Maxtor, headquartered in Milpitas, Calif., is a $3.8bn manufacturer of hard-disk drives for original equipment manufacturers such as Dell, Apple, IBM and others, as well as for all major computer and consumer electronics distributors and retailers. Maxtor has sales and service facilities located throughout the world, and a global workforce of approximately 13,500.
"We are in a highly competitive industry, where a few percentage points in margin can make a huge difference," says Michael T. Renella, Maxtor's director of quality engineering. "Our focus is on increasing efficiency and effectiveness. This includes developing strategies to improve our internal processes and operations. Our goal is to raise the bar for superior products and happy customers."
Renella says that business intelligence (BI) software from SAS has proven to be an invaluable information delivery solution because it validates organizational and supplier information, pinpoints potential issues more quickly, and updates Maxtor employees faster.
According to Renella, Maxtor turned to SAS to improve and streamline the way the company viewed organizational and supplier data. Maxtor wanted to take less time to gather information across functional teams, build personalized reports or perform analysis. The company also wanted to make sure that information was easily accessible to remote factory engineers and others who rely on current data to perform analysis and make important business decisions. Another objective was to develop a methodology for dealing with supplier information to ensure quality and reliability of information received.
"SAS gave us a solution that could help us meet our objectives and improve efficiencies across the organization," Renella says. The company rallied its main suppliers to collect the necessary data and used SAS to drill down and perform analysis. A clear methodology was established that makes it easy to assess the quality of each product and determine the exact causes of any quality audit failures before manufacturing is slowed or products go out the door.
The SAS solution helps Maxtor keep up with more than 300 components and measurements from more than 100 suppliers, and it ensures that the data is consistent and accurate on a worldwide level to the right people across corporate facilities and at suppliers' offices.
"Users absolutely love it, especially the web enablement," says Renella. "They can go back and find information immediately, without calling IT for help. It's all right at their fingertips. Better yet, since individual employees aren't building their own spreadsheets or hunting down numbers on their own, the organizational benefit has been great. With SAS we've reduced by at least 80 percent the amount of paper reporting in process and product quality, and the IT support effort it required to create those individual reports."
The real-time solution delivers answers that result in faster time to market, improved yields and better products. Maxtor can examine and address manufacturing quality and other issues earlier in the product development process.
"The information also lets us deepen our involvement with individual suppliers, forging long-term relationships, says Renella."
Maxtor's enterprise information system positively affects all aspects of product life, "from birth to grave," according to Renella, and is so detailed and easy to access that executives can get an accurate and complete picture of product life situations quickly. "An important decision needed to be made at a meeting with a dozen managers and vice presidents. With SAS, we had the relevant information, in a detailed report format, within an hour," Renella says.
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