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Case Study: National Home Products

About National Home Products Manufacturers

National Home Products Manufacturer Attains Greater Efficiency and Reliability with RFgen Inventory Control Upgrade

An industry-leading company that manufactures world-class cabinetry for kitchens, baths and home organization products. Its diverse product lines are marketed to builders, kitchen and bath dealers, and retail home centers in the U.S. and Canada. They employ more than 3,500 people in the United States, Mexico, and China. The company attributes its explosive growth to a simple, cost-efficient manufacturing process that produces top-quality products at the lowest possible cost.

Snapshot

  • Industry: Cabinet Manufacturer
  • ERP: Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne XE
  • Application: Inventory Control, Distribution,
    Tool Management,
    PO Receiving

 


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The Challenge

national home products manufacturerThe company had previously purchased data collection software through a reseller that used MDLink to integrate with its JD Edwards system. Over time, MDLink became an outdated and unsupported software product. An antiquated system, it began to cause problems, disruptions in the company’s manufacturing and distribution operations, and system outages lasting more than 24-hours. It needed to be replaced in order for the company to respond to its growing demand and continue to deliver to its customers.

 

The Solution

After searching for a better data collection solution, the company chose RFgen Mobile Foundations for Oracle’s JD Edwards because it’s an open source mobile solution and has been validated by Oracle to integrate with JD Edwards. RFgen’s senior ERP consultant and project lead emphasized the importance of the RFgen data collection solution, “With our robust integration suite, we were able to transfer the company from older technology to a newer, more flexible technology that will easily grow with their business and allow them to do the things they need to do for their customers.”

Equally important, RFgen Mobile Foundations for Oracle’s JD Edwards supports all versions of JD Edwards, from 10 years ago to the latest release. When the IT director joined the company, his first challenge was to fix the MDLink issue. Data collection software was an integral part of the company’s manufacturing and distribution operations, but it clearly needed a better data collection solution to communicate with its JD Edwards system.

RFgen and one other software company were evaluated, but RFgen was chosen for several reasons. “Their reference checks were extremely good,” the IT director said, “and the cost analysis was equally good.” Also impressive to the IT director was the high-availability architecture of RFgen. “High-availability” refers to the system’s ability to survive and function in spite of single points of failure in the system.

The RFgen project lead began working with the IT director on the extensive migration from MDLink. “Even though the company had been using data collection technology for years,” the RFgen project lead said, “The migration represented a completely new implementation with considerable new functionality in a new transaction set. The entire process flow was very different because it was open source.”

The Result

The company’s IT director began by using RFgen on its shop floor for Inventory Issue for raw materials, and Inventory Adjustment, Scrap and Completion for cut components. “Our inventory on raw materials and cut components was completely off,” he explained, “because we didn’t have a way to track materials used. Sometimes workers cut the wrong material. Other times there were scraps due to warping.”
 

study-inner-national-home-productsImplementation was very successful, the IT director emphasized. “With RFgen, our inventory on raw materials and cut components became very accurate. We were even able to see the yield of each saw used to cut materials. We now know if each saw is producing 80%, 90% or 99% of its yield.”

Next, RFgen’s PO Receipts solution was implemented to give the company up-to-date inventory on purchased parts. “Before RFgen, our inventory on purchased parts was in the dark,” said the IT director. “Several hours lapsed before our inventory on purchased parts was updated in our system. Now, as soon as purchased parts arrive at the dock, we scan them in and know immediately, in real-time, what our inventory on purchased parts is. No more delays.”

Over the subsequent years, the company has implemented many more RFgen solutions including:

  • Pick, Pack and Ship displays items that are ready for pick, pack or ship confirmation. It also updates the status of sales order lines so the next step can occur.
  • Upgrade of ST/OT system manages internal transfers between the company’s manufacturing facility in Mexico and its U.S. facilities.
  • Tool Management Scanning scans tool changes. Now whenever a saw blade (or other tools) is changed, they know how long it has been used. Scanning provides the additional benefit of measuring supplier performance and quality.
  • Rack ID uses scanning to pinpoint location of inventory items. When workers put away components or raw material on a rack location, they use the RFgen “Inventory Transfer” function to scan both the location (rack) and the component.
  • Cage Project scans consumable products. The cage on the shop floor has consumable products such as nails, paper towels, safety glasses and ear plugs. Now the company use RFgen scanning to keep track of the cage’s inventory and control costs.

Most recently, the company implemented RFgen for Cycle Counting. In the past, the IT director explained, workers would go to the floor, do a cycle count, write the counts on a piece of paper, then come back to the office to aggregate counts and manually data enter their figures into the JD Edwards system. Now each worker has a barcode scanner. They scan the barcode labels on the pallet and the information is captured in real-time in the JD Edwards system. “RFgen’s mobile data collection solution has replaced three to four hand-written steps,” the IT director said. “As a result, the accuracy and efficiency of our cycle counts have greatly improved. Overall, RFgen brings the stability we are seeking in the scanning area. This results in timely and accurate inventory, as well as efficiency on the floor. We are also now able to track vendor performance and the yields of our tools with performance reporting.”

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"Before RFgen, our inventory on purchased parts was in the dark.  Now, as soon as they arrive at the dock, we scan them in and know immediately, in real-time, what our inventory is. No more delays."

IT Director