Information System Overhaul

By Kim S. Nash  |  Posted 2002-10-10 Print this article Print

Corning's small specialty materials group tries to lead the money-losing glassmaker into the future of manufacturing.

Information System Overhaul

Click here to see the three phases of Corning's specialty-glass manufacturing process.

Information Systems Before Overhaul... ...And Afterwards
  • Nine factories run nine different homegrown manufacturing systems, can't exchange data.
  • Three plants so far run Camstar's manufacturing software, which swaps data with PeopleSoft 8 financial and factory applications via XML messages.
  • Each factory schedules own jobs.
  • Job scheduling is balanced between factories based on overall plant capacities.
  • Impossible to move unfinished goods between plants.
  • Busy factories can transfer unfinished products to less-busy plants—all systems share data about work-in-progress.
  • Each factory keeps own customer files.
  • Customer specs maintained on a secure Web server, accessible companywide.
  • Orders entered manually—often from faxed printouts—into five incompatible systems.
  • Job scheduling is balanced between factories based on overall plant capacities.
  • Plant workers and technology staff collect data from various systems to send to customers—sometimes as long as several days after product ships.
  • Measurement data recorded by Camstar as glass is created, allowing technicians to e-mail data to customers as soon as product is done.
  • Analysts use Excel spreadsheets to figure the cost of making a product, pulling data from 25 to 40 applications and from paper files. Takes three months or longer.
  • PeopleSoft-Camstar integration lets costing be done as soon as product is polished.
  • Systems can't share product data—thus, manufacturing process can't be improved.
  • Detailed genealogy data recorded automatically. Helps Corning recreate factory conditions that produced top-quality ingots.
  • Plant managers oversee factories; rewards tied to factory's own profits and losses.
  • Plant managers oversee product lines, no matter which factories create goods.

Senior Writer
Kim has covered the business of technology for 14 years, doing investigative work and writing about legal issues in the industry, including Microsoft Corp.'s antitrust trial. She has won numerous awards and has a B.S. degree in journalism from Boston University.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.