Case Study: Quanex Building Products

About Quanex

Quanex Building Products, headquartered in Houston, TX is a leading manufacturer of window and door systems, insulating glass systems, window and door components and aluminum sheet. A major supplier to window and door manufacturers throughout North America, the company operates 12 manufacturing facilities in 9 states and has two additional plants in Europe. The Window and Door Systems group is a market leading extruder of weather tested vinyl and composite systems used in windows and doors throughout North America.

Snapshot

  • Industry: Manufacturer
  • ERP: SAP

Applications

  • Warehouse Management

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The Challenge

Several years ago, Quanex made the decision to migrate from their older legacy system to SAP, a technology leader in business management software. Although SAP Console provided native functionality, Quanex needed more flexibility and lower development costs for new applications.

The Solution

In 2009, Mark Ferwalt, Applications Director for Quanex Building Products, began researching alternatives to SAP Console. He found what he was looking for with RFgen Mobile Foundations for SAP. The software suite consists of pre-written, validated solutions for SAP data collection, specifically designed to be quickly adapted to an organization's unique work-flow processes and to deliver information to their mobile workforce.

For Quanex, the major benefits of RFgen Mobile Foundations for SAP are:

  • Greater flexibility - "We found the same flexibility with RFgen's solutions we had always enjoyed with our old legacy system," Ferwalt said.
  • Faster development cycles - RFgen solutions are easy to develop in a time-efficient manner.
  • Ownership after implementation - "Total cost of ownership was a good value proposition for us, managing and going forward," Ferwalt explained. Ownership meant Mikron Industries could make their own changes and perform maintenance quickly without incurring high development costs.
  • Supports all versions of SAP - Regardless of the SAP version, RFgen's mobile applications enable mobile initiatives to get up and running fast.

Ferwalt was impressed with RFgen Consultant Mike Davis, project lead for Quanex's implementation. "Mike demonstrated a thorough understanding of how RFgen mobile data collection software functions with our SAP system as well as how we could tie into the SAP system more efficiently."

After Davis made the necessary coding changes to meet Quanex's exact specifications for their new RFgen data collection system, the following RFgen transactions were smoothly integrated into Quanex's manufacturing processes using their currently owned mobile data collection devices (scan guns) at their four manufacturing plants in Kent, WA, Yakima, WA, Richmond, KY and Winnebago, IL:

  • Order Confirm - completes the operation of a work order by increasing inventory for the manufactured material and updating the status of the production order to identify the operation as being complete.
  • Sales Order Picking - displays items that are ready for pick, pack, or ship confirmation. It also updates the status of the sales order lines so the next step can occur. Depending upon the processing options and order activity rules, inventory can be hard committed at pick, pack, or ship confirmation. This transaction can also confirm multiple items.
  • Bin-To-Bin Transfer - customized for the client for the transfer of materials from one bin to another.
  • Pallet-Bin Transfer - customized for the client for the transfer of materials from pallet to bin or bin to pallet.
  • Material Transfers - transfers inventory from one warehouse to another warehouse or from one location to another location within a warehouse.
  • Bin Inquiry by Materials - displays bin locations by material with the current quantity on hand.
  • Location Inquiry by Materials - displays inventory locations by material with the current quantity on hand. If the material is batch controlled, entering the quantity will reflect that batch's on hand quantity."
  • Component Scrap - decreases inventory and identifies it as material that has been scrapped for a production order.
  • Goods Issue to Cost Center - performs a goods issue to a specific cost center

The Result

During the three years following the implementation, RFgen Consultant Davis returned to customize the Scrap Capture and Cycle Counting modules to reflect Quanex's specific processes and needs:

  • Scrap Capture - Davis customized the module to capture data about how the manufacturing plants specifically handle scrap. This detailed information translated into measurable efficiency and cost-savings benefits. "With Scrap Capture," Ferwalt explained, "we understand which machines, operators and processes are making scrap. These statistics help us reduce scrap and make our products more efficiently."
  • Cycle Count - The Cycle Count mobile app allows for inventory to be counted for a specified cycle count, material number and location within a plant. Cycle Counts are updated with the information entered upon completion of the transaction. "RFgen's Cycle Counting module now helps us perform inventory counts quickly and efficiently while reducing the amount of labor," Ferwalt said.
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RFgen's Cycle Counting module now helps us perform inventory counts quickly and efficiently while reducing the amount of labor.

Mark Ferwalt
Applications Director