Signs that you need a new ERP System for Your Business

These days the manufacturing world is abuzz about ERP, and keen to know the benefits of using it.

So, what is enterprise resource planning? Well, in simple terms it is a modern enterprise system that helps organizations plan, track and manage their businesses in an efficient manner. It is a software that drives a company’s internal processes towards efficiency in terms of performance and profitability.

More and more businesses are implementing ERP software to ensure sustainability and growth of their ventures. However, every system has a lifeline; and it might get outdated over a period of time. Although software does not come with a defined “best before date”, there are tell-tale signs that could indicate that it’s time to move on to a new system. You can always connect with Synergy Resources to get your current ERP system revamped to find the best solution for your company.

Signs that your ERP system is outdated:

  • The current system was installed 3-4 years ago.

Technology moves fast; and even if your system was said to be a highly scalable one at the time it was deployed, chances are that you could be missing out on a lot of features. Maybe it’s time to consult an ERP solutions service provider to learn how the latest technology could help your company.

  • Laid-back customer support – Over a period of time, the need for proactive support on the ERP system may go up as it gets outdated. However, if your ERP provider is not offering you the required level of support, perhaps you should move on to find the one that will fulfil your requirements.
  • An increase in work turnaround –In case your ERP system is not providing optimal results, the chances of work turnaround shoot up! For example, if you have to depend on manual reporting for certain processes, you should reconsider continuing with the same ERP.
  • Timelines –If your current system does not deliver on time, then it’s a problem. For example, if the best your ERP can deliver is weekly reporting on something that needs to be brought out on a daily basis; then perhaps it’s an outdated system.
  • Customer needs taking a back seat –Enterprise Resource Planning software is implemented to ensure high level of customer service. It’s a big concern if you are unable to fulfill customer expectations just because your ERP system is not good enough for it.
  • ERP provider is charging too high for support –Many times, ERP vendors overcharge business owners for extended support, especially if the system has been in use for more than 3-4 years. This makes it all the more important to look for the latest software for the best use of your investment.

In case you have been observing any or all the above situations, it is perhaps the time for an updated ERP system to suit your business needs. Why not utilize ERP consultation services by Synergy Resources and learn what a cutting-edge Enterprise Resource Planning software can do for your business!

Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing initially started at Toyota in Japan (The Toyota Production System, TPS), which is now a much talked about concept in the manufacturing industry. So, what does it actually mean? The philosophy of this term is all about focusing on the customer as the most significant part of a business. The methods and processes of such a manufacturing model aim to maximize value, and at the same time, minimize waste! The intent is to add value to a product that customers actually pay for. All other things are considered a waste and should be removed from the manufacturing process.

To understand Lean better, let us talk about why the need for it was felt. There are two main purposes why Lean exists: To achieve customer satisfaction, and to do so in a profitable manner. Every part of Lean centers on the two purposes; with customer satisfaction being primary at all times.

In this model, anything that does not provide a value to the customer is a waste. Unless customers insist on including something specific, lean manufacturing eliminates it. This makes a process more efficient. Quite often, managers work in haste and apply lean principles to a business application, without even considering the customer-need for it. This leads to change, which customers do not expect or desire. Thus, it is important to ask “why” before implementing a lean principle. In this context, Synergy Resources’ lean manufacturing consultants are always there to help you plan your strategy.

Lean manufacturing is also considered to be an environment-friendly process. With efficient and well-planned production, organizations help reduce energy, water and other raw material consumption and expenditures. Additionally, there is lesser hazardous waste disposal, and consequently; a less polluted environment. Lean manufacturing can bring a lot of green-edge to a company. This is an additional benefit that organizations get in the wake of their argument that environment-friendly manufacturing processes are way too expensive and require a big investment into it.

