United Controls International
Automated Workflows for an Engineering and Testing Service
Automated Workflows Reduce Order-Processing
Times by 50%
Facing ever-larger and more complex projects, United Controls International needed:
- Greater visibility of operations
- Corporate repository of information, and
- More efficient system for quoting and scheduling
TwinEngines developed a custom Microsoft SharePoint solution to improve their workflows and visibility of operations. All business processes are now integrated with the company’s new ERP system.
Every day United Controls International (UCI) receives RFQs for a wide range of parts and components from nuclear plants around the world. These requests trigger unique workflows to quote and manage contracts, procurements, sub-contracted services, and testing projects.
As UCI’s business grew, the company realized it would need a sophisticated management platform to meet the demand. “We needed to coordinate activities with many different companies,” explains Rob Hale, CEO of UCI Inc. “We had to incorporate their services, review and approve their work, and bring these companies into our unique process.”
UCI discovered a lot of redundancy and restrictions with their approach. “A major limitation was that multiple people could not input and review the same data,” explains Luis Sanchez, Vice President and COO. “We discovered that our information system had restrictions.”
“We needed the system to connect everyone who touched the project: engineers developing procedures, lab technicians using the data, and quality assurance personnel reviewing the data submitted by the testing department.”
TwinEngines Inc. performed a complete strategic and operational review of UCI’s business processes and systems. TwinEngines helps manufacturers and product service companies improve their workflows and visibility of operations by aligning business processes and line-of-business systems.
“We looked at how to connect UCI’s entire workflow: quoting, sales order creation, sourcing, and operational tasking — all the way to shipping. We needed to connect subcontractors and partners, too,” explains Kevin Seefried of TwinEngines. “We discovered many disconnected silos of information. The core system used an Access database for job tracking that worked alongside QuickBooks for financials plus spreadsheets distributed by email.”
TwinEngines modeled the flow of information in the business processes and determined ownership at each stage. Instead of QuickBooks, UCI needed a business system that could grow and change with the company. TwinEngines and UCI chose Microsoft Dynamics GP for core ERP functions.
TwinEngines developed a unique set of Microsoft SharePoint modules to surface information, streamline business processes and manage the workflow from quoting to shipping. SharePoint now connects to the ERP system for end-to-end process management and gives everyone detailed access to the jobs at hand.
The TwinEngines solution immediately delivered a new level of visibility, efficiency and coordination to the operations. “I can now come in and see all the projects we have in house,” explains Mary Segars, UCI Project Manager. “I can see where we are in the process, which person is currently engaged, what issues need to be addressed, and see the estimated ship date. All of this has given me huge visibility to see where we stand at a glance.”
Faster Quoting Process
“Before the TwinEngines system, we didn’t have any historical data,” explains Luis Sanchez. “We would have to look at twenty different quotes to determine how well we did on a past project, or how should quote the project in hand. Now we have this data in hand, so we can be much faster and more precise in our quoting process.”
Processing Times Cut in Half
Faster processes have paid off for UCI. “It used to take us seven to ten days go get a sales order into our system, get it reviewed, and sent to our purchasing department,” explains Ms. Segars. “Compare that to the three to five days it now takes to get an order to purchasing. This has improved our lead times tremendously and delighted our customers.”
Total Cycle Time Reduced
UCI has also improved job scheduling. “We can schedule every job to a unique production window,” explains Sean Ruth, Production Manager. “A job that took seven weeks to go through the system, now takes four or five weeks.”
Self-Scheduling a Reality
With up to fifty employees working on projects, the new system allows much of this scheduling complexity to be handled by the employees themselves. “Everyone can see where projects are at any point of time,” explains Ruth. “This allows employees to manage their own schedule because they can now see the work in hand and what’s upcoming. Rather than reacting when something hits their desk, everyone can look into the future and see what’s coming in their direction.”
TwinEngines has not only enabled UCI to scale its business with speed and agility, but employees are more closely connected at every step – a true competitive advantage in the nuclear industry.
“We needed to coordinate activities with many different companies:
We had to incorporate their services, review and approve their work, and bring these companies into our unique process.”
“Before the TwinEngines system, we didn’t have any historical data,”
Now we have this data in hand, so we can be much faster and more precise in our quoting process.”
“We can schedule every job to a unique production window.
A job that took seven weeks to go through the system, now takes four or five weeks.”
“I can see where we are in the process, which person is currently engaged, what issues need to be addressed, and see the estimated ship date.
All of this has given me huge visibility to see where we stand at a glance.”