Manufacturer Finds ERP Benefits to be Far From Ho-Hum
There is a big difference between being part of an industry and being an industry participant. Little Humtown Products (based in Columbiana, OH) has followed the latter path for many years as a full-service supplier to the foundry industry. Last fall, for instance, Humtown Sales Manager Brandon Lamoncha participated in a manufacturing innovation roundtable hosted by America Makes (an American Foundry Society partner institute) and attended by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
Humtown is a family-owned business that opened in 1959 and specialized as a pattern shop (making replicas of objects to be cast) for several years. Eventually, though, the company expanded its services to better meet the needs of foundries throughout the Midwest.
Today, it offers sand core and mold manufacturing, CNC machining, 3D printing and laser scanning, as well as pattern work. Through its foundry customers, Humtown contributes to the manufacturing of parts and equipment used in industries as diverse as agriculture, construction, mining, national defense, public utilities and transportation.
Craftsmanship and attention to detail have always been important to Humtown workers. But in recent years, as the company has invested in additive manufacturing and other state-of-the art technologies, speed and customization have become just as important, especially when creating and processing orders.
To meet this challenge, the company upgraded its enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform in 2014 with Epicor ERP version 10 from the Epicor Software Corp. The software’s main appeals, according to Brendha Mohr, programmer at Humtown, are its ability to automatically create and customize project reports in real time, and easily integrate with third-party software.
“We can often quote a customer, have the quote approved, and begin making parts within 15 to 30 minutes,” explains Mohr. “Before, we had to look up everything, write it out and then create a job order.”
The software’s Service Connect feature lets workers quickly move a wide range of information in and out of the ERP platform. The Business Activity Queries function enables them to format a report with dozens of queries so they quickly find the right information.
“The query builder makes it easy to gather information and combine it into a single report. We used [to have] a few dashboards, but you had to constantly look back and forth between the files. Now, we have what I characterize as a three-dimensional-like look into the data, with everything right in front of you.”
Another software feature that Humtown workers like is the product configurator, which integrates a complex set of calculations to ensure accurate and competitive pricing. The workers also have the ability to program a project report to automatically update every 5 minutes.
Once an order is completed, packaging slips are automatically created in the ERP system to streamline shipping. Any changes to the order are instantly recorded in the notes section of the order form so users can see the updated information.
According to Mohr, the software has improved efficiency in every aspect of Humtown’s plant operations—from price quoting, shop floor production and invoicing, to worker collaboration, data visibility and management decision making.
For more information on ERP software, call 800-999-1809 or visit www.epicor.com.