Introduction

 

Founded in 1966, States Industries is a privately held hardwood panel manufacturer located in Eugene, Oregon. They employ close to 500 people, including millwrights, electricians, press operators, finish line technicians, and management. They maintain bills-of-material for more than 400,000 constructions, and typically add 10 new ones daily, each to meet very specific applications. In addition to their Eugene site, States also operates a panel processing plant.

 

In 2013, States was using an antiquated, highly customized ERP system that was not fully integrated with their services, causing inefficiencies across the board. SSNW  was brought in to evaluate and identify the best solutions to streamline the quote to order creation process, as well as overall changes to workflow via a new ERP system. 

 

After careful analysis and prototyping, States decided to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 along with Experlogix CPQ configurator to support their sales, manufacturing and procurement processes.

History

 

States’ existing ERP software, BPCS, was nearly obsolete, not integrated well with their product configurator, and causing inefficiencies in the sales process. Customer quote generation was cumbersome, requiring Engineering to perform price buildup and check material availability, both of which were managed offline. In other areas, the ERP system could not isolate the freight component of delivered prices. Raw material orders were triggered through offline processes that tracked supply and demand in spreadsheets, and Purchasing was not up to date with the information required to steer vendors to the best product.

 

There were workflow inefficiencies as well: while panel construction rules were collated in an engineering manual, sales would routinely ask Engineering instead of using the manual. Furthermore, due to the integration issues, this same manual was not up to date with engineering decisions made on the fly. Finally, capacity planning only occurred at a high level, resulting in promised delivery dates accurate only to the week.

Challenges

 

  • Fully integrate software, workflows, and processes under one ERP platform

  • Provide a flexible, scalable infrastructure for growth with limited need for supplemental systems and customizations

  • Perform transformations while maintaining current operations 

 

Solutions

  • Implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 as central ERP platform

  • Implementation of Experlogix CPQ as a specialized product configurator

  • Implementation of SSNW’s in-house Forest Products Industry solutions for Dynamics AX and company workflows

  • Additional process changes

Results

  • SSNW calculated tangible benefits of close to $2 million annually

  • Realized significant shifts in on-time deliveries and quite turnaround

  • Created an easy to use web portal

  • Eliminated a lot of manual inefficiencies

  • Created a platform that provided integrated, real-time, accurate data

  • Through training, provided a competitive structural advantage for all employees

Software Plan

Primary

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

  • Generates customer quotes instantaneously through an integrated product configurator, allowing rapid creation of new products with BOMs and routes.

  • Systematizes panel engineering rules in the cloud, streamlining the quoting process. 

  • Included delivered pricing in the quoting process itself, which is tied to AX Transportation management. 

  • Improves the ability to sell and schedule to constrained capacity and promise delivery dates based on CTP functionality. 

  • Improves metrics for vendor management via a scorecard based on both material price and product quality.

  • Allows for the integrated implementation of Advanced Warehouse Management

Third-party solutions

Experlogix CPQ configurator

  • Fully integrated with AX out-of-the-box

  • Simultaneous and continuous updates with Dynamics AX

  • Rapidly configures price and quote product

  • Minimizes maintenance via the Experlogix rules engine

Process and workflow improvements

Standardized freight rating, routing, and allocations to sales order items

 

Developed processes and tools to evaluate supplier performance

 

Implemented SSNW Forest Products Industry solutions for Dynamics AX

  • Sales support for delivered pricing, multiple units of measure, freight and margin analysis

  • Production optimization with scheduling by product attribute and production reporting/tagging

  • Workbench for manufacturing personnel o Hardwood layup batching and tagging

Game Plan

Over 3 months, SSNW’s team was kept small and organized around Microsoft SureStep’s standard gated implementation methodology. This allowed for a clear, staggered timeline gated along well-defined stages.

Toward the end of the project, SSNW helped create some basic training materials. The project went live in February 2014.  

 

 

 

 

Strategic Solutions NW

 

Strategic Solutions NW is a tight-knit tech and management company headquartered in Beaverton, OR with clients around the world. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, we specialize in integrated software implementation and recovery, approaching every solution with a business-wide approach. Our repertoire includes creating and managing accounts software for 500 million dollar manufacturers, specialized forest product experience, and longstanding partnerships with a swathe of major software vendors. Led by three partners with decades of experience in software and business solutions, we approach each client with a long-term relationship in mind, providing continued support and communication beyond project timelines.

States Industries overhauls ERP, smoothes out wide variety of integrations, and streamlines daily workflows