The MTrak system has already paid for itself, says Vettor, a senior business technologist at Raytheon
Raytheon's suppliers weren't to blame; most of them have fully automated supply chains and can confirm deliveries. Rather, the sheer size of Raytheon--with plants in New England, Texas, and California, and 78,000 employees worldwide-- simply made it difficult to locate incoming deliveries and track them through the production cycle. Information on materials and where they existed was recorded in mainframe systems, but not all employees from the variously involved business units could access those systems.
"We've had people running through buildings, looking through boxes," Vettor says. In some cases, if an item couldn't be found, Raytheon employees would reorder the item so they could meet production schedules.
So Raytheon built MTrak, a Web-based system that includes Microsoft .Net technologies such as the C# language and the BizTalk 2004 XML server. MTrak captures bar-code scans and other information on incoming deliveries, then combines that information with data extracted from mainframe systems, such as purchase-order, inventory, or manufacture-scheduling data. This lets authorized employees track the status and movements of parts, wherever they go in the company, from a Web browser.
MTrak can present information from multiple sources because it includes an integration server called Verastream from WRQ Inc., which ties the .Net applications to mainframe resources. Information needed on one particular part might be spread across 70 mainframe screens that are part of a dozen mainframe systems.
The savings realized from MTrak have already paid for the cost of the system, Vettor says. He didn't disclose the total costs for MTrak's development; the Verastream server starts at $65,000.