ERP Consolidates Order Management, Slashes Ops Costs for Texas Fabricator

March 3, 2020

Anchor Fabrication, launched in 1990, has grown to serve nearly every major industry from its campus in Fort Worth, TX, as well as its related companies located throughout the Southern United States. Together, Anchor Fabrication and its six total facilities boast more than 1 million sq. ft. of manufacturing space. Specializing in contract-manufacturing metal fabrication, the company employs a sophisticated one-stop shop combination of project management, engineering, laser and plasma cutting, welding, forming, machining, painting, and assembly to craft products of any scope from scratch to full assembly. This includes everything from the manufacture of parts to the completed assemblies used on flatbed trailers, fork lifts, campers and locomotives.

Through the use of an ERP system from Epicor Software Corp., Anchor Fabrication, even through recent expansions, has been able to employ a frictionless inventory and order management protocol while taking on a higher volume of daily transactions. The result: a 200-percent increase in productivity and a reduction in order-planning costs to the tune of $100,000 annually, according to Anchor Fabrication and Epicor officials.

“We’ve built a reputation within the metal fabrication industry based on our efficiency and ability to quickly execute on a variety of services,” says Hector Robles, vice president of manufacturing at Anchor Fabrication. “During site visits, customers often tell us that they appreciate our ability to quickly look up almost any particular part’s manufacturing history along with the number of times we’ve built those specific parts.”

Why? Because Epicor ERP reportedly allows Anchor Fabrication to combine all work-order data into a single job without the need for manual human entry.

“Anchor likes to inform employees with the most concise data and the best information possible for every job that goes to the floor,” says Jason Davis, Anchor Fabrication vice president of sales. “Epicor really helps to keep all that information together in one spot.” 

Anchor Fabrication’s rapid delivery of manufacturing orders is due in part to its ability to perform dynamic nesting, made possible by Epicor ERP, which allows the metal-shop team to take work orders and perform them concurrently through integration with Service Connect--an integration platform for secure workflow tasks within Epicor service-software applications and between Epicor and non-Epicor applications. The ERP system examines all orders assigned to a certain machine and notifies the Anchor Fabrication team if any orders are a fit for simultaneous execution. 

“Many metal fabricators only perform a single service--welding, cutting, coating--but Anchor Fabrication saw an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition,” says Terri Hiskey, vice president of global product marketing at Epicor. “It has strategically positioned itself as an all-in-one metal fabrication service provider, and as a provider that can complete customer orders faster than single-service competitors.”

The ERP system provides a big assist in that positioning. Anchor Fabrication began using Epicor ERP solutions in 2007 after determining that a previous software product could not provide the required flexibility in scheduling orders and making needed changes to orders in process.

“The feature I appreciate most about the ERP solution is that you can make it into whatever you want,” says Tom Delicati, Anchor Fabrication director of information technology. “It actually accommodates the way you do business whereas other ERP packages make you adapt to their features. This is especially important for us since we have five separate sister companies, which all do things a little bit differently.”

The ERP system in place at Anchor Fabrication operates as the backbone of the organization in providing everyone with access to needed and desired information, according to Delicati. This includes the flexibility offered by an onsite SQL server that instantaneously merges data augmented from the company’s own sources with the information generated by the ERP system.

With company-wide manufacturing and financial transactions rising from 180,000 in 2014 to more than 300,000 in 2016, due to expansions, the company can “seamlessly handle the extra work without the need to hire extra staff,” Delicati says.

For instance, one employee is still more than enough to process all accounts receivable invoices and the associated paperwork in about 4-5 hr./day despite the ever-increasing volume and demand, he offers.

Another ERP benefit noted by Delicati: Development of a customized intranet that leverages the ERP database and allows employees at all five companies to see complete customer histories and order details on “one concise set of tools that loads incredibly fast and is accessible anywhere,” he says.

On the production floor, employees now can view the priority order of jobs and their specifications onscreen instead of checking with supervisors, saving time and increasing daily job output.

Industry-Related Terms: Forming, LASER, Nesting
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms


See also: Epicor Software Corp.

Technologies: Management


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