Closed Loop manufacturing describes the use of feedback from a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) to the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to help in business operations. Although conceptually simple, many obstacles make CNC-ERP connectivity difficult — incompatibilities of various generations of systems supplied by multiple vendors, differing personnel mindsets and objectives, and outright complexity of ERP. A long journey starts with a single step, and this paper describes a successful pilot project that detected scrap on a CNC during production of the Boeing 737 Leading Edge panels and then automatically entered a scrap reorder into the ERP Supply Chain Management (SCM) Reorder System. The pilot leveraged three major technologies, including open-architecture CNC, OLE for Process Control (OPC) integration technology, and supply chain Web Services. Overall, the pilot project successfully established that integration of CNC into SCM can be straightforward as we automated 90% of one manual step within the scrap Supply Chain Reorder process to impart a leaner manufacturing operation.

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