Written by Simon Sharwood
Auckland-based Filtercorp is a manufacturer of filters for applications including dust extraction, liquid filtration, air-conditioning and industrial ventilation. In these days of global pandemics and health and safety concerns, filtration maintenance and upgrades are considered essential. Filtercorp business is one of the largest specialist providers of such a critical service in New Zealand.
The company manufactures many of its products and also offers an engineering service to design, implement and maintain filtration solutions for its customers.
Filtercorp’s customers are diverse: its filtration products suit small businesses such as panel beaters, but also find users in very large factories or environments like airports where air quality is important for customer safety and comfort.
Recently Filtercorp diversified its operations into a patented flexible connector used in the pharmaceutical and food manufacturing industries via a separate entity called BFM Global Ltd. BFM has one product that is unique around the world and has been in existence for 18 months. It is currently exported to 17 countries via 10 distributors.
The Patented BFM® fitting is comprised of two elements — the standardised BFM® Spigot and a suitable BFM® flexible connector. This system solves many of the problems experienced with a standard hose clamped flexible connector. Customers around the world are realising their obvious advantages and sales are booming.
A desire for integration
Prior to Epicor, Filtercorp had acquired customer relationship management and manufacturing management software to oversee its manufacturing and sales processes. Both were adequate, but there was no functional integration between the two applications and the database on which they relied was no longer supported by its vendor.
The company also lacked an engineering management package, software it was felt would help to further improve efficiency and wanted a single system to manage the affairs of both Filtercorp and BFM Global.
“We wanted to join all of the company’s divisions, so that records would be more visible and we could more closely integrate the business’ operations,” explains Kevin McPheat, Filtercorp’s Operations Manager and Director. “We wanted to improve customer service in relation to product re-ordering,” Kevin says, adding that Filtercorp also wanted “a single platform for improved financial reporting, plus better selling price calculation for manufactured items where multi-volume quoting is a requirement.”
Filtercorp was also looking for better forecasting tools.
“We have 8-12 weeks lead time for our products,” Kevin explains. “It is very hard to know where the next order is coming from and we have 4000 parts in our part master — 3000 of these we manufacture ourselves.” More data about the company’s sales and production pipeline was therefore a priority, as better forecasting had the potential to translate into less unused inventory, improving cashflow and the company’s overall position.
Why Epicor ERP?
Filtercorp selected Epicor ERP as its new, integrated, application platform after assessing competing products and deciding that Epicor ERP offered the best mix of specialist functionality and integration required to meet the company’s aims.
Filtering out the Benefits
Filtercorp says that Epicor ERP has made a positive difference to several areas of its operations.
“We are measuring profitability better,” Kevin says. “We are much faster at preparing our accounts and can measure financial performance in more ways.
We can graph budget vs. actual sales expenses vs. sales at the push of a button. “One member of our team has written more dashboards and we are working on full management reports that will be created automatically each week straight out of the system."
Better sales tracking
The company is also able to track its sales and service efforts.
“We can now watch how effective customer services people are by monitoring the number of orders entered each day. For the first time we can count the number of calls made by sales people so we can see if they are meeting their targets.”
Filtercorp’s sales manager can see all of this data, plus information about how many quotes have been issued by each member of the sales team, an improvement that ensures the company can accurately forecast future demand and revenue and meets important objectives for the Epicor ERP implementation project.
Another improvement enabled by Epicor ERP is more accurate quoting.
“The quoting module in Epicor ERP means we now have better costings because our bills of materials are accurate,” Kevin says. “We are now confident that if we shave the price then we know what our gross profit will be,” knowledge that the company did not always previously possess.
Overall, Kevin says that Filtercorp’s work is done with more accuracy. “We are capturing better data and have better visibility, which leads to better decision making.”
The company is now considering the implementation of Epicor’s Portal module, to allow employee self service, especially for sales people to smooth out the order entry and other processes. Filtercorp also plans to continue exploring Epicor ERP, as Kevin recognises it offers more useful functionality the company is yet to implement.
“When we started I didn’t really know what to expect except that there was a huge amount to Epicor ERP. I haven’t found anything that Epicor ERP won’t do for me. I may have to buy a new module or write a business activity query or a dashboard but at the end of the day Epicor ERP will do it.”
Boost your business with COGITA and Epicor ERP -
Come and visit us at the National Manufacturing Week Exhibition on stand L173.
COGITA is exhibiting the hottest ERP solution from Epicor at the National Manufacturing Week taking place at the Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park, from Tuesday 11th May to Thursday 14th May 2010.
Save time in the queue and register online now: http://www.nationalmanufacturingweek.com.au/en/visiting/register-to-attend/