Helping Midmarket Manufacturers Deliver the Goods

Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One is the new choice for midmarket batch, make-to-order, mixed-mode and discrete manufacturers to run their organizations – and adapt to the new disciplines of lean, demand-driven manufacturing. SoftBrands, drawing on over 25 years of manufacturing experience with more than 2,000 international manufacturing customers, worked closely with SAP to integrate its powerful Fourth Shift product with SAP Business One. Now, from its headquarters in Minneapolis, MN, and offices in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa, SoftBrands is poised to support emerging and dynamically growing companies.

Turn “hopecasts” into forecasts

Rapid growth is a great problem to have. It challenges companies to deliver on their promises, and to avoid stumbling over themselves as they do it. Every process is a potential landmine on the critical path to delivering goods. So growing companies, often with a patchwork of systems for forecasting, managing, tracking, shipping, and communicating, get stretched to the limit. They must graduate from “wing and a prayer” management, shouting from cubicle to cubicle, and homegrown workarounds. They must turn “hopecasts” into forecasts, putting integrated management systems and processes in place to grow with controlled vigor.
Randy Tofteland, SoftBrands’ president and COO, says “Manufacturing companies come to us when they reach a level of growth that demands more formalized and integrated management systems than they currently have. With Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One, companies add discipline to their forecasting, get a handle on inventory practices, and build and deliver what customers want at the right time.”
In addition to the desire to improve their management capabilities, many midmarket manufacturers are part of a large supply chain that is standardized on SAP. They must perform as best-in-class specialists within a multi-enterprise network of partners. It’s imperative to find a solution in the SAP family that is scaled appropriately for their needs. Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One is the right fit for companies with ten to several hundred employees.
And finally, according to Tofteland, the third major reason companies come to SoftBrands is for plain old customer service. For instance, manufacturers know they can’t delay a technology upgrade when their customers demand that they support EDI and RFID capabilities. Fourth Shift Edition for Business One supports midmarket manufacturers on a growth path that keeps pace with these technology developments.
Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One, now commercially available, is already hard at work helping midmarket manufacturers expand and grow with disciplined processes and state-of-the-art technology. Here are three companies that are ready for new growth with this powerful set of software applications.

Topy Precision Manufacturing turns up the heat on production

Topy Precision Manufacturing, located in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, supplies precision spring steel fasteners, nuts, clips, collars, rings, retainers, grommets, washers, wire bands, pins and circlips to the automotive and electronics industries. Topy’s reputation depends on the ability to deliver the quality for which they are famous, so they have invested heavily in their facility. Their processes run on automated, high speed presses, utilizing progressive dies, from complex stamped components on a precisely controlled, cost-effective basis. Efficient, precision forming and tapping operations, plus degreasing and other secondary capabilities, make theirs a self-contained, internally controlled manufacturing operation.
Topy looked to SoftBrands to help them improve efficiency and productivity gains in manufacturing and materials management. It was vitally important to them that their business systems match the quality of their plant and equipment.
Right out of the gate the implementation of the Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One enabled Topy Precision Manufacturing to work with integrated, consistent and real-time business information on which to base decisions. “We are confident that the depth of Fourth Shift’s manufacturing functionality and the benefits of SAP’s global strength and resources will help us increase our competitiveness,” says Paul Lindon, production control coordinator at Topy. “This technology is a critical component of our growth strategy.”

Flexicon Corporation bags a winner

Flexicon Corporation, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of bulk handling equipment and custom-engineered and integrated plant-wide bulk handling and processing systems. Their products are used to transport, discharge, fill, weigh, blend, deliver, and/or feed a broad range of powder and bulk solid materials.
Its broad range of reliable, high-performance equipment includes conveyors, bulk bag fillers and dischargers, weigh batching systems, dumpers, silos, and other storage vessels. Depending on their needs, Flexicon customers can choose equipment crafted out of carbon steel with durable industrial finishes, or stainless steel designed and constructed to industrial, food, dairy or pharmaceutical standards.
Flexicon also custom-engineers automated, plant-wide bulk handling and processing systems that integrate Flexicon equipment with bulk handling and process equipment from other manufacturers.
Flexicon asked SoftBrands to help them improve business information in order to make better decisions and increase competitiveness. Their primary focus is on achieving efficiency and productivity gains in information integration, manufacturing, and materials management.
“The implementation of the Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One enables Flexicon to consolidate bills of material, improve communication between the shop floor and back office, and provide integrated information across the business. In today’s globally networked, demand-driven economy, the Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One is what we need to support innovation and business growth,” says Gwen Cryan, office manager, Flexicon.

Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods cuts the mustard

Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods of Fredericksburg, TX, is a family-owned company that offers over 75 varieties of award-winning gourmet jams, jellies, mustards, and gourmet condiments. Proud of the down-home goodness of the products it has produced for over 35 years, Fischer & Wieser has evolved from a Texas roadside peach stand into one of the most respected specialty food companies in the industry. It still produces its original Estella’s Peach Preserves. And today, Fischer & Wieser has expanded its family of brands to include Fischer & Wieser Gourmet, Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce Co., Timpone’s Organic Foods, Oasis Specialty Foods of Austin, Fischer & Wieser Presents Texas on the Plate, and the newest line entitled Four Star Provisions. In addition, Fischer & Wieser provides production capabilities for other companies’ products.
Fischer & Wieser knew that the Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One could help them continue expanding into markets hungry for their products. Their goal: to improve operational efficiency so that they can continue to focus on what differentiates them from their competition. In addition, their new solution will increase Fischer and Wieser’s responsiveness and agility in the dynamic specialty foods market.
”We are particularly pleased with the capability that Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One gives us to enhance our customer service experience and our competitiveness,” says Dan Sechrist, Fischer & Wieser’s chief financial officer. “We now have the disciplines in place to grow our wholesale, retail, and online businesses with specialty tastes that are as big and diverse as Texas.”
These three companies and others like them are profiting from the new Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One. It’s a perfect choice for midmarket manufacturers looking for a simple yet powerful solution that allows an immediate and complete view of both business operations and customer activities.
For full details on Fourth Shift Edition for SAP Business One, go to
Find out more about SAP Business One solutions for midmarket enterprises at
Read about Topy Precision Manufacturing at
For more on Flexicon go to
Find out more about Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods at

Christine Macfarlane
Christine Macfarlane