Since it was first implemented in the 1990s, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software has made substantial inroads in the manufacturing industry and has since come a long way. An ERP system connects basically every aspect of a business – from accounting and sales to production and purchasing, manufacturers see incredible value when the right ERP system is implemented.
Not all ERP solutions are created equal, however. Two companies, Monti Inc. and Metallic Products Corp., realized this after the ERP software they were using was underperforming. After some research, both companies decided on Global Shop Solutions’ ERP software and have never looked back.
Global Shop Solutions, a family-owned and family-run business established 45 years ago, has a worldwide presence today. Recognizing that the manufacturing industry is complex, they designed their ERP software to help companies successfully complete every order through relying on accurate information for more detailed scheduling of material. The software also helps companies track labor costs, inventory, order scheduling and much more.
The electrical industry has counted on Monti Inc. for four decades, relying on the custom components and assemblies that other manufacturers find too difficult to handle. Headquartered in a 245,000-sq.-ft. facility in Cincinnati, the company specializes in copper, insulation and sheet metal fabrication. The company also has decades of experience in die design and build, stamping and CNC machining.
Andy Ceddia, senior account manager at Monti, says the company has increasingly taken on more complex jobs over the years, ones involving multi-level bills of materials. With the complexity of daily tasks increasing steadily, it was clear that the company’s ERP system needed an upgrade, if not complete replacement.
“It became more than one person could handle with paper and pencil,” Ceddia says. “We looked at five different ERP systems and chose Global Shop Solutions’ ERP software for its out-of-the-box capabilities and flexibility to adapt to our shop floor environment.”
It’s difficult to build loyalty among customers and earn their repeat business if deadlines aren’t met. Even when
custom work is the norm, customers have little tolerance for delays. An advanced planning and schedule (APS) module in Global Shop Solutions’ ERP software is designed to keep everything running smoothly and on time, and Monti uses the module to schedule jobs from the shop floor.
Ceddia says the team “schedules everything” through the APS feature and that many of the company’s departments have multiple machines with the same capabilities, “so we group them together as one work center. That way we can leave the scheduling of each work center to the supervisors. APS tells us which jobs we need to run each day, and the supervisor determines which machines are available for them to run on.
“It also helps us meet customer due dates by allowing us to assign different priorities to each job,” he adds. “For example, if we run the APS report and it shows a priority job, we know it needs to get into production right now. We use APS to schedule what goes into the machines next, but the priorities tell us when to move jobs around or put them in sooner than previously scheduled.”
Managing orders can be a complex situation, given that Monti is maintaining more than $1 million worth of finished goods for customers. The bulk of the inventory comes from customers who order large quantities at one time, then pull from it throughout the year. Monti utilizes the ERP software’s blanket order feature to make it easier to track and manage the inventory. This feature gives account managers more visibility into how much of the inventory has shipped and what remains.
Monti also utilizes an auto purchasing feature in the ERP software that has significantly eased the purchasing and inventory control process, which means when a worker needs raw materials, it will be there for them. The software also includes a start date feature, so there can be no mistaking when a job is supposed to be started and completed for a customer.
“In the past, it wasn’t uncommon to start a job the day before it was due,” Ceddia says. “Now, the system will tell us to start a job two weeks before the due date, rather than one or two days. This keeps us more accountable to our due dates and has reduced late shipments.”
Metallic Products Corp., founded in 1962, designs and manufactures accessories for industrial and commercial metal buildings. With products ranging from ridge vents to roof
curbs, building trim to skylights and wall louvers, the Houston-based job shop has a diverse range of products. With lead times as little as three to five days, the ERP system the company had wasn’t assisting in terms of meeting production goals, recalls Travis Wendt, operations manager.
“Our old ERP system wasn’t very good,” Wendt says. “The data was often corrupt. It had almost no inventory management capabilities. Payroll and other financials required a separate system. And service and support from the vendor was minimal.”
The old ERP system would also overstate inventory on hand, which required managers to perform manual inventory adjustments on a monthly basis. And then there were the time-consuming semi-annual physical inventory counts. This led Wendt and his team to seek out a better-performing ERP system, and they landed on Global Shop Solutions’ ERP software.
“Global Shop Solutions’ ERP system was very user friendly, had all the features and capabilities we were looking for in one integrated system, and was surprisingly affordable,” Wendt says. “It was an easy decision for us.”
Wendt says they can now do real-time inventory management and trust the numbers. What took four people two days to count inventory now only takes three hours using the new ERP software.
While meeting deadlines and tracking inventory is important, another big expenditure in any job shop is labor. A high-functioning ERP system will consider this, as did Global Shop Solutions with its labor tracking tools. Metallic Products uses the ERP software’s Shop Floor Data Collection function to revolutionize how it tracks job and labor costs. Wendt says before implementing the ERP software and using the labor tracking tools, the company didn’t clock individual time to work orders.
“Now, shop floor personnel simply scan their badges to the work order to log on and off jobs,” Wendt says, “allowing for precise measurement of our direct labor. Global Shop Solutions’ ERP software provides instant feedback from the shop floor, allowing us to better manage our employees’ time.”
A positive side effect of using the data collection function is that Metallic Products has eliminated around 75 percent of paper documents on the shop floor.
As manufacturers continue to cater to customer needs and as the complexities of daily tasks continue to ramp up, robust ERP solutions will help ease workflow issues and provide the platform for more efficiencies in manufacturing. Sam Gray, vice president of manufacturing at Metallic Products, says the full value of the ERP software that was implemented extends beyond the product’s technical features and capabilities.
“As a business, our most valuable asset is our reputation,” Gray says, “which is derived from honesty, integrity and our customers knowing that we won’t stop until we get it right. We feel the same way about Global Shop Solutions – they don’t stop until they get it right.”