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Based out of South Central Maine, Auburn Manufacturing is an industry leader in the manufacture of high performance coated textiles and composite fabrics for extreme temperature applications. We sat down with their IT Manager, Joy Campbell, to talk about their business challenges prior to implementing WiSys and how an integrated Warehouse Management System has changed Auburn’s operations for the better. Here is what she had to say.

Why did you choose to work with WiSys?

Our Macola reseller, Acuity, recommended WiSys to us because it integrated with the ERP we have been using for quite a few years – Macola ERP Software.

What were your challenges prior to WiSys?

Our challenges were mostly with customer service and shipping. Customer service would get a phone call from a customer wanting X, Y or Z. We would check out inventory and it might show 1 roll but 99% of the time it wasn’t there. Customer service would have to check with the production manager who would then call the shipping department who would then have to sort through 8 aisles of cloth to see if they could find that one roll somewhere.

What were your biggest challenges during implementation?

The biggest challenge during implementation was making the time. We made sure that we got input from our people on what would help make their jobs easier. We have three different locations, so we included our plant supervisor and shipping department in the layout process as well. The main office is also the manufacturing plant and then we have a warehouse that stores some of our goods and then another warehouse that does all the shipping and processing. So we have a lot of back and forth handling of materials. We kept everyone informed at monthly plant meetings. It helped that the communication was there and they weren’t scared to ask questions. That was key.

At the end of December 2008, we decided to zero out our inventory and do a physical count by scanning everything into the new system. We set all the rolls up with barcodes so we were ready to go. It was amazing to watch our employees work with WiSys!

How has WiSys solved your business challenges?

WiSys has already paid for itself and then some! Customer service is very pleased. If a customer calls now they know right where things are, how much is on a roll. They no longer have to make two calls to a customer.

Our inventory is now reliable. The shipping department can just look inventory up on their scanner and know right where things are. That is huge for us.

We also have bank audits twice each year and they have been really amazed. It used to take us at least half a day to do the audits for the inventory portion. Now we are down to an hour to hour and a half. We used to have to do physical counts at the end of each year, this year our accountants are going to let us do cycle counting through the year with very minimal at year-end because we were able to prove to them that the adjustments were small at year-end. We used to take a whole week and shut down shipping and production. The past three years it has been down to 3 days. Now we may lose one day of shipping and production. So it has been very efficient.

Our on-time delivery is about 98-99%  and our shipping is up about 25% from last year.

Watch the video below for Auburn’s full story.