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The Woodbridge Group

Company Facts

  • Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Industry: Manufacturer of Urethane Solutions for Automotive, Commercial Transportation, Construction,
    Packaging and Consumer Goods
  • Web site: www.woodbridgegroup.com

"The Epicor CMS software has given us the flexibility to handle built stock, sequencing, repetitive processes, and work order processing, all within one flexible system. This flexibility has allowed us to continue diversifying our business model, and pursue new strategic directions without having to worry about the system being able to handle the expansion."
Kevin Parks, Senior Manager of Corporate Materials | The Woodbridge Group

The Woodbridge Group

When The Woodbridge Group, a global manufacturer of urethane solutions, started looking for a new business software solution, they were determined to find a supplier with leading-edge software, and a company that they could form a long-term partnership with. The new software also needed to be a good fit for Woodbridge's quickly changing, agile operations. Woodbridge is a leader in urethane technologies and a specialist in just-in-time assembly and sequencing systems. With facilities in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, Woodbridge's experience in producing polyurethane foam products dates back to the early 1960's, making it one of the first companies to provide molded foam cushioning to the automotive industry, and one of the first polyurethane foam suppliers to offer cold cure, high resiliency seating foam technology.

Challenges lead to selecting the right fit 

It became apparent that Woodbridge's legacy software system would not be able to handle internal requirements going forward. "We were at the point where we had to decide to either develop a lot of custom programs to supplement our legacy software solution, and spend money in updating its technology, or start looking for new options. The legacy software would have required major modifications to take us to the next level of business growth and diversification. This was not a very good fit for our business needs," says Ken Noel, director of IT at Woodbridge. "We were losing customers and bids because our software didn't support our business." After looking into the costs of developing a new system internally, Woodbridge decided to expand their search into proven software solutions from outside suppliers.

The team at Woodbridge evaluated several business software systems in the first phase. BAAN®, SAP®, BRAIN, MAPICS®, and JD Edwards® were just a few of the evaluated options. "Our business is very fluid, and we were really looking for software that would fit at least 80 percent of what we do. We wanted a system that was geared primarily for manufacturers in the automotive industry, and understood that we might have to make some changes to the system we selected," said Sheila DuBeau, senior IT manager. Woodbridge shortlisted systems, and solicited presentations and pricing from these companies. The internal team at Woodbridge, consisting of people from the corporate office, individual plants and the IT department, evaluated these shortlisted solutions.

"We were impressed with the way Epicor understood our business, and the release accounting procedures we followed. They also had a history of implementing business systems within our industry with low risk and keeping within their quoted costs," said DuBeau. Other factors in the decision were:

  • Epicor CMS Web interface
  • EDI technology
  • Benefits of event-based reporting
  • Proven integration with third party software systems
  • Available global licensing

"Epicor had international operations, and their software presented really good dollar value for us. We quickly crafted a great relationship with the key people at Epicor," said DuBeau.

"Our old system was designed to handle only foam. With CMS we got the flexibility to handle built stock, sequencing, repetitive processes, and work-order processing, all within one flexible system. Epicor CMS software allowed us to continue diversifying our business model, and pursue new strategic directions without having to worry about the system being able to handle the expansion," said Kevin Parks, senior manager, corporate materials at Woodbridge.

Epicor delivers

The first plant to install CMS took the team about three months. After streamlining the process so that the master files were pre-configured and downloaded to a plant installation prior to go-live, the installation process was shortened to about four weeks. Woodbridge can now implement one plant per month. "We decided to go with the 'train the trainer' approach. We had our key users trained by Epicor, and they did the plant-level training. We really wanted to immerse people in the system and make sure that the users got very knowledgeable very quickly," said DuBeau.

"We now have 21 plants using the software. All of our plants in Canada are using CMS, and most of our US and Mexico operations are also running the system. The next step of implementation is taking the system to our plants in Australia," said Noel.

The key CMS modules used at Woodbridge are the financial, production, shipping, receiving, customer service, and purchasing modules. Woodbridge is also using Epicor event-based reporting system and EDI. "The CMS system has allowed us to do real-time reporting at work centers. There's no more batch processing, and all reporting, for example for scrap and production, is done in real-time. A big benefit for us is the complete integration that we now get between our manufacturing system and finance. Our old system wasn't integrated at all," said DuBeau. "One of the biggest benefits that not only am I thrilled about, but others have been very impressed with, is Epicor Customer and Vendor Portal. Our vendors who are not EDI-enabled, are connected to us via the Customer and Vendor Portal software where we publish our production schedule to these vendors online, and they enter information on sent shipments. This information is automatically transferred to our CMS software, eliminating errors and all paperwork, and speeding up the workflow," said Parks.

"CMS allowed us to continue diversifying our business model, and pursue new strategic directions without having to worry about the system being able to handle the expansion."
Kevin Parks, Senior Manager of Corporate Materials

Bright future with Epicor

Woodbridge continues to be impressed with Epicor. The ability to run multiple plants in various countries within one system has also been a great benefit to Woodbridge. Due to the functionality of CMS, Woodbridge is now looking at centralizing some of their currently decentralized operations. "The CMS system is the keeper of all our data. We're working on tightening the integration between CMS and some of our other internal systems, as well as looking into bringing multiple sites up on centralized databases. It's great that we have this option with CMS, it flexes with our changing business procedures," said DuBeau.

"A benefit with Epicor is that they have great relationships and existing integration with other leading third-party software suppliers that allow us to easily expand the capabilities in our CMS software," continued DuBeau.

"Time is our most precious commodity. If I can make our internal processes more efficient, and free up people's time, even if it's five minutes here, five minutes there, I have the ability to reallocate my manpower to more value-added tasks. The CMS system has allowed us to do this; it has allowed us to become more efficient internally, and to continue growing and expanding," said Parks.

About Epicor

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.



Success Highlights:

Challenges

  • Growth and diversification of business
  • Achieving operational consistency across the entire enterprise
  • Efficient electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions across the entire supply chain
  • Implementing a single source of data for all the critical data at Woodbridge

Solution

  • Epicor CMS, an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for manufacturing

Benefits

  • Ability to support the diversification of the business, and handle various products within one flexible system
  • EDI transaction capabilities, and easy-to-use customer and vendor web interfaces
  • Time savings across the entire enterprise
  • Increased productivity and closer collaboration with customers

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