LAASLAKE – Sheet metal corporation and hybrid cloud benefits (imaginary case)
Imagine a metal shop that has advanced MES (execution) and order management systems in place, perhaps at the factory shop floor level as well as in some 3rd party service provider.
Success spinoff: Metal Advanced Sheet Cuts Inc (LAASLAKE)
LAASLAKE provides timely, high-precision, high-throughput volumes of
laser cut metal sheets. Its customers are mainly in aerospace and
automotive industries. LAASLAKE gets orders through a extranet. LAASLAKE
also has a public-facing web site, through which there’s marketing
and getting new leads (customers). LAASLAKE has established itself as
a go-to solutions provider in its own business segment.
LAASLAKE started off as a spinoff from a bulk metal sheet company. This left almost an unnoticeable legacy to LAASLAKE: orders were technically quite simple. All customers needed to specify, was grade of the material, number of items, delivery date and address for the shipment.
The legacy order philosophy no longer served LAASLAKE when it went to more advanced markets. Their products consisted of a thousand times more details, such as material tolerances, custom one-time unique sheet metal cut data (G-code), and so on. Instead of batches of bulk products, LAASLAKE’s clients appreciated their capability to deliver quickly very demanding cut sheet metal products.
The legacy was overcome by LAASLAKE buying a IT project that provided tailored MES and ERP capabilities. The cost was 7% of the company’s then turnover, but it was well worth it! Growth was significant, and LAASLAKE could evade direct competition by providing service that was top-of-the-notch in its game field.
MES kept the actual cutting operations optimized, while ERP and web provided a great way to expand clientele, without spending too much effort on backoffice operations such as order management. LAASLAKE could put the extra savings into things that mattered:
- hiring skilled operators at production site
- hiring in sales and marketing to expand the business
Through the years LAASLAKE’s customers started having more details in the orders. As the orders from clients to LAASLAKE are fully digital, the amount of data and queries between clients and the LAASLAKE extranet started to grow. Things became more than a bit sluggish. Customers filed reports of problems with timeouts and generally LAASLAKE CEO and CTO were very worried that this sort of “minor annoyance” could actually one day become a major bottleneck, if it really turned out that otherwise quality service was hindered by slow IT.
Something clearly had to be done.
But the problem was that existing IT consultancies said there wasn’t much to be done. In fact, the bottleneck was not yet clearly pinned to anything specific.
There were also possibly some technical resource ceilings that the service providers said could not be tuned; it seemed that LAASLAKE was facing quite a complex and tough problem. A seemingly fluid and well-orchestrated solution had become a muddle of possible showstoppers.
Execs: futile costs ahead?
LAASLAKE executives knew that this kind of situation could end up them spending considerable and precious time and cost in futile investments.
Enter hybrid cloud.
Stay tuned. Need coffee. And a bit of time. 🙂