Growth is a great sign of success in business, especially for small businesses like Franklin Valve. Growth also comes with complexity: business processes become more complicated, resources get stretched, and new challenges arise.
Founded in 2003, Franklin Valve serves a wide range of industries including oil and gas, utilities, and aviation. The company is dedicated to high-quality products and exceptional customer service, which has resulted in quick growth. From 2012 to 2014, revenue increased 130 percent and the company began to outgrow its facility. To keep up with demand and sustain its quick-paced growth rate, Franklin Valve decided to move its operations to a much larger facility.
Growth Brings Challenges
Soon after moving to the larger space, Franklin Valve realized the manual processes it used for locating and counting inventory were not going to scale. The number of pallet locations in the new warehouse increased 60 percent. Finding and picking parts from thousands of bins became time consuming and difficult. With up to 30 unique parts required for a typical valve assembly, it could take up to an hour to find and pick the items for just one valve.
Clearly, the manual inventory processes needed to change. The shop-floor team needed an efficient, automated system for finding, counting, and picking parts in a large warehouse. Business processes in other departments would also need to change to be successful. The company couldn’t streamline inventory if it would cripple accounting. Franklin Valve wanted an integrated solution that would simplify business processes and reporting across all operations.
To meet its needs, Franklin Valve decided to implement an end-to-end ERP solution covering purchasing, planning, production, inventory management, and sales support. It also integrated a mobile warehouse management system to simplify inventory transfers and cycle counts.
Franklin Valve can now instantly track and locate its most precious asset – its inventory. The company is also saving thousands of dollars in time. New bar-code scanners make it easy to quickly see what is in each bin and move items as needed. A complete physical inventory can now be handled by one person. A clever visualization tool also makes it easy to see an exploded view of a part number and its relationship to all associated bills of materials, simplifying invoicing, deliveries, purchasing, and more.
Inventory and accounting transactions are now fully integrated, improving the data quality, accuracy, and speed of reporting. Simple drag-and-relate functionality in the system makes it easy to generate customized purchasing, customer, and vendor reports in real-time. In addition, a built-in query manager enables Franklin Valve to closely monitor inventory levels and maintain optimum quantities year round.
Prepared for the Future
Franklin Valve’s new ERP system is a flexible, scalable platform ready for the future. No matter how many more bins and parts find their way into the warehouse, the system will keep pace and the shop floor will be in control.
Sales, purchasing, and finance are benefiting as well. Real-time inventory data helps drive sales and plan production accordingly. Shipping and receiving transactions are simpler and more efficient. From a financial standpoint, real-time inventory management improves the accuracy of cash-flow forecasting and frees up capital.
“From receiving goods to shipping finished products, every phase of the process is efficient and reliable with SAP Business One. We’re a small company and this project was a major undertaking. In the end it was a big success.” Brittani Collins, Warehouse and IC Manager, Franklin Valve L.P.