- Location: Minto, Sydney
- Industry: Manufacturing and supply
- Web site: www.ingalcivil.com.au
"The major benefit of Epicor ERP isn't just one thing; it's the gains we have seen from everything in the system coming together."
Rob Shore, Finance Director | ICP
About Ingal Civil Products
Based in Minto, Sydney and with six additional sites across Australia and New Zealand, Ingal Civil Products (ICP) is the leading manufacturer and supplier of safety barrier systems. A division of Industrial Galvanizers Corporation Pty Ltd, ICP is part of a large network of companies specialising in engineered steel products and galvanising services.
ICP has made a significant contribution to the safety of our roads by providing innovative, high quality products. ICP's range includes the Flexbeam guardrail, Flexfence wire rope safety barrier, ET-Plus guardrail terminal and TRACC crash cushions.
Moving to an integrated system with Epicor ERP
ICP went live with Epicor ERP in April 2011 and continue to expand upon the existing modules and broad functionality already in place. When it comes to defining the major benefits the company has seen since adopting Epicor ERP, Rob Shore, Finance Director at ICP, is quick to point out that the true benefit of Epicor ERP is that the system is greater than the sum of its parts.
"We have one manufacturing site and five warehouses across Australia and New Zealand, and we use Epicor at each of the sites," said Rob Shore. "The major benefit of Epicor ERP isn't just one thing; it's the gains we have seen from everything in the system coming together like Epicor MES (Manufacturing Execution System), dashboards, MRP (Material Requirements Planning), APM workflow and doc-link (document management solution)."
Having built a strong working relationship with the Epicor professional services team, ICP continues to adopt a mix of Epicor consulting and internal expertise when it comes to ensuring the business is getting the most out of the system with ongoing customisations, configuration and new additions to the overall functionality.
"We get on well with the Epicor services team, everyone is really flexible and open to new ideas, even when we have disagreed at times we have always been able to work together and deliver outcomes" explains Shore.
Extracting better information from the shop floor through Epicor MES
Epicor MES is an online system for the shop floor that allows plantbased transactions real-time visibility throughout the Epicor solution.
"Epicor MES helps us to keep track of the jobs throughout our factory as they travel through our roll forming, press shop, fabrication and even in our internal galvanising process," says Shore. "We have customised it a little but mostly it's the standard MES solution. We capture the jobs, quantities and manufacturing time throughout the factory and even KPI data such as dips, scrap and rework in the galvanizing department."
The MES interface is developed for end users and offers options of deployment including touchscreen monitors as well as bar coded enablement to simplify data entry.
"We have implemented shop floor touch screen computers for data collection. When our guys on the shop floor start a job they will log into a computer, clock on using a barcode scanner for the job, run the job through the machine, enter the quantity made, clock off and stop times. It helps us to capture output, labour and real time KPIs. The team is really happy with the touch screens; they have worked out really well," says Shore.
Online transaction tracking gives ICP management a current picture of what is occurring on the shopfloor by employee and job.
"We are getting better information than what we had before Epicor MES," explains Shore. "We are capturing information live rather than on a piece of paper where we had to interpret other people's scribbles and we had anomalous data which has now been eliminated. The shop floor is closing out jobs quicker which helps our stock control and improves delivery to our customers. Through implementing MES, we have transferred a full-time person in the planning department whose job was to enter manufacturing data into more value-add tasks."
Achieving visual awareness across the shop floor with embedded dashboards
Built directly into all Epicor applications, dashboards permit the combination of multiple capabilities such as inquiries, ad hoc reports, workbenches, graphical analyses, tactical business intelligence, alerts and business monitoring.
ICP leverages dashboards throughout the business to provide real time business insight but recently implemented a quad dashboard to link despatch, accounts receivable and customer service.
"This new dashboard displays orders on hold using a colour coded system where we have different colours for orders on hold by day, for example, if an order is on hold today it's in red, if it's tomorrow it's in yellow and so on. This dashboard is updated live in despatch, customer service & finance so problems are identified and resolved early and give our customers better service.
"We are also using a crystal report of volumes shipped today against target, as this auto-refreshes it enables the team to track progress for the day," continues Shore. "It's a fantastic manufacturing technique which we will continue to expand to provide real time visual awareness of the shop floor."
Improving workflow by moving towards a paperless office with doc-link
Doc-link is a document management solution that electronically captures documents, streamlines business processes using workflow, automates the distribution of all documents, reports and forms, and provides instant retrieval from the desktop.
"We use doc-ink for invoicing, customer statements, remittances, accounts payable invoices and quite a few other things," says Shore. "We have about 30,000 documents in doc-link at the moment, and our repository is grown by about 1-2000 documents a month."
Whether it is the storage, retrieval or processing of paperwork, having instant access and visibility to important documents can increase workplace efficiencies. Shore explains, "Our month end close process is quicker as information is directly at hand rather than searching through files trying to find it. Alongside this we are saving paper and money on postage each month with electronic invoicing."
Generating a workflow through doc-link
Doc-link is working alongside Epicor XL Connect, a Microsoft Office Excel tool providing out-of-the-box functions for pulling ERP data directly into Excel.
"We use Epicor XL Connect to generate a credit release form. By entering a customer number, relevant data is extracted from the database showing the outstanding balance with an age profile as well as the customer's payment and trading history. The order release form generated by XL Connect is pretty quick; it gets printed via the APM solution into doc-link, so now we are triggering a workflow. We have the dashboard that has given us a sign we have a problem, XL Connect is giving us information to make a decision on the problem, and the workflow is managing the approval."
Doc-Link workflow helps our business to automate inefficient manual tasks like approvals for credit release forms. Shore explains, "The doc-Link workflow for the order release triggers an email to the approver, we will review and approve within the system and then accounts receivable get an email telling them it's been approved and they can release it. At this point the dashboard down in despatch at any of our seven sites will automatically refresh. This process means we are a lot quicker and we are on top of our game."
Supporting a complex sales process with Epicor Product Configurator
The Epicor Product Configurator is a sales and customer management system that enables a business to make quick determinations on their ability to deliver the exact product a customer is requesting.
ICP utilises the Epicor Product Configurator to introduce a standardised method of informing customers when they can deliver on a complex, non-standard kit package and how much it will cost.
"We are using the Epicor configurator to support our sales team. We are a highway barriers manufacturing company selling kits. The kits aren't standard though with different requirements for tensions, spacing between posts and even colours or galvanizing depending on what state you're in making it quite complicated to sell" says Shore. "The Epicor Configurator collects all of this information and standardises our sales process. There are about four or five screens to work through and ultimately configurator generates the kit of parts for the order and calculates margins. We are in the process of working with the Epicor consultants to implement Configurator for other product lines."
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise, and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.