Abatement Technologies grows and gains momentum with Epicor ERP
Jan. 11, 2016 - Abatement Technologies is a worldwide designer and manufacturer of air abatement products that remove harmful particulates, bioaerosols and volatile organic compounds. Since its founding in 1985, more than 10,000 environmental abatement and HVAC contractors, commercial building owners, facility managers, and hospital infection control specialists have selected Abatement products to “clean the air” in millions of buildings.
The business situation
In the past few years, the company has expanded its business to support the manufacture and distribution of a wide range of product consumables and accessories. These include filters for the removal of mold, fire and asbestos that are capable of removing 99.99 per cent of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
As a result, the company’s product line has grown substantially from more than 300 SKUs to a few thousand today, and its supplier base has grown accordingly; today Abatement collaborates with more than 500 suppliers.
As well, the company continues to grow its customer base and its market share, and has taken on more international business. Abatement sells and showcases its products around the world; for example, just this past year the company participated in the Arab Health 2014 Congress in Dubai, U.A.E.
The company has plants in Ottawa and Markham, Ont.; most recently, Abatement opened a new location in Montreal, Que., and will soon open a facility in Dartmouth, N.S.
“Abatement Technologies is a company on the move,” says Jonathan Baldin, operations manager. “We’re experiencing 15 per cent year-over-year growth. We felt very strongly that it was important to make the right investments in our ERP system to ensure our production could keep up with sales.”
A long-time Epicor user, Abatement recently upgraded to the next-generation Epicor ERP solution to support its manufacturing and distribution operations in hopes of continuing to “deliver products with leading design, performance, quality and reliability to its growing global client list.”
Epicor ERP boasts a robust financial management suite and support for engineer-to-order manufacturing and distribution operations to help Abatement better manage costs, control inventory and optimize business assets, while also promising to improve operational efficiency across its multiple plant locations.
Nearly everyone at Abatement uses the system — from customer service for order entry to sales and marketing to IT, finance, purchasing, production floor personnel and engineering; even senior executives say they find value in the system’s reporting capabilities.
Epicor estimating/quoting and order management is helping the company get sales orders processed faster and easier, and be more responsive to customers, says the company.
Abatement also relies heavily on the MRP capabilities within Epicor ERP. “The MRP functionality is a huge time saver for us, and is very easy to use,” says Baldin, who notes more than 98 per cent of its customers’ orders ship within 24 hours — with many orders shipping in only a few hours.
Management and sales reps can now remotely access inventories on their mobile devices and the ability to support full order entry capability from the field will soon follow.
Financial operations at Abatement have also benefited from the new system. Previously, transactions were exported and manually entered into the general ledger to prepare company financials; today this is all done in Epicor ERP. Even the company CFO uses the inventory Web reconciliation to put together monthly reporting. Financial decision making is also added via the Epicor ERP invoice aging section, which Abatement’s finance department leverages for credit decision support; this helps the organization ensure it is extending the appropriate credit and terms to each customer.
And Abatement just recently installed Advanced Financial Reporting (AFR) — much to its finance department’s delight — which is ideal to support financial reporting for entities with multiple plants.
Partnering for success
Abatement has partnered with Six S Partners, a Platinum member of the Epicor Inspired Partner Network, for many years.
Six S Partners first supported Abatement during its initial limited use of an early version of Epicor in 2008, and more recently in helping the company select, implement and train on the next-generation Epicor ERP solution. This most recent upgrade was completed in a six-month timeframe.
“We’re extremely pleased with the support we’ve received from Six S Partners. We had access to a tremendous wealth of expert resources in all key areas of the software—a finance pro, a sales pro, and others very experienced in production and distribution,” says Baldin.
“During our original Epicor deployment, we had no knowledge of how to set up an ERP system. Six S Partners did all the ground work, and mapped all our work instructions and processes; as a result, we had a much lower learning curve,” he adds.
Six S Partners provided training to get employees up and running. Additionally, Abatement leveraged the Epicor University embedded education courses — self-paced courses with hands-on labs and embedded education — to streamline training and overall implementation.
According to John Preiditsch, president and CEO of Six S Partners, Six S Partners strives to be much more than a tech software training house. “Our service and insights are provided by reputable experienced staff members who have worked in similar operating environments and roles, contributing years of operating experience to business improvement projects.
“By focusing on People, Process and Technology — in that order — we help align and motivate the client’s project team to own and support change management initiatives along with the end-to-end processes. Through the use of the Epicor Signature Methodology, we help the client envision a ‘shall be’ environment that is supported by value stream scripts that the customer can further refine and test supporting greater hands-on comfort for their pre-live testing and process documentation.”
When Six S Partners first met Abatement, Preiditsch says the company had separate finance and manufacturing systems and struggled with the dynamics of operating out of more than one location. “In launching the project we supported their lean initiatives with software and helped design efficient processes that would support a more scalable environment. During their implementation, they expanded to add locations across Canada and the U.S.”
According to Preiditsh, Abatement’s mix of make-to-order manufacturing and distribution is well addressed by Epicor ERP through the software’s multi-site support, and value-added core business competencies such as MRP and Lean manufacturing.
Abatement went live in June 2013 when the province of Alberta and the Toronto area were inundated with severe flooding, causing widespread evacuations and billions in damages. As a result of having Epicor ERP in place, Abatement says it was able to gain greater visibility into orders and supply chain related inventory items as the events unfolded. Epicor ERP was used “extensively” to help address the spike in demand for the company’s products, which are used in the cleanup and abatement of mold and water damage directly related to floods.
“Epicor ERP has allowed Abatement to grow rapidly without adding additional overhead,” said Preiditsch. The company has achieved savings in finance, and manufacturing and distribution operations, and has gained the agility to “react and respond to business and customer needs and requirements.” Abatement says it has “proven that companies who invest in process innovation are bound to thrive when others just try to survive.”
Our staff often shares the Abatement story as a testament to all of the many benefits that can be gained through Epicor ERP,” continues Preiditsch.
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