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Brian Veney
"We have also been able to maintain a relatively small administrative staff due to the efficiencies of the system."   -Brian Veney, PRO-TEC's Manager of Business Planning and Business Systems

THE PRO-TEC STORY

PRO-TEC Coating Company, located in Leipsic, Ohio, provides galvanneal and galvanized coated steel to the automotive, appliance, and construction industries. PRO-TEC was established in 1990 as a joint venture between United States Steel LLC (U. S. Steel) and Kobe Steel of Japan. When PRO-TEC began operations in 1993, the hot-dipped Continuous Galvanizing / Galvannealing Line (CGL) was designed to produce 600,000 tons of coated material per year. Because of the demand of the product, in late 1998 a second line began operations. This line added another 400,000 tons per year of capacity, establishing the Leipsic facility as the largest hot-dip galvanizing / galvannealing plant in the world. "PRO-TEC has been able to exceed its capacity due to its efficiency and the efficiencies of the systems that support the plant," says Saul Better, former UEC PRO-TEC project manager.

History
U.S. Steel systems group was contracted in 1990 to develop the business system (Level 3) for PRO-TEC Coating Company. Because of the legal issues with selling the licenses for computer systems, the contract got transferred to UEC, which gave UEC the opportunity to become a true developer and integrator of metals systems on various platforms for companies outside the U.S. Steel umbrella. UEC worked closely with Davy International to provide the interface between the plant systems and the business systems.

The System
The Level 3 Business System that was built for PRO-TEC consists of Administrative Support, Commercial, Warehouse & Shipping, Metallurgy, Production Planning, and Operations modules. This system is a mainframe application that uses COBOL, CICS, and DB2. The system is comprised of over 1200 programs, more than 500 on-line screens, and in excess of 200 batch jobs. In addition to these, the system is interfaced with numerous other applications within U.S. Steel, including Account Payable, Accounts Receivable, Order Entry, i2 Supply Chain Planning, Traffic, COMPORD, and Electronic Commerce.

The Results
PRO-TEC was in a great position right from the business system startup. In fact, PRO-TEC saw a return on investment much sooner than it had expected, in part due to the smooth startup of the plant and the support systems that were in place from the very beginning. Originally, the system was scheduled for startup in 1993 but it was pushed up to October of 1992. UEC was able to provide PRO-TEC with the majority of its system months early. There were some interfaces and accounting modules yet to be developed, but for the most part the system was in place early. "We have also been able to maintain a relatively small administrative staff due to the efficiencies of the system," according to Brian Veney, PRO-TEC's Manager of Business Planning and Business Systems. This remained the case even after the second coating line was established at PRO-TEC.

Additions To The System
UEC IT developed and implemented the following enhancements to the system:

  • provided PRO-TEC with the communication link between the plant systems and the business systems.
  • provided the electronic flow of data (EDI) between the plants that supply the substrate, their outside processors who perform other operations on the coated coils, and their customers.
  • designed handoffs to the UCES (Uniform Costing Estimating System) system, which allows for PRO-TEC to perform a cost analysis of their products.
  • provided for the expansion of PRO-TEC's business with the startup of a second coating line.
  • developed a relationship with Great Plains Software to provide PRO-TEC with its General Ledger capabilities.
  • established an interface with OPEX (U.S. Steel's Oracle-based Order Entry System) that allows for all orders to be inputted into the OPEX system and to flow into PRO-TEC's system. This interface paved the way for a Supply Chain Management function to be added to allow orders to be placed in the system automatically.
  • allowed for the Outside Processors to view their orders on the Internet.
  • allowed for Customers to view their material, as well as their test results, on the Internet.
  • made revisions to the system to include the ability to do Toll Coating, meaning that PRO-TEC could use substrate coils from plants other than USS Gary Works and USS Mon Valley Works, thus expanding its business potential.
  • designed and implemented a Level 2 Client Server System utilizing a Microsoft SQL Server Database to allow for more timely and accurate reporting of production data. As each coil is produced, production records are transferred from the Level 2 systems to this new application where the data is loaded into the database. The data is then available almost immediately for reporting using both Impromptu and user-friendly Visual Basic applications.