Let’s also take a look at what ‘waste’ processes lean manufacturing eliminates:

  • Over-production – Manufacturing a product more than the required quantity may lead to excess inventory and eventually selling it off at a loss.
  • Inventory management – Piling up excessive items in inventories leads to further expenses of inventory management
  • Transportation – Unnecessary transit of products may damage them, leading to loss.
  • Rework – Ideally, production flow should move in only one direction every time in a seamless manner. Lean eliminates repetitions in the workflow due to corrections or re-work
  • Motion – Non-essential and incorrect motions or movements may cause undue stress or injuries; and can be done away with! Improvements and higher efficiency in this area results in fewer employee injuries and lesser claims for compensation.
  • Processing – Unplanned or unstructured production practices cause manufacturers to additional processes that may not be cost-effective. These can be eliminated with the help of a VISUAL ERP system.
  • Waiting time – In a manufacturing workflow, the equipment operator should have the least or no idle time, as it is a total waste.

By reducing wastes in the above scenarios, organizations can maximize their profits with lesser floor space requirements, reduced operator effort, lesser inventory maintenance and reduced lead time. Waste elimination requires a major understanding of lean manufacturing practices. The experts at Synergy Resources can help you gain by implementing lean manufacturing practices.

Enterprise Resource Planning Software, an Overview

Let’s talk about what exactly this software is all about, and why more and more businesses are utilizing its benefits to gain a competitive advantage.

To begin with, think of all the processes that are an essential part of your manufacturing business. These may include: Order management, inventory management, product scheduling, accounts, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and other functions. A basic Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP software simply integrates multiple business applications or functions into one core system. Thus, it streamlines business information and processes in an organization.

The core of ERP software is a common database used by various business units. In simpler terms, employees and managers from different departments such as production, sales can use the system to get the right information as per their specific requirements. Businesses also get the benefit of automation through ERP software. All the departments can pull out customized reports from a single system. This is a stark difference from the traditional operations, where each department earlier had to maintain data by using numerous spreadsheets and databases manually.

Another great feature of ERP is that it includes a dashboard that lets managers access and review their business performance in real-time based on key parameters.

ERP offers great business value with an assured increase in the Return on Investment (ROI) when implemented with the help of experts. Since it diminishes the limitations in various business units associated with an organization, it leads to the seamless flow and management of all information across all applications.

Enterprise Resource Planning software such as VISUAL ERP offered by Synergy Resources presents real-time, global data analytics, which enables business managers to address any apparent flaws proactively and resolve the issue at an early stage. It enables business owners to reduce risks by enhancing financial compliance as per standard regulations.

By automating core business operations, the need for manual intervention at multiple stages is greatly reduced. This leads to the saving of time, efforts and expenses. Also, automation of the business applications ensures better planning. Even customer service of the companies improves, because of having a single resource for billing and relationship management in place.

When the above advantages are considered, it can safely be ascertained that no business can afford to ignore ERP implementation in their manufacturing process. It helps the employees of a company access real-time and accurate information; making it possible for them to make faster decisions. Moreover, ERP lowers overall business expenses by removing redundancy across various functions.

The above notes are just a small insight into the positive impacts that ERP software may have on a business. To learn more, get in touch with the Synergy Resources team. It is always advisable for business owners to get an honest opinion of a professional service provider, who can benefit the organization in the best possible manner.

Streamlining the Critical Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing with VISUAL ERP

A couple of years back (in 2012); there was a huge wave of criticism in the American media about ERP deployment in the United States Air force.

In fact, the media even went on to term the failure as a “Debacle”, a “Catastrophe”, “and “Blowing up money”.

The total cost of the project is said to be over a whopping $1 billion. Subsequently, a lot of analysis has taken place to find the root cause, and exactly where the ERP failed to provide the desired results.

The allegations and explanations between the U.S. Department of Defense and industry experts/analysts are still on.

This defense project began in 2004 with the sole purpose of replacing 240 outdated computers of the U.S. Air Force with a single integrated system. However, things did not go as planned.

Our objective in mentioning this instance is not to judge whether it was justified or unjustified to implement the above-mentioned ERP by spending such a large amount. In this write-up we will focus on the reasoning as to how features and efficiency of a quality ERP can make a world of difference.

Let’s delve into the subject of implementing an ERP that is suitable for Aerospace and Defense (A&D) manufacturers by discussing a real-life case.

A Perfect Case

Case Study: L-3 Telemetry-East/Global Network Solutions (a division of L-3 Communications).

