Global competition, enterprise conglomeration and a powerful desire to deliver the highest-quality products are potent challenges facing many chemicals manufacturers today. In addition, customer satisfaction remains at the forefront of the industry and is crucial to success and continued growth.
To meet these challenges, Summit Industrial Products, one of the Klüber Group companies and an industry leader in the development and manufacture of quality synthetic lubricants and other industrial products, has capitalized on its rapid worldwide growth and kept up with high product demand by implementing the proper enterprise technology infrastructure, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution from Ross Systems. In doing so, the company enhanced organization-wide visibility and improved its order turnaround by 50 percent, now fulfilling orders in less than one day.
Summit first looked to reevaluate its technology infrastructure when delivery lead times started to slide. With an increase in new product lines with highly complex configurations, inventory tracking and labeling became increasingly labor-intensive. The company also faced challenges coordinating individual product and business transactions with two of its sister companies, one located in another state and the other in another country.
In addition, the growth in demand was making it increasingly difficult to manage each stage of the manufacturing process to ensure internal and customer expectations were being met. Summit needed to consolidate its enterprise processes such as labeling, lot traceability, regulatory compliance and order fulfillment, all on one platform, allowing employees to focus on customer service.
The Search for a Solution
To keep up with global demand, Summit needed a technology solution to streamline its processes and help the company focus on delivering superior products in a timely manner. In early 2001 Summit conducted a widespread search for an ERP vendor. The company was looking for a partner that had a deep understanding of its process manufacturing needs, especially because of its unique product ingredients and compound configurations. Summit selected Ross Systems’ iRenaissance software solution for its superior technology platform, deep functionality for the process industries and multi-lingual capabilities.
“In the search for an enterprise software vendor to meet our needs, we found Ross’ solution to be more technologically advanced and robust than any other system on the market, while also very easy to use,” said Kelly Starr, vice president of finance for Summit. “Ross gives Summit control over all materials and products throughout the entire manufacturing process, ensuring products meet internal, regulatory and customer expectations.”
The private labeling functionality in iRenaissance enabled Summit to custom-tailor the product labeling process, allowing tracking and delivery of both standardized and customized products. Summit could effectively manage its database of goods, easily categorize and organize its list of products and track them every step of the way, from raw material procurement through shipment.
In addition, the Internet-based technology foundation that the iRenaissance suite is built upon provides easy adaptability to changing business models and communications innovations. The browser-based technology platform enabled Summit to achieve connectivity among iRenaissance and other internal and external enterprise systems, devices, people and processes, providing easy coordination between all sites.
ERP Makes it Possible
In just six months, Summit improved inventory tracking and labeling protocol, and streamlined its order processing. The levels of customer satisfaction improved significantly with increased shipping order accuracy, and the company improved its order turnaround by 50 percent, reducing it to 24 hours within six months of implementation.
Summit has consolidated its enterprise processes such as labeling, lot traceability, regulatory measures and shipping, all on one platform, allowing employees to focus on meeting critical service levels for its customers. The company also significantly decreased its finished goods inventory, essential to improving the efficiency of its private label business. Since going live on iRenaissance, Summit has decreased its finished goods inventory by nearly 7 percent while increasing sales by 48 percent and production output by more than 65 percent. iRenaissance provides Summit with organization-wide visibility, from finance to manufacturing to distribution, allowing streamlined production and distribution operations.
Enterprise-wide visibility provides Summit with the tools needed to better coordinate production scheduling, inventory management and order fulfillment among the company’s three sites in North America. With tighter production management and inventory control, Summit can easily track business activity between its sister locations in New Hampshire and Mexico, including order processing, shipping and material handling. The supply chain applications in iRenaissance provide inventory management and logistics capabilities across multi-company, multi-division or multi-site environments enabling Summit to store materials for its sister sites and quickly manage the distribution of each order placed while consistently meeting customer expectations.
“With the convenience of iRenaissance at all three sites in North America, we are better able to work together to meet our customers’ needs,” said Starr. “In our warehouse here in Texas, we can store materials, process orders and place shipments for our sister company in New Hampshire, knowing that each order will be shipped in a timely fashion. It’s this inventory management and visibility that helps Summit be a leader in its industry.”
Chemical companies such as Summit also need to monitor and manage critical manufacturing processes. As the market continues to demand new, improved and safer products from chemicals manufacturers, companies like Summit must comply with evolving regulatory guidelines and industry specifications. With iRenaissance, Summit now has better control of its manufacturing operations and can detect and address variability during any stage of its production cycles. iRenaissance enables Summit to ensure regulatory compliance, formulation, process and cost control and guarantee product quality by providing end-to-end traceability throughout its supply chain.
“The key focus in our business is delivering superior products in a timely manner,” said Starr. “Ross helps ensure each specialized lubricant and chemical Summit produces are of the highest quality, meeting all necessary requirements. There is incredible value in knowing each product is guaranteed to meet our high standards upon shipment.”