Ultra Services on Project
About Knox Machine
Located in Warren, along the coast of Maine, Knox Machine Company is a make-to-order (MTO) machining operation that provides precision, close tolerance machined parts, mechanical sub-assemblies, and pre-packaged component kits.
The manufacturing and strategic supplier serves numerous industries, including the defense, communications, oil and gas, aircraft/aerospace, power generation, and plastics industries.
For more than 40 years, Knox Machine has been providing high-quality, close tolerance machining
Before working with Ultra’s team of independent ERP consultants, the company’s processes consisted of an awkward combination of a homegrown legacy software package, Excel for inventory control and reporting functions, and various manual processes for material planning and shop floor execution.
The company also used a separate accounting software package for financials (general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable) with another solution for quoting, order entry, purchasing, shipping and job costing. The company had outgrown its cobbled-together system and found that data did not easily move from one business process to another, requiring multiple entries of the same data. Lacking was an integrated view of the business and had no true process flow among the stand-alone systems.
All manufacturing planning and execution was paper-based, leaving the door open for human error. Furthermore, it simply could not access the data needed for projections and business forecasting. As a pertinent example, employees keyed in the same part numbers multiple times over and over again just to get them entered correctly into the system, causing frustration and inefficiency.
“Ultra prepared us very well for the ERP selection and implementation of the ERP project, from a current state, education, and future state standpoint. It was well worth our investment in Ultra, in their content and processes, for the long-term.”
Sensing the need for an integrated all-in-one solution, Knox Machine had initially selected an ERP solution and put a great deal of work into it; however, after laboring over the deployment process for many months, the implementation failed.
Knox Machine ultimately realized that the process of selecting and deploying a successful ERP solution involved more than just dropping in a software package to be implemented by a small core group. It involved significant business transformation from the front office to the back office operations with across the board buy-in by all employees.
Ultra aided the education and buy-in process right from the start. Employees saw how serious Ultra Consultants were about improving the business processes and realized how successful the future state could be.
They appreciated the consistency of information displayed across screens, as well as the way the engineering masters and work orders are built and presented on-screen.
Results and Recommendations
The business process improvement project delivered significant value to the company. With their make-to-order manufacturing and ERP system in place, Knox Machine has experienced positive results:
- 40 percent improvement in reporting.
- Elimination of data manipulation within the shop.
- Reduction of hours required per order from two hours to two minutes. Knox Machine required system flexibility to handle their customer kitting business.
- Improved shipping execution, no longer having to rely on internal, personnel-based knowledge to ship their products.
- Automated planning and scheduling replaced manual systems. The Knox Machine team felt that Ultra had fulfilled its role as a trusted advisor throughout the entire project.
- Data transparency has given the company better knowledge of areas needing improvement where they can increase profitability.
The company offered this endorsement of Ultra Consultants and the company’s positive return on investment: “Ultra prepared us very well for the ERP selection and implementation of the ERP project, from a current state, education, and future state standpoint. It was wellworth our investment in Ultra, in their content and processes, for the long-term.”- Jon Maxcy, Vice President,Knox Machine
Ultra Services on Project