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Tenneco Integrates SAP and Production Center with Electronic Work Instructions from Sequence

Integrating a manufacturing facility’s manufacturing execution system (MES) with ERP software has been a common processing plant practice for years. Today, however, one company is reaping rewards after integrating the two platforms with paperless work instruction software in a discrete application. 

Tenneco, Inc. introduced the integrated platforms at its Seward, Neb., plant to help a global construction and mining equipment manufacturer reduce its engine emissions and cut component costs.

A leading international designer, manufacturer and distributor of clean air and ride performance products and systems, Tenneco provided feedback on the design of the clean-emission module used in a variety of the manufacturer’s heavy equipment.  The company’s products are found in worldwide automotive, commercial truck and off-highway markets and aftermarket.

Every step of the discrete assembly process at the Seward plant is held up to scrutiny through a digital documentation process using Sequence software. The software is tightly integrated with the plant’s SAP and Rockwell Automation’s Production Centre SCADA platforms.    

“The work instructions include all steps conducted during the build of these computer controlled exhaust systems,” says Sequence Software President Barry Lucas.  “At the time a step is loaded, Production Centre calls for an instruction from Sequence based on the part, routing, operation, step and revision level.” 

Aerospace Manufacturer Fills Skills Gap With Paperless Work Instructions


Aerospace Filter Manufacturer Fills Skills Gap With Sequence Paperless Work Instructions

Baby boomers are taking decades of skill and knowledge with them as they leave their plants for retirement.  On top of that, U.S. manufacturers are concerned that Millennials do not have the digital knowledge they need to perform plant floor operations.  The result is the widely publicized skills gap that U.S. companies must address to keep up with global competition.

One CA based aerospace manufacturer is addressing the skills gap head on by introducing paperless work instructions on the shop floor. The work-order-specific instructions provide complete traceability for the entire build process, capturing tribal-knowledge for existing and future employees.

Taking it a step further, the manufacturer of liquid and air filters used in fighter jets, submarines and almost any vehicle used in aerospace and defense applications, recently employed one college intern and two recent graduates to transition from a tribal knowledge and printed instruction system, greatly improving their understanding of how a plant floor works.

Sequence Helps Steel Tool & Engineering Comply with NADCAP Audits


Electronic Work Instructions Help Steel Tool & Engineering Comply with NADCAP Audits

Steel Tool & Engineering, Trenton, Mich., manufactures jet engine parts for the U.S. government and international aviation companies.  Founded more than 60 years ago, the company and its 130 employees have built a solid reputation for delivering world class quality, on time, at competitive prices.

In 2011, Steel Tool & Engineering integrated Sequence Work Instruction software into its own paperless routing system. Now fully integrated with 4th Shift, the plant’s material requirements planning (MRP) system that tracks more than 400 part numbers, Sequence simplifies complex manual assemblies and gives Steel Tool & Engineering an easy way to author, review, approve, deploy and validate the work instructions required to build its products.



Electronic Work Instructions Boost Quality, Productivity and Bottom Line

Manufacturing organizations routinely make justifications for new equipment.  A new piece of equipment might eliminate the need for a second shift, making it very easy to evaluate the financial impact on the company, for example. 

But, how does one determine the ROI for manufacturing software?

Manufacturing engineers often say they have two primary functions: to keep production moving on the floor, and to write and maintain work instructions. They are frustrated that production requires the first 90% of their time and work instructions require the other 90%, posing a mathematical dilemma to meet their primary job functions.Optimizing these important tasks ultimately saves time, but is that sufficient to justify the cost of a new software system?

Companies driven by purpose constantly seek ways to achieve their greatest potential.  It is the recognition and realization of the potential of this saved time that ultimately determines the ROI from an electronic work instruction software system. This is the single unifying element that ties our Sequence customers together. Teaching how to make a product right each time is a basic, intrinsic need, but it cannot be the ultimate, higher goal.

This white paper consolidates and catalogs the extended ROI’s that have been derived from deploying electronic work instruction packages, such as Sequence. As the path to achieving a higher performance is not the always the same within a given industry, we have generalized specific companies and industries to decouple the ROI from any single industry. Each of the following sections presents a principle behind a specific ROI with a simple summary of how a customer achieved that ROI.


Brindille Lamp Small

From humble beginnings in 1974 operating out of a 19th century barn, Hubbardton Forge is now the oldest and largest commercial forge in the United States, generating more than $20 million in annual sales.


Located in Castleton, Vermont, the company produces thousands of high-end, hand-forged lighting products – “Art that Lights up” – marketed through residential lighting and home furnishings retailers as well as contract distributors.


