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Customization Simplifies Tracking and Processing
Fischler and Dicke also call out the software’s Global Applications Builder module, which enables users to cus- tomize the software without changing the underlying code. For example, CSS attaches multiple certifications when ship- ping most products. Previously, this required using a work order to manually track the certifications for all raw materials and outside services used on a job.
CSS also has created custom downloadable dashboards,
including one called Outside Processing, which provides a quick snapshot of every job sent out for processing and when it’s due back. Other custom dashboards include ship- ping, purchasing, sales history and shipping/sales order.
When it comes to tracking costs, Fischler says that the seamless integration of the Job Costing Accounting software enables financial documents to be produced more quickly and accurately while providing the company with a better handle on costs. “The accuracy of costs in the system helps us determine what to sell a part for,” he says. “We also can look at parts that have the lowest margins to see where we can improve processes or what we can do to fix the prof- itability of any particular part.”
Global Shop Solutions:
Cloud ERP by Plex, Now with Mobile
Several more software innovations are available for metal fabricators looking to improve efficiencies. Among them—cloud ERP by Plex Systems, Troy, MI. The system delivers the software as an elastic, flexible service without the need for internal IT infrastructure management. And, when it’s coupled with mobility options, the combination is powerful.
Examples of this come from Plex customers that find cloud-based ERP to be a tool for fast, inexpensive scanning of inventory. Some have moved almost exclusively to mobile tablets in the factory, running the Plex Manufacturing Cloud over an Internet browser. For scanning, metalformers use small, inexpensive consumer-grade scanners linked via Blue- tooth to those tablets. Others create their own scanners, perhaps by combining an Apple iPod running the Plex Man- ufacturing Cloud mobile application with a Bluetooth sled, creating a touchscreen scanner that also runs ERP.
Most recently, the company released Plex Mobile, a native mobile app that works as a seamless extension of the Plex Manufacturing Cloud. It enables workers to handle key
shopfloor and admin-
istrative responsibili-
ties, and access and
share relevant infor-
mation real-time from
mobile devices. Avail-
able for download
through the Apple
Store, Google Play and
Windows Marketplace,
the app features role-
based menus and
functionality made to
support specific oper-
ators and responsibil-
ities. This approach
improves workforce
efficiency and the
accuracy of data capture, while eliminating gaps in the man- ufacturing process for improved traceability. Initial app functionality includes:
• Shipping and Receiving, including customer shipping, finalize by container, finalize by shipper, and interplant shipping and receiving;
• Inventory Management, including cycle count; manage container, location, master unity and move; and search part location;
• Human Capital Management, including workflow man- agement, employee contact and support; and
• Production Management, including load and unload work center and record production.
Plex Systems:
Feature Upgrades by Epicor
The latest ERP version by Epicor Software Corp., Austin, TX, is the company’s third major release in the past 13 months. “Like its predecessors,” says Scott Hays, Epicor’s senior vice president of product marketing, “it delivers cloud-enabled, industry-specific functionality, globalization and localization, mobility, and action-oriented analytics, with continued improvements in customer experience, ease- of-use and performance.”
Marquee capabilities include mobile Field Service Automation (FSA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). FSA features integrated mapping to support opti- mized scheduling and dispatch, and robust workflows to automate processes for asset management; contract, war- ranty and service-level agreement; and management of serv- ice inventory. It can be used with smartphones, tablets and laptops for online and offline communications with the back office. This enables enhanced productivity and effi- ciency across all service workforce facets, allowing for improved response, reduced costs and improved customer satisfaction.
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