The manufacturing company uses Exact Software to better automate its front-office processes.
Posted Jan 17, 2005
Diemolding, a manufacturer of thermoset phenolic components like brake pistons and pulleys for the automotive industry, serves as a supplier to major players within the industry, including Chrysler, Ford, and GM. To manage its ERP back-office needs, the manufacturer deployed Macola, an ERP solution from Exact Software, but its piecemeal approach to managing its quotation process--using three file cabinets, spreadsheets, and emails--needed a tune-up.
With such rudimentary tools Diemolding had no way to efficiently monitor expiration dates, and as a result, found itself losing quotations. "The customer would send us important information, it would get disseminated to people that needed to know that information, whether they were doing prototyping or preparing a quote, somebody would get left off--and that was always dangerous. There was no clear way of tracking," says Paul Orr, director of IT.
The company was not in the market for a solution to remedy its ailing quotation process when Orr attended Exact Software's user group meeting in Toronto about two-and-a-half years ago. The morning session was devoted to Macola, while the afternoon session focused on e-Synergy, a Web-based system that integrates and consolidates corporate data into one database, creating a view of an organization's personnel, finance, workflow, documents, and asset information. After listening to e-Synergy's session for about a half hour, though, Orr left--he felt the solution was geared to a company with a large sales team. "Our sales force is the general manager, the owner of the company, and one sales guy," he says. "[I thought], 'This doesn't apply to me,' so I just forgot about it."
Following his less-than-impressive introduction to e-Synergy, Orr received a call from XONITEK Systems, a management and technology consulting firm, to reconsider e-Synergy's capabilities. After some persuasion he agreed to reevaluate the solution, and "that's when things started to click," Orr says.
Diemolding tapped XONITEK to implement e-Synergy. Implementing the solution allows Diemolding to use e-Synergy's workflow to more efficiently manage the approval process, as quotes are now automatically directed to the appropriate person. If that person does not take any action within the given timeframe, Exact's Event Manager then escalates the task. For instance, if a quotation is about to expire within 10 days and no activity has been taken, Event Manager sends an email to the appropriate person, and if it gets to within three days, the general manager is then notified.
Additionally, prototyping, which requires the company to exchange correspondence with a customer, is tracked within e-Synergy and attached to the customer card. Diemolding can maintain a complete customer history, and in some cases even clear discrepancies. For instance, when one of its suppliers agreed to a cost down from a year-and-a-half ago, but then argued that they didn't, Diemolding was able to use its information held within e-Synergy to clarify the issue. "We pulled it out of the database and said here's your email saying that you would do this," Orr says. "Finding the information is huge."
The solution also allows the company to create opportunities for improvement (OFIs) within e-Synergy when a customer rejects a part. OFIs capture information, including what happened and possible suggestions, which help Diemolding improve future operations. E-Synergy's Web-based platform also allows remote employees, for instance, engineers at a plant located three miles away, to access pertinent information.
According to Orr, the combination of Macola and e-Synergy has allowed the company to stay on top of its demand. "We're able to be more responsive to their needs, and we've grown our business without adding people, which is amazing."
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