Monday, July 2, 2012

We Could Not Balance our Inventory with our ERP Application

Maple Leaf’s Karen Pope commented, “We couldn’t balance our inventory with our ERP application, and inventory shortages sometimes resulted. Yet, we needed much more than an inventory solution.  We had to resolve the integration problem and streamline the entire manufacturing and distribution process at the same time.  We needed a true WMS solution, and only a company willing to learn our business from the bottom up could formulate a workable solution.  When VAI submitted its proposal we knew we had found the right company for the job.”

Real-time inventory management is an essential component of production management.

Prior to implementation, the company employed a patchwork of non-integrated systems, primarily home-grown software and off-the-shelf products.  The warehouse software ran on a PC-based system.  At the end of each day, all remaining inventory balances were transferred into an ERP program.  Since the systems were not integrated, the balances rarely coincided.

The company was unable to quantify losses.

·         Maple Leaf required WMS and ERP applications capable of full integration. 

·         The solution needed to integrate all facilities and all phases of the manufacturing process.

·         Key employees at various locales must know, in real-time, exactly where a duck is in the manufacturing process, where it is located in the warehouse and at what facility the duck product resides.

The team from VAI reviewed Maple Leaf’s existing systems, analyzed business operations in detail and helped design S2K for Warehouse Management.

“We faced a formidable task in designing a WMS package for Maple Leaf,” said Larry Murphy, Vice President of Research and Development, VAI, “but we knew that our experience in enterprise management software gave us the capacity to design a cost-effective, tailored, fully integrated solution to meet all of Maple Leaf’s requirements regardless of the inherent complexity.”

Karen Pope, Manager, Business Applications, Maple Leaf Farms said, “Knowing that VAI had a reputation for being able to design completely integrated ERP packages in a variety of industries was an enormous advantage. We knew that integrating our operations and improving control of the production process would be a complex undertaking. VAI’s record of achievement made us comfortable, as did our overriding desire to produce better products and improve customer service and satisfaction.”

The entire duck manufacturing process is tracked utilizing one keystroke because the system tracks the duck, in whole or part.

The system tracks every scan, giving Maple Leaf a full inventory track and movement history as well as a complete employee efficiency tracking system.  The ERP implementation yields greater inventory control for Maple Leaf and enhances customer service.  The invoicing process is totally streamlined.

This is a true success story from many aspects.  Better inventory control, better shipment, fresher products delivered to their customers. 

Happy customers equals a better and growing business.

It is also apparent that VAI feels the same way towards Maple Leaf Farms. 

“… only a company willing to learn our business from the bottom up could formulate a workable solution.  When VAI submitted its proposal we knew we had found the right company for the job.”

There probably is no better endorsement for an organization.  VAI took the time to learn.  They did not go in and “tell” this company how to run their business.  VAI understood that Maple Leaf Farms knew what they were doing, but that they also needed a better tool set. 

It is like doing a home improvement project.  You have some basic tools and you struggle through the project and when it is done, there is a certain amount of pride in completing a job-well-done.  Yet when you watch people that do the same work for a living, you are impressed with the tools they have and use, the professionalism, and their confidence, not to mention how much quicker they get the work done via their teamwork.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) work.  They work really well when they are matched correctly with the challenges.  There are many different systems and most work well.  The challenge is finding the right fit.  The right culture, like VAI taking the time to listen, is a key ingredient. 

It is not a comfortable feeling to rip out your existing systems even if they are broken and replace them with something new.  What if the new system ends up being worse?  You need a group of professionals that have confidence and experience in your industry.  Most companies just need to feel confident that it can be done.  You know where you are, where you want to be, and it is the middle part (getting there) that often takes a leap of faith.  Working with those that have been in the middle before helps.

Dolvin Consulting work with partners VAI and IBM to deliver real world solutions to real world challenges.  Contact us today to begin the conversation.  We care and we believe that we can help.

No comments:

Post a Comment