A sticky situation

An ERP system maximises warehouse throughput and supply chain operations, writes Gillian Yeap.

If you work in an office, you may have used stationery made by Croxley. The New Zealand-based manufacturer supplies Collins diaries and cal endars, Bostik glue sticks and Pilot pens to retail outlets and wholesalers in Australia and the Pacific Islands. In 2002, Croxley recorded revenues of $100 million and was then acquired by Office Max, one of the world’s largest stationery suppliers.

A need for integration

According to chief financial officer, John Gabriel, Croxley’s fragmented IT environment was struggling to keep pace with the company’s growth plans. It had outgrown its disparate, heavily- customised systems and identified the need to integrate its financial, sales, manufacturing and distribution information onto one platform.

“We cast the net widely and considered a variety of systems,” Gabriel said. “While most packages could handle the distribution aspect, not many systems could also handle specific manufacturing requirements. It came down to just a couple of poten tial systems – of which Pronto was one,” said Gabriel.

“We found that Pronto was the most user-friendly and from a manufacturing perspective it could accommodate most system requirements, which set it apart from other packages. That was the main reason we chose Pronto.”

Shortly after Pronto Software was selected, Gabriel assigned a core team of 12 staff to focus on managing the implementation of PRONTO-Xi, working alongside a dedicated Pronto consultant. In October 2006, PRONTO-Xi went live –– on time and on budget.

Managing efficiencies

As a result of deploying PRON TO-Xi, data is much quicker to access and easier to analyse. “We now have a much deeper visibility of key accounts, such as sales and stock integrity reports,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel has also been impressed with PRONTO-Xi’s Warehouse Management System that has reportedly reduced its order-to-dispatch cycle.

“Pronto provides better tools to be able to manage and track our stock better, which has sub sequently reduced our inventory level and boosted our stock integrity,” Gabriel said. “Overall our service delivery to customers has improved because we are managing and replenishing our stock more efficiently.”

As a manufacturer, Croxley’s planning systems are at the centre of its operations, but previously time-consuming manual systems were highly resource-intensive.

“We used to rely heavily on spreadsheets for our manufactur ing planning and costing sys tems, but now it’s all comput erised. This has greatly boosted productivity and allowed us to take on new challenges as we are less focused on administration,” Gabriel said.

Further utilising PRONTO-Xi’s functionality is on the agenda for Croxley, with Gabriel flagging the prospect of using the new Manufacturing Scheduler fea ture, which provides a visual pic ture of workload versus available capacity. This is said to allow warehouse managers to system atically manage, prioritise and optimise projects on the manu facturing factory floor.

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