to submit the drawing transfers themselves and the suppliers were able to get them the same day as opposed to waiting for the postal mail.

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