DRT Power Systems holds successful Visual ERP Seminar!

On April 24, 2014 in Agawam, MA, DRT Power Systems held its first VISUAL ERP Seminar, entitled “Showcasing Achievements,  Leveraging the VISUAL ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, and Synergy Resources’ expertise.”

Brett Vecchiarelli. (above) director for DRT Power Systems leads the seminar discussions and tour of the DRT shop floor as he demonstrates the results of the VISUAL ERP software tools coupled with the Synergy Resources’ Strategic Business Services.

DRT teamed up to hold this seminar with Synergy Resources, (a professional business improvement services firm) which has helped DRT with employee procedures and training for the world class VISUAL ERP software.

DRT demonstrated the uses, benefits, and successful results during the last 12 years of operations. Attended by 12 people from 7 companies from a wide variety of industries, the seminar presented an educational and enlightening approach toward streamlining business processes with the capabilities of the VISUAL ERP software tools, strategic best process consulting and hard work.

“Streamlining means updating and getting the latest tools and technically getting our (company) needs met, to revise and improve the basic operations and every employee’s responsibilities of the company. This allowed us to grow without increasing the amount of support staff,” said Brett Vecchiarelli, “Holding our costs allows us to be more competitive and win in the marketplace.”

Brett said that DRT has a very complex business, involved with both Aerospace and Defense industries, the VISUAL ERP system is “flexible off-the-shelf so it allows us to run our business in multiple ways to handle the work more efficiently for each industries unique requirements.” DRT is an AS9100 certified and registered firm, with proven track record of performance excellence.

Mr. Vecchiarelli added that DRT’s specific needs for the VISUAL ERP system were to manage and improve the operational business needs of the company by utilizing VISUAL for quoting, material, scheduling, financials, quality, and managing its customers ever changing forecasts.

“It’s a truly integrated system from the sales quote to production and quality performance results. We’ve been aligning our processes and tools so that everyone is integrated and using the same system at the same time, allowing for more efficient, consistent productivity and results,” said Mr. Vecchiarelli.  The data once entered during the sales process, can be leveraged throughout the operations, with no re-typing of any data.

DRT looks at its order load frequently leveraging the ERP’s patented software tools capabilities to run several “what if” analysis’s to stay on top of the best profitability and insuring its staffing are always the most productive.

Attendees took advantage of the event, asking Brett to use the system to demonstrate the ease of use and deep functional capabilities of the system, while also answering a wide array of questions.

Over the years since VISUAL was implemented, DRT steadily increased output, with virtually no added administration costs, remaining fiercely competitive, in a very competitive marketplace.

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www.DRTUSA.com

DRT Power Systems provides highly engineered integrated solutions customized to solve difficult challenges for our customers.  DRT Power Systems – OA   manufactures precision machined components and assemblies for a wide variety of aerospace applications. The company occupies a 37,000 square foot facility, located in Agawam, Massachusetts, that houses 21 pieces of CNC Machinery for four & five axis milling and turning, plus additional conventional machines for milling, turning, grinding, and flat lapping. OA is committed to providing defect free products and services to our customer base. Our goal is to exceed customer expectations through a process of continuous quality improvement.

SmartViews Update v3.2.9.0

A new version of SmartViews has been released. Below is an overview highlighting the changes.

Here is the summary list of the changes:

Feature 363 : Within Pivot’s you can now get a Distinct Count (within Totals area, i.e. Count, Sum menu)

fig.1

 

Feature 364 : Report area – users can now share report layout with others without having to export\import

 

fig.2          fig.3

Defect 257 : Fixed typo in error message

Defect 301 : Corrected issue with new license key not being saved to other machines when sync was performed

Defect 304 : Corrected issue when selecting Access as the data source for a view

Defect 305 : Corrected error when in Pivot and trying to un-select Dynamic Fields –> % of Column

Defect 315 : After saving a new dashboard it was not showing up on the menu list until the user closed and logged back in.

 

 

Infor 10x Starter Kit – What is it and what does it mean to me?

What customers want and are demanding out of their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is more than just resource planning.  The systems that were developed in the 60s and 70s were mainly focused on material planning (MRP), and the systems in 80s and early 90s where focused on “rough cut capacity planning” and “infinite scheduling”.  Since Dick Lilly released VISUAL, the first windows based ERP with finite scheduling in 1992/1993; ERP has grown to be so much more.  As businesses and technology changed tools like auditing, quality management, CRM, workflow, Lot Control, Engineering Change, and many others (certainly with 3 letter acronyms) have been added to or bolted onto ERP systems.  Most of these tools really aren’t for “Resource Planning”, but they’ve been added to fill the “then current” or “future need” of businesses.  The Infor10x starter kit is no different, it’s a new set of tools that brings solutions to either a) current problems or b) where business is going in the future.  The Infor10x Starter Kit is made up of 3 parts: 1) ION 2) Ming.le, and 3) Mongoose.

