Packaging solutions specialist supports end-user versatility with an ETO/CTO business model
Small companies like De Pere, Wis.-based Campbell Wrapper routinely rely on key people who are well versed in a number of functional areas. “I wear multiple hats here,” says Todd Goodwin, VP of finance and administration for the privately held manufacturer of horizontal flow wrappers and feeding equipment.
Small companies like De Pere, Wis.-based Campbell Wrapper routinely rely on key people who are well versed in a number of functional areas.
“I wear multiple hats here,” says Todd Goodwin, VP of finance and administration for the privately held manufacturer of horizontal flow wrappers and feeding equipment.
Goodwin also manages human resources, field service, customer support, and aftermarket sales—as well as finances. The engineer-to-order (ETO)/configure-to-order (CTO) company long relied on a computer platform and software that all but disappeared from the market: ASK Manman ERP running on a VAX platform from DEC.
Information Goodwin needed to stay atop his myriad responsibilities was mostly available only in voluminous printed reports.
In August 2006, Campbell Wrapper started its search to replace its antiquated business systems. Topping the requirements list was a system that would support its ETO/CTO model, and cost out the customer orders on a project basis.
Campbell also wanted a system that could ably carry it well into the future, so the focus was on systems running in the Microsoft .NET environment. The company narrowed the field to three, and in August 2007, it selected Visibility .NET ERP from Visibility Software .
“We chose Visibility because it supported engineer-to-order of complex products, and is written in .NET,” Goodwin says. “A number of companies said they were planning to go in that direction, but rather than wait, we wanted to go directly to .NET so as not to have to convert two or three years down the road. Visibility having SQL Server as the database was a bonus. ”
Visibility .NET ERP also supports Campbell Wrapper's aftermarket parts business, which makes the company a true hybrid rather than strictly an ETO/CTO operation.
“The speed of working in a Windows-based system is a great aid,” says Goodwin. “We have more than 200,000 parts, and you can type in a part number and it pops up in seconds. Before it would take 20 minutes or more.”
Goodwin especially likes the system's rapid drill-down capabilities.
“Searches are much easier—whether its parts, sales orders, or bills of material,” he says. “General ledger inquiries come much easier as well. Instead of doing manual printouts, the information is readily available online.”
Workers can keep multiple Windows open at once, facilitating multiple views by toggling back and forth. But especially appealing to Goodwin is the personal portal capability that enables him to tailor his main desktop Window with ready access to all the critical functions he's responsible for.
“Using my portal makes it extremely convenient,” says Goodwin. “I don't have to memorize multiple commands to get to a certain function that I need to perform. Now they're all available at the click of a mouse. All this enables me to focus on other things that add value to the company, such as doing more variant analysis—things I didn't have time for before.”
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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.