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ERP Software – Making your company more efficient, productive, profitable & competitive

Written by CyFrame

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Robert A. Larson
– Industry Consultant

To tell you the truth, when I started the process of writing this article, I was without a clue as to what ERP Software really stood for. Looking on CyFrame’s website, there were many referrals to their ERP software solutions, but nowhere was ERP ever defined.  I have been around our industry for many years and consider myself fairly intelligent, but ERP threw me for a loop.

A quick search in Google on my computer took me to Wikipedia (a free encyclopedia) with the following definition of ERP systems “An ERP system is based on a common database and a modular software design. The common database can allow every department of a business to store and retrieve information in real-time. The information should be reliable, accessible, and easily shared”.

I called Rick Dunne in CyFrame’s sales department and asked him just what ERP software stood for.  His response was that ERP stood for Enterprise Resource Planning.  It seems that is a catchy industry phrase for Plant & Company Management Software.  OK, now I had a definition, I then had an understanding of what ERP stood for, so I had an anchor to move forward to identify just what CyFrame’s specialized solutions for plastic processing really meant.

If I was confused then how many other people in our industry were likewise hung up by ERP Software?  Or even worse, how could this mysterious software really help their company become more competitive in the marketplace and actually catapult them several steps ahead of their competition?  Just what could ERP Software do to improve a company’s operations, profitability and competitive advantage?  To really appreciate what ERP Software (and even more importantly, Fully Integrated Industry Specific ERP) can do for your company, I believe that a person has to possess three vital elements in your operations: Vision, Challenge and Investment.

Vision:

I have to say that not everyone has the ability to look forward and embrace new concepts and ideas, to truly grasp what a concept like properly implemented ERP Software can do for a company. It definitely takes people of vision to comprehend and then embrace that the right ERP software will help organizations to cut costs by reducing errors and duplication, streamline operations by getting orders quoted, entered and delivered quicker, improve profit lines buy gaining operational transparency and help position their company as an industry leader through the use of online client areas, allowing unassisted 24/7 access to jobs, order history, online quotation and even order conversion.

Challenge:

Next, not every company can accept the challenge to make the decision to leap off into what could be the unknown and plunge into automating job and profitability tracking and real time reporting as a new way of managing your company.  After all, some say that we have been doing it this way for many years, it still works, and we are comfortable in doing things the way we do them.  The reality however is that often times the only real constant is change and sometimes you have to take your head out of the warm comfortable sand in order to see that other companies in the marketplace have already positioned themselves to be more efficient, more productive, more profitable and are already more competitive and easier to work with.

Investment:

Definitely making the decision to implement an ERP system requires a substantial capital investment and dedication to the project by way of leadership and company resources, as well as a dynamic attitude change on how you are going to use technology to better operate your business.  A company has to make that wrenching decision to invest your hard earned funds in a new system to dramatically improve operational visibility, to better manage and operate your business not only on a day to day business, but literally on a minute to minute basis.  How do you justify the return on investment on a new ERP software system?

I have talked to a number of plastic processors who are skeptical of incorporating broad-based new systems into their operations. A typical response is that it is too expensive for our business.  Can we accomplish the same results and do it cheaper some other way, perhaps with a simple module?  Can I really trust an outside company?

I hope that this article will serve to demystify the ERP Software solution and shed light on its very real potential.  To be very simplistic, CyFrame’s ERP Software provides all of the nuts and bolts to allow a plastic company to install a fully integrated plant and front office software solution that will reduce overhead, errors and duplication and scrap, streamline operations such as managing pricelist, raw material and finished good inventory tracking and capacity planning and production scheduling while proving the tool to provide outstand customer service.

To begin with, let me offer some quotes from industry leaders who have had the foresight to buy into the system to improve their companies operations. They have taken on the challenge to fully incorporate CyFrame’s ERP System into their business operations and succeeded.

Quote from Melvin C. O’Leary, President of Meredith Associates Inc. Ludlow, MA:

With CyFrame I realized my goal of greatly reducing the human element by automating our order management system throughout the company including real time PLC data capture on our machines. Now when we input an order, its scheduled, work orders print and follow the job throughout the plant via wireless touch screens. Even shipping documentation is printed from a bar code scan, creates the invoice and automatically updates our financial system. As a result, Meredith has been able to increase our cash profitability tremendously year after year

Quote from Paul Hettinga, President of Rayner DieSupply LLC in Bedford Park, IL:

Few of us in this industry track our costs at a level that can make a difference in the way in which we serve our customers and ourselves fairly. A good ERP system will not only allow you to do the business activities more efficiently and consistently, but will also provide valuable cost and profitability information necessary to monitor a companies profitability at the lowest level possible. Without that approach, hidden costs are just that Hidden in the end of month Income Statement – not a very useful tool for focusing on cost containment, profitability improvement and most importantly, better customer support and service.

