Welcome to Sabre Limited. Our business is all about helping and consulting with manufacturing firms to improve their organizations through better technology. We sell the Microsoft Dynamics product line, specializing in Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. We have been implementing ERP in the manufacturing space in South Western Ontario since 1998, when we began helping companies with failed implementations of Visual Manufacturing ERP. Since then we have become experts with the Dynamics line, continuing to help struggling companies with their software.
You will find our latest blog postings below, news articles and reposts from interesting sources as well as links to Video we found relevant to ERP and Sabre. We hope you enjoy.
There are many companies running very old and outdated software systems to manage their operations. Often they do this because their IT person is comfortable with this system and doesn't want to change, or they are balking at investing in a new ERP based on perceived cost. What they neglect to identify is lost opportunity cost and the inefficiencies this is causing.
I worked with a manufacturer/distributor running on a very old AS400 batch update system. Inventory was not “live” but updated every 2 hours. Their customer service department did not have easy access to customer information or inventory. They could not drill into information to help their customers buy more as the system did not utilize Windows, requiring them to remember the customer number in order to leave the screen they were on to access additional data. Alternatives were in the customer service reps’ heads, not in the system. The inventory was not updated and was often out of stock due to the batch method and lack of forecasting abilities in the system resulting in many lost sales opportunities and a decrease in customer satisfaction. Plus, their employees were frustrated and unhappy.
Many in this company realized they needed a new system but were waiting for their IT Director to retire so they wouldn't have to rock the boat. But when? Don’t fall into this trap. Assess all the costs of retaining your current system. Talk to your employees. Talk to your customers. Make sure you can deliver the best customer experience and that you are optimizing each interaction by having an ERP system that fits your organization’s needs.
One of the most important elements of fitting a manufacturing ERP to a manufacturing company is identifying their MODE OF MANUFACTURING. Since I started working with manufacturing ERP here in Ontario in the mid 1990's - I have seen more failed implementations from a misunderstanding of these business needs than from any other. The Mode of Manufacturing is a term used commonly in APICS and other training materials, and refers to: how they get orders; produce product; and sell their product. I often find that the mode that best describes a company is a little hard to put my finger on, as many of these definitions have shades of grey between them.
One of the biggest problems managing computer science staff in a manufacturing business is that few if any in management are in a position to measure the quality of their work. Management generally relies on gut feel and reports from the very staff they are trying to measure.
Sabre recently added a new junior analyst to our team, John. John was present today in a presentation of some manufacturing processes in Microsoft Dynamics NAV (in particular, he was witness to an implementation training session of the ETO module we've developed for the ERP).
Picture this. You are a manufacturer of a complex product that contains thousands of components. You find out from the producer of one of the components that there is an issue and the component must be recalled. What do you do?
If you aren’t using an ERP system or one that handles serial and lot traceability, and providing your people have followed your processes and collected the data manually, then you have to find the time and resources to flip through all kinds of paperwork – work orders, purchase orders, packing slips, customer orders, etc., in order to figure out which of your products the recalled components were utilized on. And heaven help you if there was no manual tracking. This can take days and weeks to verify. And what happens if it takes too long or you simply don’t know? There are legal issues at play.
By implementing an ERP with serial and lot traceability functionality the serial #’s and lots of components are recorded as they are received from your vendors and placed into inventory. When the components are utilized on a product you can choose the proper lot or serial number and it will then be applied against the product. You can then drill down from your serial number sold to the customer and find out what components’ lot and serial numbers it contained. You will be able to run reports telling you where components were used so you know which customers and products are affected. Now you have the information in mere seconds.
Compare the costs of a potential lawsuit and the time involved in finding information to the cost of putting in a proper ERP system for your manufacturing operation. You don’t need to spend a lot to provide your organization with peace of mind and a huge time saver.
I have seen too many examples of manufacturers that don’t make preventive maintenance for their production machinery a priority by planning ahead and placing it into their ERP’s production schedule.
One company I know has been fortunate to win contracts that require their facility to run 24/7 on continental shifts. Because of this pressure to deliver they are foregoing preventive maintenance on their machines. The machines are continually breaking down which then puts stress on their maintenance department, the supervisors who are responsible for meeting their plans, and on the operators of the machines which are being blamed for the stoppages. Thank goodness their maintenance people are pointing out that it is not the operators at fault and that proper maintenance is required. But will management listen?
Think about the costs involved.
1. The big loss of production once something major occurs and the machines are down for a significant amount of time.
2. The ongoing loss of production from the daily stoppages and stop gap measures to keep the machines going.
3. The quality of the product due to the machine errors.
4. The human costs of hiring new operators and putting stress on your staff.
5. The possible loss of a customer due to non-delivery or quality issues.
A good production schedule has planned maintenance in it. Use your ERP system to take the time out of your production plan for maintenance. Keep track of your down time, the reasons for down time, and the costs involved in all planned and unplanned maintenance. You just may avoid a catastrophe and will have the proper information to make a fix or buy decision down the road. A little planned maintenance goes a long way to making you successful.
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