Baxter Manufacturing

Baxter Manufacturing—a subsidiary of ITW Food Equipment Group—is a worldwide leader in designing and manufacturing quality cookware and baking equipment. One of the advantages of being owned by the ITW consortium is that the company gives subsidiaries like Baxter resources to succeed, yet also lets them choose their own technology systems. Several other ITW companies also successfully rely on Epicor ERP to grow their business, but Baxter stands out for staying on the leading edge of the system and being an expert in how to leverage the technology to help its customers create authentic experiences for consumers.


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"When we actually jumped to Epicor ERP 10, the product configurator changes were incredible from 9.05, and the efficiency change in running a job was also amazing. We were hearing from our users speed improvements of 30 percent, but I think it's been much faster than that for us-it's been a huge timesaver that makes it a worthy investment to upgrade our ERP."

Jack Pennypacker, Network Administrator, Baxter Manufacturing
Company Facts
  • Location-Orting, Washington
  • Industry-Food product machinery manufacturing
  • Number of Employees-100
  • Website-www.baxtermfg.com

Challenges
  • Dated ERP system lacked the flexibility to accommodate the business' fast pace

Solution

Benefits
  • Reduced production lead time from 2 months to 1 day
  • Offered out-of-the-box functionality with easy-to-use data mining capabilities
  • Provided real-time information with a 360-degree view of the business
  • Helped identify business opportunities with existing customers through manufacturing resource planning (MRP) and customer relationship management (CRM) modules 

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“We were on an ITW-based legacy ERP system before we converted to Epicor in 2010,” said Steve Staton, controller, Baxter. “The old system was mainframe-based and fairly inflexible. People were used to what they needed, but in the fluid environment that we have today, it made it very difficult to do things or change processes.”

Staton continued, “When we were looking for a new solution, we asked ourselves, ‘can we put this in place as close to out of the box as possible?’ We wanted something that could facilitate change quickly and easily. In today’s world, change comes at us so rapidly—the ability to get data out of the ERP system and be able to analyze it in days to get down to the root causes and the key drivers quickly and easily is just what we needed in an ERP system.”

“Not only do we want to bring organic growth to the business, we also want to gain market share and new customers, but we want to do that at a decent margin,” said Jeff Austin, business unit manager, Baxter. “There are several challenges around making sure that you can maintain those margins, so we’ve got to be absolutely buttoned up on everything we do here to make sure we can continue to drive the profitability investors expect.”

Achieving growth with multiplant integration

According to Jack Pennypacker, network administrator at Baxter, the product configurator was also a deciding factor. “The selection process really came down to the ease of use and the product configurator in Epicor ERP. Having the product configurator set up means we know what’s going to come through— it’s not some surprise. We’ve gone from an 8- to 12-week lead time in some of our products to being able to ship tomorrow.”

Geography also played a big part in choosing Epicor ERP, since Baxter has two plants on opposite U.S. coasts. “We also have a plant in North Carolina, but both plants use Epicor, so there’s a lot of commonality in terms of processes,” explained Staton. “While managing multiple locations can be a challenge, Epicor reduces the complexity by allowing us to increase production capacity without operational issues.”

World-class lifecycle support

Another important consideration for Pennypacker was the access to resources. “With other vendors we spoke to, we couldn’t even get a user’s manual, which to me says a lot about a company,” he recalled. “Epicor came in with a lot of resources— between Epicor University, knowledge training, embedded training, and the Insights conference—to not only help us learn in the beginning, but also to keep up with changes, train new users, and refresh people.”

Upgrading Epicor ERP has also been crucial to Baxter’s successful partnership with Epicor. “It’s one thing for someone from Epicor or at a user group to tell me, ‘well this [next version] will be so much more efficient’,” Pennypacker added. “When we actually jumped to Epicor ERP 10, the product configurator changes were incredible from 9.05, and the efficiency change in running a job was also amazing. We were hearing from our users speed improvements of 30 percent, but I think it’s been much faster than that for us—it’s been a huge timesaver that makes it a worthy investment to upgrade our ERP.”

“I like the fact that Epicor has what Baxter and—ultimately—ITW are looking for in the future,” concluded Pennypacker. “There are so many tools that Epicor has already made available to us. Epicor is a step ahead of where we’re at. Down the road, I see us adopting more and more features as we want to digitally collaborate, go mobile, offer workers the ability to work from home, or take our ERP with us to a customer’s site. I see us going further that way, and Epicor is already there for us.”

Epicor solutions are designed around the unique operational needs of manufacturers and are available in the cloud or on premises. Customers can better manage complexity and focus on core growth activities.

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