In the beginning, the instructions to forge and fabricate the lighting products were filed away in the heads of founders George Chandler and Reed Hampton. Not too difficult to keep track of a limited number of products, says Jan Pressler, Hubbardton Forge’s international development specialist and lean process engineer. The startup offered only a few products marketed at fairs and craft shows.


Very little was formally documented,” Pressler says. “As business grew and employees were hired, the founders had to convey what they knew to others, oftentimes as sketches on pieces of paper with Polaroid photos.”


And grow they did. In 2009, the product line included more than 1,000 base items. The number of printed work instructions increased to fill more than17,000 document files in 12 large filing cabinets (46 drawers of paper documents).       Today, 200 artisans are employed at the company known for its innovative hand forged design and manufacturing techniques that ensure its products will last for generations.


“Design leadership in the industry is an important part of Hubbardton Forge’s strategic planning and every year we introduce an average of 80,” Pressler says. “In addition, for a number of years there was not a formal plan for discontinuing products. That annual production increase grew the volume of paper work instruction documents, and we started writing them in early versions of Microsoft Word in the 80s.”


Paper Problems


She says finding the proper work instruction in the file drawers was often difficult. Sometimes the instructions were already being used. Sometimes they were misfiled.  In other instances, the instructions slipped between hanging files to disappear entirely.


When it was all said and done, employees spent up to 30 hours per day locating, pulling and filing the paper process documents.  That equated to more than three full time employees per day.


“It was a tremendous cost to our company,” Pressler says. Not just in time but we would go through 10 reams of paper a week in assembly alone reprinting lost work instructions.”


missilesSechan Electronics, Lititz, Penn., develops, manufactures and tests military electronics systems and subsystems for the Department of Defense and its prime contractors.

A top electronics contract manufacturing services company, Sechan is one of the most respected small businesses for contract manufacturing in the U.S.  The company built its reputation with cutting-edge electronics systems supported by circuit card assemblies, wiring harnesses and end item integration. 

The Struggle with Paper Work Instructions

Over the years, from a production standpoint, Sechan has relied on detailed paper work instructions to deliver competitively priced, highly reliable, defense electronic and electro-mechanical equipment.

Until about four years ago, the company’s data base allowed engineers to cut, paste and drag information and images into a Word or other work document.  However, in Sechan’s high mix, low volume product mix, it would not be uncommon to have 500 changes over the life of the program -- hundreds per day in 30 to 50 active programs -- that would drive changes to five to seven paper work instructions on the floor. 

“We would grab these documents, manually redline them, accumulate the changes, withdraw them from the floor and replace the changed pages with the updated information,” Sechan Vice President of Operations Steven L. Kaylor says.  “There was one individual who spent all of his time running around notifying people that certain work instructions were on a recall list.  Then he would locate all the copies and check off on a master list that every copy had been updated or redlined.  It was a never ending constant struggle to make sure it was getting done properly.”

Paperless Work Instructions Pay Off

Kaylor was convinced there had to be a better way to get changes to floor. He reviewed a number of alternatives. Some companies offered document management systems, but he would still have to generate separate documents. He then heard of Sequence software, from Knoxville, Tenn.-based FFD, Inc., that would eliminate the need for paper work instructions and streamline his redline dilemma.


droneConsider what the world would be like without dependable Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).   Air and sea transportation would come to a halt. Militaries would be blinded. The list of consequences goes on.


Fortunately, this scenario is unlikely. Nonetheless, reliable components and subsystems are essential for GNSS to operate for the productivity, safety and security of their users. 


NovAtel Inc. is the world’s leading original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supplier of precision GNSS products, including receivers, antennas, enclosures and firmware. These products are recognized for their high quality as well as low power consumption and comprehensive message suites for configuration and data logging.


The company’s components and subsystems are found worldwide in precision agriculture machine guidance, surveying, Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping, port automation, mining, marine and defense applications – as well as in U.S., Japanese, European, Chinese and Indian aviation ground networks.


Driving NovAtel’s worldwide success is a commitment to customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. This dedication to quality is brought to light at the company’s Calgary, Canada, assembly facility where engineers and assemblers rely on precise work instructions for high quality, standardized products.


Bruno Chariot-2Wheelchairs, scooters and power chairs help people with limited mobility lead independent lives. Equally important are the mechanisms that move or transport these devices in the home or in vehicles. Mechanical breakdowns or structural failures can have serious consequences and greatly limit the freedom of these individuals.

Bruno Independent Living Aids is a leading global manufacturer of personal mobility device transportation equipment. Since 1984, the company has become the industry standard for unwavering quality workmanship. Headquartered in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, Bruno is known worldwide for its vehicle vertical lifts, turning automotive seats and residential rail stair and vertical platform lifts.

As Steve Ruder, Bruno process improvement specialist says, “We are not the cheapest, but our products are the best out of the box. We build it right the first time, every time.” 


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