Epicor ERP

Boers & Co FineMetalworking Group

Leading Manufacturer Reduces Customer Lead Times With Epicor ERP

Company Facts
Overview

  • Location: Schiedam, Netherlands
  • Industry: Manufacturing
  • Website: www.boers.nl

Success Highlights
Challenges

  • Could not respond to increased demands from customers for faster, more comprehensive information
  • Lacked an ERP solution that could support a QRM strategy

Solution

  • Epicor® ERP

Benefits

  • Reduced customer lead times from eight weeks to three weeks
  • Cut indirect labor costs by 15 percent
  • Provided a single view across the entire supply chain
  • Made localized tax and compliance information readily available
  • Simplified upgrades to stay up to date
  • Prepared business for growth in current market boom

Headquartered in the Netherlands, Boers & Co FineMetalworking Group boasts an almost 125-year history of delivering fine mechanical parts, high-precision assembly, and sheet metal products to customers in the medical appliances, flow-control, automotive, and petrochemical industries.Two of the company’s three divisions—Boers & Co FijnMechanical Industries and Boers & Co SheetMetal Industries—are pioneers of using high-tech machinery comprising computer-controlled machines that can operate with low use of personnel. The third company—Boers & Co MechaTronica Industries—specializes in assembly and supply chain management. Combined, these three divisions give Boers a leading advantage over its competitors. To remain a leader in the field, Boers required an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution devised specifically for the manufacturing industry—one that could guarantee a low cost, high-end product to an increasingly demanding environment. After reviewing the market, the company originally selected Epicor ERP 9 to provide its customers with the service, expertise, and flexibility they had come to rely on.

Finding a solution for sustained growth

Implementing Epicor ERP enabled Boers to more efficiently manage its supply chain to support its next phase of growth. The solution—which is seamlessly integrated into Boers’ customer relationship management (CRM) and document management systems—enables the business to produce electronic requests for materials, dispatch those materials, and track the movement of all inventory—including raw materials and work in progress. Using touch-screen terminals and bar coding technology, Boers is able to track inventory in real time with complete control and visibility of raw materials and work in progress as its products travel throughout the supply chain.

Ronald Koot, CEO at Boers & Co FineMetalworking Group, explained, “Our decision to implement Epicor ERP was driven by the desire to constantly fulfil the changing requirements of our customers. As the business grew, they needed more and better comprehensive information from us and quicker response times relating to our working schedules and availability of stock. Once Epicor ERP was in place, we immediately had easier access to more accurate data from a single source—which enabled us to communicate better with our customers and improve our service offering.”

The need for speed
Since forming its business over a century ago, Boers’ has seen manufacturing strategies evolve from high volume/low cost to quality improvement—which are all important foundations for doing business. However, in order to realize its plans for growth, Boers recognized that speed through quick response manufacturing (QRM) was key to delivering long-term, sustainable success throughout its entire supply chain. Koot continued, “While we were very happy with our existing version of Epicor ERP, we wanted to introduce greater speed and innovation to take our business to the next level and meet the more complex demands of our customers. In order to enhance our performance and further improve efficiency, we required a modern ERP solution which could simplify the user experience, improve collaboration, and—most importantly—help us to reduce customer lead times.” After receiving a demonstration of the enhanced functionality within the latest release—Epicor ERP 10—Boers was convinced that the new solution would easily enable it to transform its relationship with its customers. By providing a streamlined experience across multiple devices and expanded deployment choices, the latest version of Epicor ERP is delivering Boers a richer and more consistent experience within an easy-to-use, single solution. The new touch-enabled, intuitive user interface is designed from the ground up to work with smart devices—empowering Boers’ employees to work the way they want to and maximizing productivity levels. Jos Greeve, ICT manager at Boers & Co FineMetalworking Group, observed, “With the latest version of Epicor ERP, we immediately saw the advantages of the new user interface and dashboards which makes everything simpler and easier to use. By using touch-enabled, touch friendly computers with new menus, the solution is transforming productivity, as our employees are now able to adapt their user experience to the way they want to work.”

Reducing customer lead times as part of a QRM strategy
The company initially implemented the latest version of Epicor ERP within its sheet metal business to meet its growing customer demand for access to real-time information. Previously, Boers could only access the solution from the desktop, but by introducing touch-screen computer terminals across the whole of its engineering shop floor, the system is now accessible to the whole business. Koot commented, “Accessing Epicor ERP via touch screens ensures everyone can get the data they need, when they need it—such as checking the system to determine which product parts are in stock or monitoring the progress of a project. The latest version of Epicor ERP is so much faster, and the solution’s intuitive dashboards and search facility enables us to delve further into the heart of how our business is really performing with fewer keystrokes.”

Boers’ leadership believed that reducing customer lead times was critical to achieving company growth. To further accelerate operations, Boers recognized that the latest version of the software could support its strategy to roll-out a wide range of QRM techniques in order to facilitate the quick movement of jobs, projects, processes, and information across the business. The strong manufacturing engineering functionality is now providing Boers with the functionality required to support and measure the faster operation. Additional enhancements have improved the rapid launch of new sales orders, advanced scheduling, and collaboration with its customers and suppliers. Koot said, “By supporting a wide range of processes—which the latest version of Epicor ERP provides—gives greater flexibility, which has helped us to reduce internal overhead and eventually—our lead times. Through being able to react much faster—based on better information than ever before—we have cut the time it takes us to deliver many parts from eight weeks down to just three weeks. In addition, we’re giving our customers greater insight into our working schedule and exceeding their expectations.”

Upgrading is easy
Boers was one of the early adopters of Epicor ERP 10.1 when it first came out, and the company has already upgraded to the next version ERP 10.2. According to Greeve, these upgrades are getting easier. “From 9 to 10, everything was easy, but you needed to make the adjustments yourself. From 10 to 10.1, everything was done, everything was converted, and there were almost no issues. The upgrade to Epicor ERP 10.2 was really smooth.”
Greeve added, “We get an advantage of working with Epicor because it is a large company. The product will be reinvested in, optimized, and additional features will be added at a global scale. We also get the additional features for specific issues for the Netherlands—or for Europe, in our case. The reports are in the right formatting— delivering the tax information to the government that meets the localization requirements. Country-specific improvements were introduced in 10.1 and then improved in 10.2.”
For Boers, this is significant. With older versions, the company had to either create reports in the application itself or extract data into a data warehouse and run the reports from there. Greeve explained what the localization has achieved for him, “We’ve been able to cut down on administration, and it’s a perfect fit for our business. I don’t have to do anything with the system anymore.” He continued, “Thanks to Epicor, we are still in business. The recession hit the Netherlands hard—especially the metal industry. We had good operational overview with Epicor, so we were able to align the costs properly. We are now ready for a jumpstart in the upcoming year. The market is picking up, we have invested in new machines and technology, and we are ready to go.”

Continuous improvement and Industry 4.0
Boers strives to stay one step ahead to remain competitive. Greeves explained, “It’s an important requirement for our business to keep moving forward, and we expect the same from our suppliers—especially our ERP system. The cloud development updates we now receive from Epicor mean that improvements are rolled out on a more frequent basis than in a traditional, on-premises environment.
“With these continuous improvements, we are able to be ISO13485 compliant, and all registrations can be completed within the Epicor ERP system.”
Looking to the future, Boers is preparing for Industry 4.0 and is already trialing Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. Greeves concluded, “When we look at creating a ‘factory of the future’ and the technology we need to get us there, it is clear that Epicor is the right partner for us. We are confident we will benefit from the solid and strong framework that Epicor ERP offers as we grow and develop.”
 

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