“We’re in a highly competitive industry with very low margins, and rely on operational efficiencies and process improvements to remain competitive.” —Abraham Kurian, Vice President of Information Technology, Wetherill Associates
ERP migration helps create consistent global processes
The automotive aftermarket is one of the most intensely competitive industrial sectors in the world. New entrants and market price-sensitivity keeps margins low, so operational efficiencies and improvements are vital to keeping companies ahead of the competition.
Since 1998, Exton, PA-based auto parts company Wetherill Associates has grown significantly, both organically and through acquisition. It now controls a network of multiple manufacturing and distribution companies across Europe and North America, and has expanded into associated markets including motorcycles, lawn and garden products, power-sports, and marine systems.
In the spring of 2008, the company began a major global initiative to create a set of more consistent operating processes and procedures across the organization, starting with its North American operations. Wetherill had been a Baan ERP user for nine years. By that time, 60% of the system had been customized, making rapid changes and upgrades difficult to implement.
The company decided to upgrade to a new ERP solution from Infor, aiming to streamline current business systems to a single business solution with minimum modifications to the system code. It also wanted to create two different logistics and finance companies, but have them still share specific tables.
The system was implemented on Jan. 1, 2009, and has delivered significant operational improvements and efficiencies by streamlining processes and procedures. Around 60% of the previous customizations were eliminated in the migration, and a warehouse management system was integrated into the new ERP platform.
The migration has also had significant returns across the organization. It has saved the company $800,000 through better supply chain integration, reducing the time of order entry from eight seconds to two seconds and resulting in a $100,000 saving. Other achievements include improvements in managing the bill of materials, worth $150,000; reductions in response times for users; and savings of 300 hours a year in order processing and 250 hours a year in finance reporting.
“We’re in a highly competitive industry with very low margins, and rely on operational efficiencies and process improvements to remain competitive,“ explains Abraham Kurian, Wetherill’s vice president of information technology. “These conditions very much impacted the requirement to move forward with the project and use the new functionality of Infor ERP LN to streamline current operations and stay competitive.”