Epicor: Manufacturer improves efficiency and visibility with integrated solution
By Mary Del
THE COMPANY: Based in Port Coquitlam, B.C., Wesgar Inc. is one of the largest precision sheet metal manufacturers in Western Canada. The company’s slogan, "Artistry in Metal," reflects Wesgar’s innovative approach to manufacturing and its overall mantra. Wesgar prides itself on being the premier provider for companies throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with precision sheet metal requirements. In business for nearly 45 years, Wesgar designs and manufactures products for a wide variety of industries.
THE CHALLENGE: Wesgar began implementation of Epicor‘s Vantage manufacturing solution in 2008, and moved to the next-generation Epicor 9 enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution in June 2009.
"We wanted a modern manufacturing platform that offered better access to data for reporting and customization," explains Troy Richman, IT manager at Wesgar. "We also were looking for improved scheduling capabilities, and the ability to leverage fully integrated financials."
Richman says the move to Epicor took less than three months to implement and go live, and the process was pretty smooth throughout.
"Everything worked out very well," he says, adding that one of the biggest challenges was getting users comfortable with the system in a relatively short time period. "We definitely took advantage of Epicor’s online educational tools, and the onsite support from Epicor consultants who were at Wesgar for about a week and half."
THE STRATEGY: The company maintains a total manufacturing space of 80,000 square feet, and its 5,000-square-foot assembly cell has the capability to perform simple to complex mechanical and electrical assemblies. Richman explains that the company is "viewed internally and externally as a branch plant for each of our customers." The company’s goal is to ensure its customers become the most cost-effective manufacturers in their industry.
To achieve this goal, Wesgar employs state-of-the-art machining, highly skilled personnel and systems, as well as Lean Manufacturing practices combined with Continuous Improvement methods to simultaneously increase the quality, decrease the costs of component parts, and increase velocity to the market. Wesgar looks to Epicor’s fully integrated suite of manufacturing and distribution management solutions to help support such initiatives.
THE RESULTS: Among the new features of Epicor that Wesgar is leveraging is the solution’s streamlined graphical user interface, which enhances visibility of data by making it easier to drill down for more detailed information, and "right-click" features, which facilitate customized reports.
"Users know how to get the data they need. This is very empowering to them, and it saves me a lot of time not having to show each user how to find the information they are looking for," explainS Richman.
Integrated scheduling functionality allows Wesgar to schedule more resources more efficiently than ever before. It vastly improves the visibility and access to schedules throughout the plant, and reduces lead times.
Wesgar has been able to improve its operational visibility and efficiency via Epicor’s Material Requirements Planning (MRP) capabilities, which help manage materials consumed, forecast end-product requirements, adjust production as forecasts change, and generate suggested purchase orders to fill anticipated gaps in raw material inventory. For custom jobs, this enables Wesgar to closely manage costing of each set of production; and Epicor’s comprehensive Quality Suite automates the regulatory compliance process, helping Wesgar meet ISO requirements.
Richman also says the company has benefitted from Epicor’s integrated financials, which provide users with the ability to drill down into financial reports to provide the requisite high-level "big picture" information, as well as access to more detailed information for financial "power users."
"Prior to Epicor, our accounting was mostly a manual process," says Richman. "Now it’s all in one place, and we have visibility to all transactions. Our accounting group is particularly happy with the system’s support for FIFO (First in, First out) costing. We’re also now able to quickly see and track our estimated costs versus real costs, for improved financial control and management of the business."