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epic ERP keeps information flowing for Agriplas

“Accessing accurate historical data allows us to leverage the power of information when approaching customers. Analysing costing information that comes through the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, creates opportunities to reduce costs and adjust prices to be more competitive in the market. This type of information can also be used in our customer relationship management architecture to demonstrate improvements in lead times, stock availability and reductions in response times. This builds confidence in our customer base.”

 

Craig Matthew

Executive Manager: Operations

 

Company facts

  • Client – Agriplas
  • Location – Brackenfell, Cape Town
  • Industry – Agricultural water management solutions

 

Challenges

  • Paper-based, manual invoicing and workflow processes led to business process delays.
  • Difficulty in forecasting due to lack of data and information control.
  • Inaccurate stock management.

 

The solution

  • Epicor ERP

 

About Agriplas

Agriplas is a water management solution supplier to the agricultural, industrial mining and environment sectors. The company partially imports and partially manufactures its product range.

 

Modernising to accelerate performance

While Agriplas aims to supply perfect water management solutions as the basis for helping its customers grow their business, Agriplas was held back in achieving its own growth aims by inconsistent, inaccurate and delayed information. The result was persistent difficulty in forecasting and making important capital expenditure decisions to achieve a return on investment.

 

“We knew that manual business processes could compromise the sustainability of the organisation. It is my mandate to ensure that we are making the right investments and achieving a return on this outlay. Assessing business performance became more difficult because of the lack of visibility into key data,” says Matthew.

 

Crucially, historical data was often either unavailable or stored on disparate systems. “This meant management did not have full visibility of live and historical information, which delayed and hampered decision-making.”

 

Delayed information reduces agility

“Our market changes constantly.  In order to maintain excellent customer relationships, we need to stay ahead of our customers’ needs and stay relevant by developing new products and adapting our offering continually. We needed a system that could help us to remain agile and meet customer demands,” says Matthew.

 

The solution

“With Epicor ERP in place, each day that goes by adds to our database and improves our ability to forecast. We’re making informed business decisions, with improved business analytics which allow us to leverage our existing capabilities and to pick up anomalies quickly. That provides the basis for continuous business process improvement, which improves efficiency and drives down costs,” Matthew says.

 

The implementation

“Our focus is primarily on the logistics and manufacturing side of the business – from orders being placed and entered into the system. We are currently re-evaluating the way we configured the MRP module. Once we have reconfigured it to suit our internal processes, our focus can shift to enhancing our planning function. We used the Epicor ERP system to control jobs, bills of materials, transfers and receiving, including monitoring our production machinery. It has enhanced our operations control dramatically,” he says.

 

“The first step was to focus on getting Epicor Advanced MES live and then to go live with the Epicor ERP functionality. From the initial state the complete rollout took 12 months.”

 

Agriplas has been able to demonstrate significant improvements in costing, which has enhanced capabilities to identify cost reduction opportunities for the benefit of customers. “Drawing from historical data not only allows us to become more competitive on the costing front but provides easily interpreted breakdowns of the value our customers have reaped from using our solutions. This has been helpful in building customer confidence.

 

“We are also now in a better position to determine which stock we need to have available at any particular time of the year. This allows us to respond more quickly to customer needs. As a result, we are a more reliable supplier, which encourages repeat orders. If we could not forecast and predict accurately, our customers may go somewhere else. Regular use of the ERP system has been absolutely key to improving our operational excellence.”

 

Agriplas is now much more confident in stock management. “Stock is obviously an expensive overhead. At any given time Agriplas can hold millions of Rands in stock. If that is inappropriate or unsuitable stock, it could lead to write-offs. With the Epicor solution in place, we are now positioned to make smarter stockholding decisions – a significant benefit for the business,” says Matthew.

 

Seamless integration

According to Matthew, Epicor ERP will integrate with Epicor Advanced MES to provide seamless planning and scheduling capability. “At the moment we are manually planning our machines and scheduling, whereas once the MRP is up and running and the planning model is running properly, that will all integrate directly into the machine. As soon as an order comes in, the MRP will extract that information.

 

“Once the material is in store, the jobs will be created and then automatically scheduled. In terms of working directly with Epicor Advanced MES, Epicor will help us a lot.”

 

Strategic benefit

“The best part of having Epicor running in the organisation is that we have access to live information – an enormous amount of data that gives us the ability to make intelligent decisions. In general, together with ERP, we will streamline the system and empower our employees because it will be more user-friendly and efficient. It will provide all employees with information to help them make quicker and better decisions.

 

“What we have noticed is that working with Epicor ERP has significantly reduced time spent on certain tasks. Time spent doing stock management, cycle counts, stock counts and posting transactions has effectively been halved and the processes have been simplified. Going forward, we see Epic ERP partnering with us in terms of streamlining our processes. We use them as a sounding board where we discuss ideas and opportunities we see in the market. Through that integration, we can unlock new opportunities for improvement and new features that ensure long-term business sustainability.”

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