In 1990, the company decided to run its operations on Syspro.
"We went through a number of false starts before settling on Syspro," said company president John Hayward. "We used other ERP packages, and even tried to make one ourselves. When we realized what an immense task it would be to create and maintain our own ERP, we went back to the market and eventually chose Syspro."
The decision to invest in Syspro was based on three main considerations.
"Firstly, the work we do is highly varied - we're more of a job shop than build-to-stock. We felt that Syspro's Bill of Materials (BOM), Work in Progress (WIP), and Requirements Planning modules lent themselves well to a job-shop environment. Secondly, Syspro's integration of operations and finance was excellent - far better than anything else we looked at. Finally, we wanted to be sure that the ERP we chose would be properly maintained and supported. Many of the ERP companies we considered back then don't exist anymore. Syspro has stayed, and has supported its product very well," he said.
In recent years, the company has faced a major challenge - the strengthening of the Canadian dollar.
"That's put immense pressure on us to become more productive and to reduce our costs," said Hayward. "In response, we have been implementing Lean practices, which has a lot to do with leveraging our ERP. We underwent a very extensive business-process mapping project to find areas in which we could create efficiencies, and many of the ways we chose to streamline our business involve Syspro."
For example, Hayward Gordon has implemented electronic time tracking in the shop, and has automated its labour posting function.
"We get the tracking in real time now," said Hayward, "and by having Syspro do it, we've been able to eliminate a data entry position. We've also integrated Microsoft CRM directly into Syspro, thereby automating our order entry. Now people in the field can enter their orders automatically, eliminating the need for duplicate entry."
Soon, the company is hoping to implement electronic funds transfer (EFT) to streamline its payables.
"The timing for all these efficiencies has been good, because despite the market challenges, we've been seeing some growth. Getting more out of Syspro has allowed us to expand without breaking apart at the seams," Hayward says.
Leveraging Syspro has not only reduced costs, it has helped Hayward Gordon reliably meet its lead times. The company has compressed its lead times and made them more reliable, and taken advantage of the fact that processes which used to run consecutively can now run concurrently.
For example, when an order is entered, it gets reviewed and the credit check is triggered along with a customer number request - electronically and simultaneously. Previously, a paper file would spend many days travelling to multiple departments for approval before the order was placed. Now, if there's a problem with the order, action can be taken right away.
"It's much more efficient, and it's helping us serve our customers better," Hayward said.
Commenting on Syspro's ROI, he offers a useful metric: "We've seen our revenue per employee increase by around 65 percent in the past four years. You can't do that unless you build into your company the ability to grow sales without growing costs in lockstep. If you don't have the right infrastructure in place, your sales can cost more to make than they're worth. That's what productivity is about. If you have the right systems in place, it gives your company extra capacity without adding costs. That's how we've been able to measure what Syspro has done for us.
"We're very happy with Syspro - the product, the support and the ongoing development. The fact that we've been with it as long as we have says a lot. We continue to build it into our operations in a very important way."
Odete Passingham is marketing manager with Syspro Canada.