Industry: Aerospace and Defense

L-3 Telemetry-East supplies the following products:

  • Radio Frequency (RF) products
  • Advanced Data Acquisition products
  • Ground Products used in aircraft, missile flight test and ground receiver.

L-3 Telemetry-East manufactures these products according to the exact quality specifications to meet the stringent safety and reliability requirements.

In addition to these, the entire process involves strict lot tracking and keeping tabs on all the components throughout the entire Product Life Cycle (PLC) of all the manufactured items. It’s an end-to-end process starting with the procurement of raw materials to finished products in the field.

Existing Scenario

In order to maintain superior quality and reliability of its products, L-3 Telemetry-East needed to track every component that is part of its product. In fact, these highly sophisticated airborne telemetry items have complex systems consisting of hundreds or even thousands of critical components.

The existing ERP was an outdated system that needed the manual tracing of stored paper documents. Such efforts took several weeks and wasted hundreds of hours. Considering the criticality of the A&D industry, the company is expected to respond quickly to the alerts triggered by the government related to various products and components. Thereafter, with the help of its ERP, the company needed to check the product(s) history in details to find whether any of those components were used in specific products or not.

These were challenging situations, and the company had to find answers to the questions such as “Where the components were used during the work-in-process when the quality testing reveals random component failure?” and “How to identify which supplier is responsible for the issue?”

VISUAL ERP – The Solution

In its endeavor to find a solution, L-3 Telemetry-East partnered with us in October 2005 to deploy and integrate VISUAL ERP business software into their systems and workflow while training their staff for a seamless transition.

This partnership led to a significant positive transformation in the way L-3 Telemetry-East operates.

At present, with the help of high-end and integrated features of the VISUAL ERP, L-3 Telemetry-East can respond to a government alert in just a few minutes. The current system provides visibility to the administrators to see the details of every product sold, where each component has been used, parts left in the inventory, and even the items that are in the production process.

In this way, the overall safety, quality and reliability of the products have been enhanced vastly. For all these, the company had to spend just a fraction the cost it incurred for the antiquated system used earlier.

Benefits Offered by VISUAL ERP

The VISUAL Enterprise Aerospace & Defense provided by Synergy Resources offers the following benefits:

  • Provides an ERP system that can fulfill the objective of the A&D manufacturers to streamline their product scheduling, improve customer service and increase revenues.
  • Allows having an excellent project management system in place to maintain contracts and the Contract Line Item Numbers (CLIN’s).
  • Sets up terms and condition, establishes multi-type, multi-year rate codes (both direct and indirect) for the purpose of project accounting.
  • Reports earned values accurately and makes assessment of project risks
  • Tracks and reports extensively with various features including DD250 reporting
  • Helps to manage material, inventory, monitor cash flow, compute overhead and accumulate labor.
  • Offers a detailed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) that helps companies develop a hierarchy for reporting purposes and to capture costs for the activities such as engineering, procurement, manufacturing and inventory.
  • Provides a Project Summary that enables organizations to track project performance, observe costs and plan schedules accordingly.
  • Helps to calculate project costing that includes direct rates, overhead rates and various other costs.

VISUAL ERP provides features to track all the data related to projects, costing, resources and suppliers. A&D manufacturers can also track the progress of the projects and their impending deliverables.

Also, like in the case of L-3 Telemetry-East, other A&D manufacturers can have access to all the information in just minutes. It vastly reduces the scope of recalling a product and its obvious impact on their customers. In addition to this, the system also brings down the costs involved with such recalls and replacement of parts.

Click here to download the L-3 Telemetry-East case study.

DRT Customer Tour – 4/24/14

Get an understanding of what the Visual platform has done and what achievements have been realized in DRT Power Systems, LLC-OA aerospace manufacturing company. DRT Power Systems, LLC-OA manufactures precision machined components and assemblies for a wide variety of aerospace applications.

Reserve your spot today by clicking here

The agenda will include:

  • Overview of DRT Power Systems, LLC-OA.
  • Accomplishments and challenges to overcome
  • Achievements with the Visual ERP suite
  • Tour of the facilities
  • Helping you to achieve similar results
  • Question and answer session

Snacks and beverages will be served.

