When supply chain partners talk past each other, production comes to a standstill and customer service levels suffer. But when partners find effective, \u201calways-on\u201d ways to communicate, there\u2019s no limit to what they can achieve.\nSeveral U.S. manufacturers are using this fact to their advantage. By continually tightening their supply chain processes\u2014and by using manufacturing execution system (MES) tools such as supplier portals to form stronger connections\u2014they\u2019re becoming \u201cgo-to\u201d partners for their suppliers and customers alike.\nFloraCraft began 70 years ago as a small, family-owned organization. Today, the company is the world\u2019s largest fabricator and supplier of genuine STYROFOAM\u2122 brand foam products for the craft, floral, display, and special event industries. But rapid growth in FloraCraft\u2019s SKU count stretched the company\u2019s aging legacy systems to a point that threatened production.\n\nThis photo is from the video that Florcraft participated in with the Governor\/State of MI.\nBoth of these manufacturers moved key business processes to the cloud with Plex Systems. And all three are now managing their supply chains in ways that make partners ever more eager to work with them.\nEaglePicher Technologies (EPT) has always used a supplier consignment process on products for the U.S. government, a key customer of its aerospace and defense products. But EPT\u2019s manual processes hampered the efficiency of this approach. The company\u2019s leadership realized it was time to implement a well-structured, automated supplier consignment inventory management system.\n\n\u201cEvery week the retailer updates its warehouse order projections in terms of what it needs to buy,\u201d says Jim Scatena, FloraCraft\u2019s President and CEO. \u201cWe load this information into Plex and get a view of Walmart\u2019s forecast versus what we have on order. This gives us much better visibility of lead times.\u201d\nFloraCraft rolled out the Plex Manufacturing Cloud across all four of its sites\u2014and then won Walmart\u2019s Supplier of the Year award in 2014. The efficiency of doing business on Plex has led to a 60 percent increase in FloraCraft SKUs placed with Walmart\u2014and FloraCraft\u2019s fill rates at Walmart have risen to an incredible 99.7 percent.\n\u201cThe supplier consignment inventory project was critical in helping EPT establish even better relationships with its customer base,\u201d explained Dan Mullins, senior IT project manager, who served as EPT\u2019s lead on the implementation team. \u201cWe achieved greater customer satisfaction by housing within one source much of the information we need to address questions, reconcile inventory and provide timely feedback in customer and financial audits.\u201d\nEPT used Plex to launch a new automated consignment system. The new MES has helped simplify reporting, streamline internal processes, and eliminate the need for double data entry. And because the company only pays for inventory when it is consumed, its inventory valuation requirements went down by $350,000 within the first 18 months on the system.