Shop Profile: Epicor Software Corp.

November 9, 2017 No Comments
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Helping to Transform Dalsin Industries

by Melissa DeBilzan

toc_features50pxDalsin Industries got its start as a sheet metal fabricator in 1945 when manual machines, rotary phones, typewriters, and file cabinets were essential to everyday operations. Fast forward to today. Almost every aspect of the shop is digital – from machines to communication to documentation – and nearly all tasks are visible in real time through a common software platform.

On Dalsin’s shop floor, machines communicate with one another to maximize efficiency, sharing data on cycle time, quality, scrap, and downtime. Employees see actual costs of a job in real time. Management can forecast machine capacity several weeks out to make timely and informed decisions. Among other functions, Dalsin creates sales orders, documents engineering methods, tracks materials, and bills customers using a single system: Epicor ERP 10.

Digital transformation is sweeping through the manufacturing industry as businesses position themselves to capitalize on the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics, cloud technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and more. A recent study showed that 75 percent of best-in-class companies use an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution to enable digital transformation.

DATA TO ACTION

There was a time when only large manufacturers could afford ERP software. That’s no longer the case. Today even small job shops can track inventory, processes, costs, and other aspects of the shop floor for less than they might pay for electricity each month.

“Some of the most significant challenges we face are increasing customer demands from the standpoint of technical ability, documentation, and service lead-time being reduced, but yet wanting it all for less,” said Keith Diekmann, vice president of technical operations. “The cost is very competitive out in the market today, so we must maintain our competitiveness through having technology reduce the time to get the product to market.”

As a mid-size shop in Bloomington, Dalsin relies on Epicor ERP 10 to manage its entire manufacturing operation, from point of sale to final delivery for each job. Unlike some systems, Epicor ERP is scalable and designed to meet the unique needs of small and mid-size manufacturers.

Dalsin tried a different ERP system for a short time, but returned to Epicor. “We eventually figured out we couldn’t track our costs on the jobs accurately on that system,” recalled Jeff Dalsin, IT business analyst for Dalsin Industries. “You could only do one quantity for a quote at a time, and we couldn’t see the actual costs of a job in real time. This caused some concern and some problems, because we didn’t know exactly how we were performing on our jobs.”

With Epicor ERP, Dalsin is able to view information streamlined from a number of different departments and operations to make better business decisions. If a customer proposes a large project, for example, Dalsin can enter the information into the system and do a what-if analysis overnight to determine which work centers are available, how long they’ll take, what level of staffing is needed, and other details.
In other cases, Dalsin relies on business activity queries (BAQs), which provides real-time data on virtually all aspects of operations. “We need to be able to create dashboards so people can have quick information on their screen,” Dalsin said. “That flexibility allows us to get the answers to the people that need them as soon as possible. It can be about anything— from what jobs are late, to a certain operation, to what’s ready to ship so they can get it out the door.”

The ability to customize the software to meet customer requirements is key. Dalsin can create its own query tools to institute guided work flows or automate certain processes, such as email, so employees can focus on more value-added tasks.

“Another thing that we run into, for instance, is figuring out when we need to purchase additional equipment,” said Dalsin. “Epicor allows us to see how many hours are on our shop load, how many hours we’re getting off the load, and how efficient we are against using that machine so we can better justify purchasing equipment – when we’re actually outside our capacity – to help us get additional capacity to satisfy customer needs.”

ACTION TO RESULTS

Epicor ERP 10 has made it easier for Dalsin to adapt to new manufacturing methods, changing customer requirements, and evolving business strategies. In recent years, it has grown into a full-service metal fabrication contractor, offering everything from robotic welding to 3D printing. In 2013, Dalsin opened a second operations and production center in Phoenix, Ariz., with facilities exceeding 220,000 square feet.
In 2016, Dalsin won the Minnesota Manufacturing Award for “Best New Product” for its own Memphis Wood Fire Grill, complete with an integrated Wi-Fi controller to adjust temperatures. The consumer product is built in house using a broad array of capabilities, including metal bending, punching, laser cutting, welding, finishing, electro-mechanical assembly, Wi-Fi networking, product testing, and certification.

“For us, the customer’s experience is the reason we’re here. Each and every time, we must engage our customers responsively, interact with them, and provide them with products and services that meet or beat their expectations,” concluded Gary Fruth, Chief Executive Officer. “Epicor has helped us evolve on how we keep up with our customers and put us in a great position to help us grow as we embrace the future of manufacturing.”

ABOUT EPICOR

Epicor Software Corporation specializes in driving business growth. A  global leader in software solutions for the manufacturing, distribution, retail and service industries, Epicor provides flexible, scalable and customizable systems to manufacturers around the world. With 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 companies.

Epicor ERP offers a modular approach with robust capabilities focused on reducing costs, streamlining processes, and improving customer responsiveness across the enterprise – all top priorities toward achieving continued growth and profitability. It is available on premise, hosted, or in the cloud.
Recently, Epicor acquired DocStar, a leading provider of enterprise content management systems, to augment planning and project management.

With an office in Minneapolis, Epicor training, implementation and support is convenient for Minnesota manufacturing customers. pm_endmarkblue-e1320337140493

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MELISSA DEBILZAN is a writer for Precision Manufacturing Journal. She can be reached at melissadebilzan@yahoo.com.

Copyright © 2017 Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. For permission to use or reprint this article please contact Nancy Huddleston, publications manager for Precision Manufacturing Journal.

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