Understand how with the right effort, tools and expertise you can achieve industry success.

Time
(thursday) 1:30 am – 4:15 pm
Location
DRT Power Systems, LLC-OA  325 Silver Street Agawam, MA

Royal Products Customer Tour

Royal Products

Customer Tour

sparks on metal

Showcasing Achievements

Get an understanding of what the Visual platform has done and what achievements have been realized by Royal Products. For over 60 years Royal Products has been designing and building precision metalworking accessories to help manufacturers squeeze every last drop of performance out of their machine tools.

The agenda will include:

  • Overview of Royal Products
  • Accomplishments and challenges to overcome
  • Achievements with the Visual ERP suite
  • Tour of the facilities
  • Helping you to achieve similar results
  • Question and answer session
red calendar icon Friday, May 16, 2014
red clock icon 1:30 PM – 4:15 PM
red location icon Royal Products 200 Oser AvenueHappauge, NY  11788

Understand how with the right effort, tools and expertise you can achieve industry success.Snacks and beverages will be served.

Synergy Driving Performance Improvement

Synergy uses LEAN/TOC/SixSigma principles in conjunction with implementing ERP to drive performance improvement throughout the company.

Below are two articles from a new Synergy customer’s employee newsletter, one in February, the second in March.  They actually created their own internal logo to generate enthusiasm, buy-in and excitement in their company.  Look at the picture of their conference room with all the process mapping complete.   Even before their ERP software is installed on their network, they can already see how it will be used to support their new processes that will drive improvement in their business’ performance in a big way!

Process Mapping Underway with Synergy Resources

Our journey to replace MAX with VISUAL has begun! Already dozens of employees have been involved in the process mapping phase. This is where our consultant from Synergy Resources creates a map of every single step we perform to complete a process, such as issuing a quote to a customer (you might not believe how many separate steps this takes and how many documents we print along the way!). For each process, employees who provide inputs to that process, handle the process, and are at the next stage – i.e. the “customer” of the process, are included in the all-day sessions. Next, we identify approximately how long the “current” process takes in days (or hours). Then the fun begins!

The next step is to outline what we would like the “future state” to look like. And it’s amazing to see how many individual steps we think we can cut out and how much time will be saved. Along the way, our employees are identifying opportunities for improvement that may not need to wait for the software implementation and/or could be considered as continuous improvement ideas for the future. Once everything is reviewed and approved, the folks at Synergy will use the current and future state process maps to set up the new software for us and we will create some Kaizen events to brainstorm ideas on what improvements we can make now, and along the way. An example of a Kaizen event might be to look at the Expedite process – the way we currently ask for estimated or requested ship dates.

We have about 3 more weeks of process mapping ahead. Thank you to everyone for being so helpful and for taking the time necessary to complete the process maps. Together, we’re turning over a new leaf with VISUAL. Successful implementation using Lean principles, will lead to Green in 2014…in the form of increased sales and profitability! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Our project leader and I will be coordinating the continuous improvement opportunities. Feel free to ask either of us questions any time.

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Visual Employee Kick-off Meeting

Process mapping is complete! Check out all the hard work of our Process Owners in the conference room photo below and come learn more about what Visual ERP will do for [our company] at the employee kick-off meeting this Thursday at 9:00am in the cafeteria. Refreshments will be served.

ConfRoom_process_maps

Synergy SBS helps Spectrum delight customers with improved on time delivery

“Our Customers Are Delighted!”

With the guidance and support of Synergy’s Strategic Business Services (SBS) team our company successfully achieved our number 1 goal in 2013:  Improved delivery performance.  And it is not a temporary fix but rather a sustainable process. What our management team and the SBS group have accomplished provides our company and our customers with a predictable delivery schedule.

We can now focus on doing this with less inventory and in a shorter lead-time. We will also deploy a Supplier Performance program, designed by SBS and our management team to help and support our suppliers performance as we work to strengthen the entire value chain. 2014 looks like another exciting year with breakthrough accomplishments and a continued partnership with Synergy’s SBS team.

Richard Meisenheimer  
President & Second Generation Owner
Spectrum Associates
Milford CT

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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