Alcoa employs e-business processes and solutions on many levels throughout the organization, including EDI, an Oracle-based EBS system, an online portal for employees and e-integrated sales channels.
One system of note is AlcoaDirect, a secure Web portal that allows customers to access pertinent information with Alcoa's business information system.
Before AlcoaDirect, customers' interaction with their order was completely manual for the customer and for Alcoa. If the customer wanted to know order status, he or she had to pick up the phone. If a customer wanted to reorder a past order, but did not know the content of that order, he or she had to find an old invoice or contact Alcoa via the phone to determine the order history.
By using AlcoaDirect, customers are able to find information on an as-needed basis without having to reach a live Alcoa salesperson to service their account. And the service frees up Alcoa's sales staff to focus on generating new business.
AlcoaDirect has also opened a new revenue stream for the company by allowing customers to request quotes for new business and place orders directly in the system.
The solution was developed in-house by Alcoa as part of a joint project between the company's corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh and its Cleveland Wheel and Forged Products operations.
To track the flow of customer parts in its facility, MetoKote Corp., a custom coatings manufacturer, developed the MITS System (MetoKote Inventory Tracking System).
MITS is an electronic bar code system that allows staff to track the location of a part in any process it is undergoing at its Sheffield Village facility or at its corporate headquarters in Lima. The system was designed in-house, and also serves as an invoicing platform, and an annual quantity database of part volumes, reject rates and surface area.
MITS has helped the company increase overall shipping and receiving efficiency, and allowed for an expedited response to customers' questions pertaining to inventory status and turnaround times.
In addition to developing solutions for its customers, MetoKote has developed unique communication methods to control the logistical movements of its components internationally. Because many components received at the company's Sheffield Village facility arrive from international shipping points and often are shipped to another international location after coatings are applied, MetoKote's IT staff set up Web sites to facilitate communications between the manufacturer and assembler.
This has resulted in a more efficient system for moving parts through the company's coating process and resolving problems.
MetoKote also introduced MetoKote University online, letting employees take classes in their plant without traveling to a physical classroom. Subjects include leadership and teamwork, business development, quality management, effective communications and presentation skills.
RPM International Inc.
One of Medina-based RPM International's subsidiaries, Tremco's Sealant/Weatherproofing Division, has developed and incorporated several e-learning tools into its business development strategies.
By repurposing the content of marketing and training seminars into personalized, engaging online content, the Beachwood operation has changed the playing field for product specification.
Through Tremco's Web site (www.tremcosealants.com), visitors can access a series of interactive presentations designed specifically for architects and other industry participants interested in earning continuing education credits as defined by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) continuing education program. Coursework is specific to the commercial glazing market (the design, fabrication and installation of commercial windows and walls). Each of the three segments is accompanied by a multiple choice test that must be completed to earn AIA credits. Future coursework is currently under development.
Response has been strong. It's accessed daily by numerous industry insiders, including window manufacturers, curtain wall fabricators and sealant and accessory product distributors. Tremco's competitors have also used it as a requisite glazing industry training program for new hires and as a refresher course for others.
The online series was written in Macromedia Flash, software available on more than 97 percent of desktops worldwide. The project's chief designer, Peter Poirer, manager of Tremco's design engineering group, says he chose Flash because it "allowed us to integrate rich graphics and text into a visually compelling interactive e-learning experience."
It also enables Tremco to deliver individual incentives, such as personalized diplomas certifying course completion.