In today’s workplace, much of the communication between your employees, and even customers and vendors, happens through email or phone calls.  Infor Ming.le brings social collaboration, analytics and business process management into one single platform for use by your entire company and supply chain.  This is a headache for most companies; for example imagine trying to find every email from every person about a specific project or job… good luck.  How about all those “reply all” emails that clutter your inbox.  Ming.le is meant to solve these issues and more.  Employees can communicate and collaborate, as well as share information like documents, plans, photos, even videos, from a centralized location, with all activity captured and easily searchable.

Ming.le can also work with workflows or events you setup in ERP or across multiple other Infor or non-Infor products.  Imagine a scenario where you get an alert that a production order is late, the alert pops up on your screen as this is important to your job function.  You can collaborate with production and task them to find out what is the cause, they receive a task and because you have Infor Enterprise Asset Management (for example) you can drill down and see that the issue is a preventative maintenance work order scheduled this week.  The solution is that you move out the PM if possible, and everyone is automatically alerted.  Users can filter, view, and monitor information to keep tabs on the items that matter most.

Infor Ming.le also includes a workflow interface that can push approvals and alerts to the appropriate people when problems arise.  Objects—drawing on a concept from the social media world, Infor Ming.le lets users “follow” particular social objects and people, delivering automatic notices based on parameters that they define. For example, a sales rep may want to know about everything that happens with her top customer. With Infor Ming.le, she can “follow” their account to receive automatic notifications of anything related to it. From past due invoices to problems with an order, the sales rep can get the latest information from all areas of the business without having to search for it, putting her in a position to address possible issues before the customer even knows there’s a problem.

Think about this:

In your personal lives, if you want to let the world or all your friends know about something, what do you do? Want to plan an event, what do you do? Email or Facebook? How many email addresses would you have to type in if your answer is email?  If you are no longer using email for your social collaboration, why should your business use old tools?

Infor Ming.le is available now for VISUAL as part of the Infor10x starter kit.  It works with VISUAL 7.1.2 which is released.

In the next few posts we will discuss the other components of the starter kit (ION for workflows and connected other Infor and 3P applications) and Mongoose (the new, more robust way to modify VISUAL screens/functionality or make apps for VISUAL)

 

 

 

Trial Kit & SmartViews Just Got Better

SmartViews  is one of the products that all businesses need because without analyzing your data, how do they know what their current state is and are they headed to their future state.  Companies underestimate the importance of a centralized analytical tool.  Where can you get a user friendly application that is usable from your shop floor users to executive management?

Trial Kit just had a big release

Some of the big things are

o          Not limited to exploding Work Orders…now exploded Quote Masters or Masters and see your lonest lead-time part

o          Technology update – armed for the future with the latest technology under the hood

o          See your scheduled Start & Finish date right in the BOM window; find your critical path issues

Freeman Marine Equipment, an Advantec Global Innovations company, has a reputation built on providing high-quality doors, hatches and windows for extreme-duty use, especially for the Marine industry.  From U.S. Coast Guard rescue boats, to large yachts, fishing vessels, and many other applications at sea and on land, Freeman Marine manufactures products that are often highly complex, for customers often under tight schedules for building or renovating sea-going vessels.

And it is that complexity that makes tracking parts for hundreds of work orders very, very demanding.  We have to understand the total part supply picture, which in the past has been very difficult because our sub-assemblies often go 4 to 6 levels deep, and we have hundreds of work orders in process at any given time.  We needed a tool that could give us an at-a-glance picture of which parts were constraining production, so we could focus our efforts efficiently

It was a very frustrating effort—until we found Trial Kit.  We were dazzled by being able to see the complete, exploded Bill of Material, color coded to let us know which parts needed attention.  After we implemented, our inventory lead commented, “I got rid of our Excel “hotlist”.

One of the aspects of Synergy Resources that delighted us was how responsive they were to requests for enhancements to Trial Kit.  As a production scheduler who has to quote leadtimes, I was particularly jazzed when Synergy let me know they had enabled the program to function with Engineering Masters as well as Work Orders.  Finally—I can use a “live” tool to figure out if there are any really long-leadtime parts, buried 4 levels down, that need to be taken into account when estimating the lead-time for a product!

The technical skill of the Synergy staff, and the professional quality of the Trial Kit product, make it a pleasure to recommend Trial Kit as a vital tool for any discrete manufacturer who, like Freeman Marine, produces high-quality, complex products for the demanding global market.

Tom Huntford

Production Scheduler / MRP Administrator
Freeman Marine

 

Shouldn’t ERP be Fun?

Playing Tiny Defense the other night, what a silly little game, but fun!

You start out with minimal capabilities, and then as you learn and progress, you gain tools to help in both your defense and offensive tactics and overall strategy.  At the same time, the challenges you face increase in their capabilities and potential threat to your success.

