Part II: Gearing Up for Growth

Why Manufacturers Are Looking to Cloud ERP

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Whether it’s organic and anticipated, or rapid and unexpected, for many executives, organizational growth is a road trip without a map. They’re confident they’re headed in the right direction. But they’re unsure how far they are from their destination, how many times they’ll have to stop for gas, and whether they’ll encounter any construction or hazards along the way.

Such is the case for long-time manufacturers Avon Gear and EaglePicher Technologies (EPT). When faced with the opportunity for expansion, executives from both organizations realized they lacked the data visibility required to make long-term decisions and plan for growth.

In the first part of this series, we showed how Avon Gear turned to cloud ERP to make demand data, inventory counts, production details, shipping statuses, and other key data available to all stakeholders in real time. Now, let’s turn our focus to EPT, an aerospace and defense (A&D) manufacturer that used the cloud to free up cash to take advantage of new opportunities.

EPT has always used a supplier consignment process on products for the U.S. government, a key customer of its aerospace and defense products. The company launched an automated online inventory management system within its cloud-based ERP system—and soon realized a host of benefits.

By only paying for inventory when it is consumed, EPT reduced inventory valuation requirements by an impressive $350,000 within the first 18 months. This increased net income on EPT’s balance sheet and improved the company’s cash flow. And because EPT’s new supplier consignment inventory model integrated perfectly with its production, sales, and financial systems, the company simplified reporting, streamlined internal processes, and eliminated the need for double data entry.

In all, EPT’s new online inventory management system freed up nearly $1 million within the first nine months—cash that the company applied to powering its continued expansion. But the benefits of the project extend far beyond the bottom line.

“The supplier consignment inventory project was critical in helping EPT establish even better relationships with its customer base,” explains Dan Mullins, a senior IT project manager who served as EPT’s lead on the implementation team. “We achieved greater customer satisfaction with the new online inventory management system by housing within one source much of the information we need to address questions, reconcile inventory and provide timely feedback in customer and financial audits.”

The Common Thread for Success in Cloud ERP

Both Avon Gear and EPT turned to the Plex Manufacturing Cloud to position their organizations for growth while reducing IT spend.

“Plex is the most versatile solution to use in a manufacturing environment,” says Avon Gear’s Matt Korth. “It helps us stay organized and suits our growing needs. Plex allowed us to manage operations efficiently with the minimum resources required. Without Plex, we wouldn’t have been able to handle our impressive growth.”

Perhaps most important, these growing manufacturers can be confident their cloud ERP systems will grow with them.

“Following the success of our supplier online inventory management system, we’ve also launched several other Plex projects including proposals, project management, sales quotes, RFQs, and key metrics,” said EPT’s Mullins. “At EaglePicher Technologies, we’re constantly looking for new system improvements, and with Plex Systems, there is always flexibility to expand and enhance what we have.”

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