Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Exact: ERP manages inventory, workflow for specialty valves maker

September 11, 2009
By André Voshart

THE COMPANY: Armour Valve Ltd., headquartered in Toronto, supplies specialty valves, accessories and process equipment to the oil & gas, power, petrochemical and wastewater industries. It also has an office in Calgary dedicated to servicing the Western Canadian marketplace.

In recent years, double-digit growth intensified the need for information to manage performance. Until 2007, it generated reports and key performance indicators (KPIs) from 24 Lotus Notes databases, all separate from its financial package. Response to customer, supplier and internal inquiries was hampered due to the lack of an integrated database. Metrics and reporting depended on manually transferring data from one system to another, increasing the potential for error and weakening the company’s ability to identify trends and respond to problems early. In 2006, Armour Valve drafted a mission statement to achieve integration and real-time information for improved decision support. With sales reps spanning the continent and suppliers worldwide, an integrated global system made sense.

THE STRATEGY: After an extensive search, it chose Exact Software’s enterprise solution. In 2007, the company implemented Exact Globe, Synergy and Event Manager, and in 2008, Exact Business Analytics (EBA). The company customized its front-office processes with Synergy SDK (software development kit) and is currently working with Globe SDK to introduce custom elements to its core back office processes.

THE RESULTS: Since implementation, metrics have flowed automatically via customized EBA dashboards. Analysis is multi-dimensional by company, cost centre, sales rep, sector, product and manufacturer. Meanwhile, notifications from Event Manager have increased visibility of process gaps and informed task prioritization. According to marketing manager Liz McBeth, customer service has improved and operations have been streamlined. “Having a central integrated database allows us to retrieve information quickly and be more responsive to customers, suppliers and internal stakeholders. The system encourages collaboration in new ways thanks to a cross-enterprise view of the business,” she says.

Benefits also come from integration of all four systems. For example, the sales team uses Synergy on the road for access to 30,000 contacts, plus real-time sales and scheduling information via their mobile devices. Globe ERP allows the company to conduct business seamlessly with faraway customers and suppliers. It functions as a financial, inventory, project and workflow management tool. Event Manager automates processes, notifies and frees users for higher priority tasks. “We wanted consolidated metrics gathered from both companies that could easily be filtered to focus on single company performance,” McBeth says. “Exact has enabled us to provide KPIs via custom dashboards to any level of the company in real time for access to performance data whenever needed.” With Exact’s suite of systems, real time metrics became a reality, steering the company toward more growth.


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