Metal finisher enjoys real-time costs picture from ERP for the order-driven business
When Rosler Metal Finishing hung out its shingle in Battle Creek, Mich., in 1999, its enterprise application needs were relatively few. As a manufacturer and distributor of machine tool consumables on behalf of its German parent company, Rösler GmbH, simple spreadsheets and a basic accounting package cut the mustard.
When Rosler Metal Finishing hung out its shingle in Battle Creek, Mich., in 1999, its enterprise application needs were relatively few. As a manufacturer and distributor of machine tool consumables on behalf of its German parent company, Rösler GmbH , simple spreadsheets and a basic accounting package cut the mustard.
But when Rosler started making engineered-to-order metal surface finishing machinery that had previously been shipped over from Germany, those enterprise application needs became much more complex.
“Quite soon, we saw that we needed an affordable manufacturing system—and one with a strong engineer-to-order capability,” says Rosler IT Manager Ross Jones.
A verbal recommendation—buttressed by the fact that a Rosler competitor was using it—led the company to look at Jobscope , which offers an ERP solution specifically aimed at the requirements of engineer-to-order manufacturers of capital equipment such as machine tools.
“The more we looked, the more we liked what we saw,” recalls Jones. “There were some really neat features that we wanted to take advantage of. The job costing was good, for example, and it was independent of the general ledger, which for us was a huge plus.”
Project managers building a new machine, he explains, typically want an up-to-the-minute picture of the costs accruing in any project. Cost accountants, on the other hand, tend to view costs on an accounting period basis, sometimes posting them in batches as the month end approaches.
“Ledger-based engineered-to-order systems can be an administrative nightmare to work with, as they force you to open a ledger for each outstanding job or project,” says Jones. “Jobscope works the same way that we do.”
With just five licensed users at the deployment's onset, Jobscope delivered on its promise, and users now total 30, Jones reports. “We've made some acquisitions, and we are implementing Jobscope in those too,” he says.
Such testimonials aren't news to Hank Sanders, president of Jobscope. Founded in 1981, the company's user base is split 50-50 between IBM's AS/400 and Microsoft Windows platforms, with a handful of users still on the original elderly Hewlett-Packard HP3000 platform.
“The functionality of the core product is very strong, and these days a key focus is helping users leverage that functionality to deliver even greater value to their businesses,” concludes Sanders.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.