Experience Showcases Growth Potential at EACT
“We are 100% changing the way we’re doing things at EACT.”
In the beginning of 2018, Eastek Automated Circuit Technologies (“EACT”) in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin recorded monthly sales of $400,000 to $500,000 per month. At that time, improvements in efficiency were made through acquired tribal knowledge.
In April, EACT hired Kevin Grob as the company’s new Site Leader. Grob brought with him previous experience of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, which allow businesses like Eastek to effectively integrate the management of several core business processes through software that creates opportunities for the automation of many back-office functions.
Both Grob and IT Help Desk Specialist Allison Hett knew how well an ERP system could streamline processes and improve database visibility for project management and manufacturing, so they pushed for a change.
The idea came together fully over time from a number of EACT engineers, managers, and supervisors. In May, Hett and Grob helped make significant updates to EACT’s Global Shop ERP system. The upgrades allowed us to start generating reports that had not been generated before. These improved business insights provided enhanced collaboration and increased efficiency, as well as cost savings for Eastek and our customers.
With the foundational ERP upgrades and several months of hard work, Eastek’s Wisconsin manufacturing facility recorded over $735,000 in total shipments for August.
For our customers though, these changes have resulted in less work, lower overhead, and more streamlined business operations. It’s one of many ways Eastek is helping manufacturers operate more effectively and efficiently.
“All of us were able to white board ideas and [Allison] was able to help us get the information we needed to get where we are now,” Grob said.
The changes, and the systemic transition, were both met with complete support from Eastek’s leadership.
“We’ve been completely supported from the top down,” Grob said. “Joe (Rocco), Kris (Funk), and Daljit (Sabrawal) pushed it over the edge because this is our future. It’s what we needed to happen.”
“With improved efficiency and new reports, we’ve seen an increase in throughput,” Grob said. “Before we relied a lot on tribal knowledge and word of mouth. Now, we’re trusting our system to run itself.”
EACT has also recently taken on engineering prototype work, which may shed light on the site’s future.
“What we build and prototype today is what’s going to be running out in the world in another year or so,” Grob said.
Shortening the Supply Chain
Manufacturers often manage their own supply chain out of necessity. Eventually, many of them who work with contract manufacturers realize it’s inefficient and also more expensive.
One Eastek customer made the transition from supplying all of its necessary materials to now allowing Eastek to buy all the materials ourselves.
“We’ve handled that transition really well,” Grob said. “There was quite a bit of effort that went into it and now we’re finally reaping the benefits. We’re handling the material planning ourselves rather than going through the customer.
“It’s less work for the customer to do and a more profitable way for us to do business,” Grob added. “By handling their supply chain, we’re reducing overhead for customers.”
Eastek’s ACT Wisconsin site employs more than 50 staff members, but it’s difficult to pin its recent success on any one person. In its record-setting month of August, the site was missing several key individuals due to vacations and health issues at any given time. However, the experience revealed an ability to come together and truly work as a team.
“We’ve been able to change the way we buy materials and the way we track work orders on the floor,” Grob said. “[Hett] has taken it upon herself to generate the necessary information based on what we’re looking for.
“I think we’re going to see continued growth for quite some time as we move to more and more automated systems,” Grob added. “We’ll be able to provide more value to our customers and provide more transparency and visibility into how we operate.
“What we’re making is foundational changes in our software and ERP systems so all our customers are going to reap the benefits from it too,” Grob added. “When customers need to make changes, we’re extremely flexible and can accommodate those changes very quickly.”
To learn more about Eastek’s Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin ACT facility, visit https://www.eastekinternational.com/portfolios/eastek-automated-circuit-technologies/