SAP: A fluid implementation for a Canadian manufacturer
The Company: Lynch Fluid Controls Inc., a Canadian manufacturer of motion control manifold systems, is known in the industry for high quality system design, first-class manufacturing and diverse integration. With the largest dedicated manifold design team and the most automated manifold manufacturing plant in North America, Lynch’s systems support a variety of industries, including aerospace, mining, oil & gas, forestry, material handling, construction, entertainment, military, medical and many more.
The Challenge: Lynch’s management team knew they were overdue to replace an outdated ERP system that could not grow in the way the company envisioned. Their terminal-based system had many limitations in the areas of reporting, material & resource planning and end-to-end process integration. Gavin Lynch, chief information officer, says, “We were looking for a solution that would solve complex problems like real-time data acquisition and reporting, forecasting, business intelligence and mobile access, all within a system that was visible and accessible by everyone at Lynch.”
The roadmap for a technically advanced ERP system was far more complex than an upgrade of their old system. One of the challenging tasks of the ERP migration was moving away from old methods and accepting new and improved business processes and functions. During the migration, Lynch improved the efficiency of the business by redefining job roles and responsibilities, increasing the visibility of all operations using reporting capabilities, adopting paperless methods and automating what once were manual, tedious and time-consuming tasks.
The Strategy: Lynch implemented SAP Business All-in-One, a business management solution as well as an analytics tool, SAP BusinessObjects, with the help of SAP partner Contax Inc. By leveraging industry best practices built into the solution, Lynch increased visibility into their business areas and procedures with minimal customization. With SAP’s advanced data management, Lynch realized newly acquired reporting and forecasting opportunities. Lynch describes SAP as, “the best ERP system that incorporates strategies employed by some of the biggest and most successful organizations in the world. In places where SAP was different from our current process, we were generally open to making the leap to standard SAP functionality. We didn’t want to customize SAP to be backwards compatible to our old ways. Nothing would be gained by doing that.”
For phase one, Lynch implemented the Materials Management (MM), Financial Accounting (FICO), Sales & Distribution (SD) and Production Planning (PP) modules. Together, these application components carry out most of Lynch’s current business processes while providing the ability to extend such processes according to the changing needs of their rapidly growing business.
Part of the strategy for their successful go-live was recognizing what the company could support on day one. Lynch says, “I am confident that an outsider could ask any one of our staff about what they think of SAP and the response would be positive.”
The Results: Now, after six months of running SAP, Lynch is seeing better control over the production process, inventory management and job costing. Customer service has also been improved with more accurate quotations and up-to-date order status using SAP BusinessObjects. With their growth plan still on track for expansion, company officials feel confident that their SAP foundation gives them a better view of goals and obstacles that are down the road.
A version of this case study ran as part of the 2012 Software Case Study Guide in the September 2012 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.