Metal fabricators are constantly trying to find ways to drive costs out of production in order to maximize profit margins. This goal, however, is made more difficult in today’s environment of fluctuating raw material costs, variable metal prices, rising energy and transportation costs, and reduced consumer discretionary spending. Growing competition from emerging countries, condensed product lifecycles, an increase in the number of product configurations, and complicated supply chains all add further levels of complexity. The purpose of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is to have computers work out the
complications and then to optimize your business results.
H & H Tube provides an example. The company has been industry leader in tubular redraw and fabrication for over 80 years. It engineers products for industrial manufacturing and distribution to a wide range of industries. From standard straight lengths, to refrigeration coils, to tight-tolerance cutting, to hydroforming, H & H can manufacture virtually any custom tubular part. The company focuses on the needs of its customers, providing quality products, on-time delivery, competitive pricing, and unparalleled customer service – a philosophy that is paramount to the company’s success.
A continually growing business and increased operational needs prompted H & H in 1999 to install SyteLine ERP, in part for its robust asset management capabilities. SyteLine ERP has a fixed asset module and plant maintenance module built in, to maintain the assets of manufacturers today, from Serialized Asset Tracking to Repairable Spare Management, and many other features.
Digesting data and turning it into actionable business information is what ERP is all about
Digesting data and turning it into actionable business information is what ERP is all about.
This ERP system has been around for more than 25 years, so there are processes, capabilities and functions that have been perfected, having been used by thousands of manufacturers. Since Infor acquired SyteLine ERP in 2005, Infor has made major investments over multiple releases, and SyteLine was completely rewritten top to bottom into .NET technology. Each upgrade and improvement has been developed with user input and packaged to allow current users to easily migrate to the latest version.
H&H has enough ERP experience to appreciate the details in different systems. For H & H, understanding the changing price of metal is critical because it determines how much a customer is quoted and charged for a manufactured part.
Sandy Gorcyca, IT Manager of H & H Tube, is well experienced with the system: “H & H relies on SyteLine for reporting and making decisions, order entry, jobs, vendor purchasing, and more,” she says. “Our satisfaction with the system has delayed our move to the latest version, but new features and our need for updated hardware motivated us to upgrade.”
The latest SyteLine 9 release features too many upgrades to list, but here are a few that Sandy is talking about:
– Improved financials for global companies
– Single instance multi-site databases
– Enhanced the advanced planning system (APS)
– Fluctuating commodity prices and surcharges support
– Promotional pricing and rebates support
– Forms to define and track your company’s compliance with hazardous materials programs such as REACH and ROHS
– Multiple dimensions and attributes to analyze the Chart of Accounts and posted ledger transactions
– Enhanced support for Cloud deployments and development
– Revolutionary new 10x SoHo user interface “”consumer grade experience””
H & H has used SyteLine successfully to manage operations for over a decade and looks forward to the benefits of an upgrade. “This upgrade has been a long time coming,” said Gorcyca. “We have been very pleased with SyteLine over the years, and the new functionality – especially the enhanced data extraction features in the latest version — will truly make a difference to our operations and our customers,” she continued. “Godlan is working very closely with us to ensure our success.”
What these statements mean to H&H – what Sandy means by “enhanced data extraction features,” for example – are details that add up to make the system perform. H&H’s needs are not exactly the same as yours. But a mature ERP system can handle a vast variety of data for different customers. Sandy has specifics in mind when she uses those terms. For your application, there will be different specifics. The measure of a system’s effectiveness is how readily it adapts to different companies and different circumstances.
But different users have some common needs from their ERP systems. At a certain point, the data contained in an ERP system may need to be brought out of the system and used for other purposes. ERP data is extracted, manipulated, analyzed, and presented using business productivity software like Microsoft Office programs. The ease and speed with which ERP data can be moved to and from a business productivity system directly affects the competitiveness of the manufacturing organization, and the overall business value of the ERP system. SyteLine ERP allows users to easily extract data outputs to e-mail, Excel, PDF, other file formats and printer report options.
It all requires training and cooperation from the software vendor. “Upgrading a software system can be intimidating,” says Sandy, “but Godlan has far exceeded our expectations in helping us with the implementation and ensuring a trouble-free transition. They are willing to share, teach, and train .”
For H&H Tube, consulting and training began in a formal, on-site format specific to their business requirements. As the team began to expand and use new features and functionality, Godlan provided training and consulting to help them streamline and automate processes. Only project leads within the company were trained as Godlan used the train-the-trainer approach with H&H. The project leads were familiar with the previous version of the software and were able to train others as needed.
If you’re considering an ERP upgrade, or if you’re getting involved with it for the first time, that’s where you start.