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Continental Materials Improves Inventory and Shipping Status Visibility
Continental Materials Corporation is a holding company for six wholly owned subsidiaries including Williams Furnace Company, McKinney Door and Hardware, Castle Concrete Company, Transit Mix Concrete Company, Transit Mix of Pueblo, Inc., and Rocky Mountain Ready Mix Concrete, Inc.
The six Continental Materials subsidiaries provide a wide range of products catering to the heating and air conditioning (HVAC) and ventilation industries and construction industry. Its construction products accounts for half of all sales: it produces ready-mix concrete, aggregates, metal doors, and related products sold primarily to contractors, government entities, and consumers in Colorado. Continental Materials' HVAC segment makes wall furnaces, console heaters, fan coils, and evaporative air coolers marketed to wholesale distributors and retail home centers throughout the Southwest region.
Continental relied on an outdated manual inventory management solution. With the paper-based system, it often took a week or more to generate completed work order final status reports. Since data entry was manual, accuracy was also a serious issue.
Lack of visibility into their warehouse inventory and shipping operations was another main challenge. Continental's salespeople needed quick, accurate access to real-time inventory availability information. The corporation needed to increase service levels through visibility into shipping and inventory processes, reduce administrative overhead, and improve data accuracy. Simply put, they needed an automated data collection solution.
RFgen was the clear winner from both price and performance standpoints. Continental implemented its first RFgen software data collection solution in 2006 which interfaced easily with their JD Edwards EnterpriseOne software using reliable, easy to use PSION handheld scan guns.
RFgen provided 30 hours of professional services to Continental's small IT department to get them started. Continental made additional changes to mold the application flow to their unique business processes. The transactions which facilitate interaction with JDE run 'out of the box' with RFgen saving the considerable amount of time needed to create the necessary macros from scratch.
Continental Materials uses the JD Edwards Super Backflush manufacturing module which provides the ability to complete parts against a particular work order. When Super Backflush is processed, the work order is automatically updated, the raw material is issued, time entry is processed, and the finished goods quantity is increased.
With the RFgen Sales Order process is now in production, Continental implemented a pick and ship process allowing them to pick confirm (hard commit the inventory) and ship confirm (relieve the inventory) from the warehouse. Several other business units at Continental now want to expand the RFgen footprint and deploy it for receiving and purchasing.
Not only has the RFgen solution markedly improved visibility into Continental's inventory and shipping information, it also made everyone using it more efficient. Their previous paper-based system, generated more than eight hours a week creating work order completion records. With RFgen, the reports are automatically generated eliminating manual data entry and increasing data accuracy dramatically.
RFgen brought flexibility to Continental's organization. In contrast to more typical vendor scenarios, RFgen allows the data collection processes to drive the software instead of the software defining the processes and forcing changes in company procedures.
Continental also had great things to say about RFgen support services. "The RFgen service and support team was very responsive," explained Ryan O'Neal, Business Systems Analyst for Continental Materials. "We hit a roadblock back in 2007 when we were upgrading our JD Edwards software from version XE to 8.11. We found a bug in their new Super Backflush software module that wouldn't allow us to do work order completions. The glitch could have brought our operations to a standstill. We talked to JD Edwards but the fix was not going to be available for several months. We called RFgen. They were able to create a work-around for us in just one day. RFgen kept us productive!"