Our Cyframe system allows us to not only do our business activities more efficiently but more importantly, keeps track of our costs at the floor level – for customers, suppliers and all the related activities. Knowing what it costs to serve our customers is a very important management tool that helps us to properly price our products and services and to monitor that we are managing the relationship within the targeted numbers. Without this, it’s very difficult to be fair in how we price our products and services for the benefit of our suppliers, customers and ourselves.

I can only imagine how true this must be for all our readers who are plastic processors.  Every job has a unique cost, yet, too many of our plants do not keep track at the floor level, of the cost to manufacture a custom order. Even though we are an industry of highly organized manufacturers, I have seen far too many that don’t keep track of the actual costs of producing a single order. For them, I would highly recommend looking into a comprehensive ERP system such as CyFrame’s fully integrated solution for plastic. It will change your business for your suppliers, your customers and yourselves.

Quote from Bob Stoddard, President, CCM Die Supply, Martinsburg WV:

In the economy that we live in and the rapid changing prices we all pay for supplies and raw material, we at CCM Die Supply, Inc (CCM) believe it is more important than ever to track our cost and profit margins.  Our customers depend on us to make sure we are purchasing materials we distribute in the most economical ways and to pass on to them any savings we can.  We all know that the processing industry has changed drastically in the past ten years.  We are no longer running materials to be inventoried; we are producing and delivering, in most cases, just in time.  The processors themselves have been asked to absorb the increased cost of resin, and then deliver the product faster than ever.  This also affects the profitability of the processor because they are doing more mold setups and change overs and thus reduce their yields.  Where we come into play is the need to have the materials needed for a job available in our locations and we must deliver them to market in the most efficient way possible.  On top of all the changes we have seen we are also faced with the most expensive freight charges we have ever seen.  Therefore, we must make sure that we manage the delivery of products and the efficacy in which we ship supplies.  The Cyframe system has allowed us to get more real-time information and make proactive decisions to benefit our customers in ways they may not even be aware of. 

CCM is all about partnership with our suppliers and with our customers.  We feel if we do our job at the highest levels possible, our customers no longer have to spend time evaluating our services and they can then focus on their business.  Likewise, we have a responsibility to our suppliers to be the best customer we can be.  We do this by managing our inventories and protecting their profits so they will be healthy enough to service us at the levels our customers need.  Cyframe has given us a tool to manage these relationships and also to be proactive in bringing tools to our customers and suppliers that no one in the industry is offering. 

There have been several cases this year alone where we have been able to offer packages to our customers to actually bring their cost down and to help them protect their profit margins.  It is much easier to earn someone’s business when you are bringing tools to them to increase their margins and a relationship of respect and trust.  As I mentioned above we are looking to partner with the strongest suppliers and customers in the industry to help all of us be healthier at the end of the day.  Cyframe is and continues to be a key partnership for us to continue to grow our business and to continue to redefine what service looks like in our industry. 

Quote from Pat Sullivan, Vice President of Dynamic Dies, Inc. headquartered in Holland, Ohio:

“CyFrame has helped us become a much more cohesive integrated enterprise. Through the full implementation of their integrated solution for tooling, we have significantly increased plant visibility across all our locations and gained real-time access to information throughout our entire company. This has been a huge asset, allowing us to greatly reduce errors and work duplication as we continue to evolve organizationally. CyFrame has also provided our customers with great added value by providing them 24/7 online access to their data, completely unassisted over our web site. This alone has helped to give us an edge over our competition. “

Now let’s get into the nuts and bolts of CyFrame’s Integrated ERP Solution for Plastic Processing. My focus in this article is on the Cyframe ERP Software program.  CyFrame has invested a considerable amount of time and effort to understand the specifics of each plastics processing method, how it works with all of its detailed bills of materials, its specific challenges like managing resin changes, customer-specific pricelists, finished and raw material inventory, MPR, capacity planning and machine scheduling, blanket PO’s, material certification…They understand what elements go together to deliver a flexible, user friendly, all-encompassing system with all the essential elements.

Specialized Solutions for . . .