As I was slowly learning the ropes, gaining confidence, making progress, and accumulating more experience and knowledge, the thought occurred to me:

Why shouldn’t ERP be this fun?  Shouldn’t your ERP implementation be able to provide you with immediate feedback as to how your company is doing?  If you have a really excellent implementation of an ERP, you might have a Business Intelligence (BI) tool that is showing you some high-level performance metrics like Sales Bookings, Backlog, Quotes % accepted, On-time delivery, various Quality metrics, etc.  But what about the day-to-day operations folks?  The ones actually making it happen for you on a daily basis?  Shouldn’t they be having fun, too?  Shouldn’t they be experiencing the instant gratification of a job well done?  They shipped an order on-time (or early if the customer will accept it), they received quality parts in the right quantity at the right time from our supplier, they found a way to increase the number of units produced with the same quality in the company’s bottleneck, adding $2/min of throughput to our bottom-line.

Assuming you have a culture where that sort of performance is rewarded, maybe even expected, being able to play the game of improving your company’s performance for the benefit of your customers satisfaction and your stakeholders investment, should be – FUN!

Do you have the tools in place to make working at your company fun and rewarding?

VISUAL ERP

SmartViews

VISUAL Quality

Are ERP and LEAN mutually-exclusive?

ERP companies swear by the operational efficiencies that manufacturers attain with the use of software. LEAN purists will say that no software is necessary to deliver performance improvements.

Who’s right?

In the quest to improve the business performance of your company, where do you look for the best answers? We’ve heard the horror stories of multi-milllion dollar mistakes with ERP gone bad. We’ve also heard of LEAN fiascos that taught our people to neaten up the shop floor, and even move some equipment around, but failed to delivery results. But we’ve also seen the case studies of manufacturer’s who’ve grown their companies 5-fold with the use of the right ERP tools. Likewise, the LEAN case studies – with or without software – are often equally if not more dramatic, in terms of the lead time reduction, cost savings through lower WIP, and deliver performance statistics you could take to the bank.

Are ERP and LEAN mutually-exclusive?

Find out the answer!

Throughput Accounting

Welcome to Synergy Resources’ Continual Improvement in Manufacturing (CIM) Journal. Over the next several months, we will be exploring here a variety of techniques that can be used to continually improve manufacturing operations. We strongly encourage you to post questions and leave feedback.

The greatest benefits come from addressing problems in fundamental areas. An important element in continually improving is the ability to accurately predict the benefits that an improvement will bring to the company. To accomplish this, we recommend a school of thought known as Throughput Accounting.
Managerial accounting is the process of gathering and analyzing data for the use of managers in making decisions. Throughput accounting is a school of thought put forth by Dr Eli Goldratt (1948-2011), author of “The Goal” and several other excellent books. Dr. Goldratt invented Throughput Accounting to replace the more traditional Cost Accounting approach that had been in use since the early part of the 20th century and which had begun to fail managers. The purpose of the measurements called for in Throughput Accounting is to give managers clarity: to predict the effect of proposed actions on the profitability and health of the company.
A primary measurement in Throughput Accounting is called “Throughput (T)”. If we think of the company as a money generating machine, T measures the amount of money that the company generates through sales. It is not the same as the sales of the company. The throughput value of what is sold is the selling price less the “Truly Variable Cost (TVC)” that was incurred in order to make what was sold. TVC includes costs of materials, purchased components, sub-contracted services and sales commissions paid for what was sold. TVC does not include any labor that was paid for by the hour or salary nor does it include any costs associated with running the company that cost accounting typically call “overhead”.
In essence then, T measures the value that was added to the elements needed to accomplish the sales that were paid for with a unit price.
Here is some data about Alpha Bravo Manufacturing Company (ABM):

Sales value of orders to be shipped this month $33,000.00
TVC for orders to be shipped this month $10,000.00
Expected Throughput this month $23,000.00
Cost to operate plant each month $21,500.00
Expected pre-tax profit $1,500.00
Capacity hours per month $688.00
Cost per capacity hour $31.25

Let’s suppose that we are managers at ABM and we are in a meeting on the first day of our month. We are being asked to decide whether or not we should take an order. This order will increase our monthly sales by $3,500. The material will cost $1,600. Manufacturing the order will take 68 hours of capacity which will not cause any of our resources to be overloaded.
Traditional managerial accounting would look at the cost to make the order and compare the cost to the sales value. In this case, 68 hours of capacity would equal $2,125 in manufacturing cost. Add to this the $1,600 in TVC (material) and the total cost of manufacturing would be $3,725. Comparing this number to the sales value of $3,500 would lead us to decide to not accept the order since accepting the order would cause us to lose $225. Better to leave the resources idle than to lose money!
But wait: it costs us $21,500 to operate the plant whether it produces or not. We do not expect to have our workers to take unpaid time off on days there is not a full day of work for them to do. Let us look at this question through the lens of Throughput.
An order bring $3,500 in sales that uses $1,600 material would generate $1,900 in Throughput. Our new expected T number for the month becomes $24,900. Manufacturing this order does not increase our cost of operation. We will only use capacity that otherwise would have been idle. Therefore our expected pre-tax profit would increase be $3,400, an increase of $1,900. The entire increase in T brought on by this order would be profit! By accepting this order, we would not lose money; rather we would more than double our profit!
This example is only a brief glimpse into the power of Throughput Accounting. Please come back for next week’s blog post to learn more.