  • Blow Molding & Injection
  • Profile & sheet extrusion
  • Blown film & converting

CyFrame is dedicated to helping plastic manufacturers: reduce overhead, errors and duplication, streamline operations and deliver outstanding customer service though software integration and controls. They accomplish this with an integrated turnkey, total plant and enterprise management software solution designed for plastic companies. All information is tracked in real time to measure performance, streamline departments and maximize profits. CyFrame’s solution delivers an unparalleled, robust, flexible plastic specific Enterprise Management Solution that ensures the best companies in the industry stay way ahead of the curve. In just a few months, CyFrame will analyze the business, prove that it can achieve your strategic company objectives and implement the last system you will ever require to run your operations efficiently and with the critical information you require to make decisions with confidence. CyFrame strives to be your complete industry-specific technology partner, bringing you the competitive edge you need to not only survive but thrive.

Track your true profitability in real time by day, shift, job or machine

With the plastic industry becoming increasingly more competitive along with the low import costs, and constantly fluctuating material costs, manufactures need to ensure they are as lean and efficient as possible. Our user-friendly, fully integrated plant management solution can be your most valuable asset for integrating all departments, employees and databases. For tracking, measuring and optimizing performance, reducing lead times and offering superior customer service, this robust package was designed specifically to fortify your processing business.

Know your profitability

Don’t make assumptions when it comes to the profitability of your enterprise. With CyFrame you don’t need to wait until the end of the month to calculate your profitability; you can run up to the minute production profitability reporting any time of the day, from any location and get the information you need when you need it so you can start managing today’s business with today’s information.

Send order confirmations in minutes

It is commonplace for plastic processors to have as much as a 48-hour delay before issuing an order confirmation, yet when purchasing, we are never satisfied with that response time. CyFrame can readily provide employees with all the information necessary (MRP, production schedule, packaging requirements, lead times) to answer your customers while they are still on the line including automated system generated electronic order confirmations sent by email.

Make it easy for your clients to do business with you and earn loyalty.

Real-time production tracking

CyFrame provides you with the most cost-efficient way to implement real-time manufacturing in your environment. From instant job cost reviews to touch screen and bar code driven virtual order management dashboards to direct machine PLC cycle tracking, CyFrame ensures you always have the information you need to better manage your business.

24/7 Online Customer Service

Proudly provide your clients with access to anything you choose including their own open quotes, order history, packing slips, invoices or even active pricelists.

CyFrame’s ERP solution was built especially for the plastics market and helps companies attain their true potential. Their system is a continuously proven one that given the proper leadership and executive dedication, actually works, and it’s adaptable to each processor’s core business methodologies and specific goals and needs.

CyFrame, established in 1987, has built a solid reputation for delivering quality work on time and on budget.

“We are best known for our flexible yet structured approach that consistently delivers reliable solutions at highly competitive prices. CyFrame offers cutting-edge e-business / manufacturing / supply chain type solutions for small to medium size businesses including custom software development services, consulting, project management, training and on-site implementation services.”

I can recall CyFrame’s participation in my Symposium and Exhibition programs in the late nineties. In those days CyFrame had a definite challenge to educate processors on the benefits of utilizing software solutions to drive company performance and customer service.  Probably their solutions were just too optimistic for many people to grasp.  In 2008, in 10+ years of promoting their solutions to the industry, they have had time to enhance their programs exponentially, to test and improve their systems in numerous production environments so that today their software has become a vital element in many successful operations.

Rick Dunne of CyFrame International Enterprises mentioned “Business owners today are closely monitoring their cash flow, however, now more than ever organizations are investing into cost-cutting ERP programs that through process and workflow improvement as well as full integration from finance to shop floor to shipping allows them to reduce overhead costs and spoilage while maximizing operational throughput and driving previously unseen level of service.

To be fair and balanced, as one of our cable networks profess, there are other ERP solutions in the marketplace that a company could embrace into their operations.  Some software savvy plastic processing entrepreneurs may also say that they could develop their own software solutions.  Maybe so, maybe not.  When you look at the overall cost of developing your own software solutions, the time and revisions required to get something stable that can make a real contribution along with the inevitable gap in functionality that you will be forced to leave on the table such as truly capable scheduling, standard costing vs. actual reporting, machine PLC monitoring or online customer service (because most manufactures do not possess the skills necessary to develop in advanced technology Oracle or .Net) is it then not more prudent to buy into a proven developed system tailored especially to your manufacturing operation coupled with experienced project managers and support staff that can consult, configure, train and guide you?

If for example, you want to bring a new robot into your operation, does it make sense to design and build your own system, to go through the expensive and time-consuming learning curve of development and take valuable time away from your core business efforts?  I think not.  You most likely would go into the marketplace and after some investigation, select the best system to integrate into your operation.

For more information on CyFrame’s ERP solution for plastic, call Rick Dunne at +1-866-293-7263 or by email at rdunne@cyframe.com. Visit CyFrame’s website www.cyframe.com.  Watch their new customer experiences video on their homepage for a detailed overview of the system.