U.S Paint selected BatchMaster ERP for Chemicals to replace their existing AS/400 legacy system to support their continued growth. BatchMaster ERP is an end to end ERP solution, based upon the SAP Business One platform, that supports financials, sales, purchasing, supply chain and customer service, in addition to chemical manufacturing.
Since 1931, U.S. Paint has delivered high performance paints, primers, and clearcoats to manufacturers and applicators in the automotive, power sports and general industrial markets worldwide. U.S. Paint is part of Kansai Paint Group, a global network of affiliated painting and coating companies, located in St. Louis, MO.
For over 20 years, U.S. Paint has run their paints & coating business on the IBM AS400 Services Infinium platform. The legacy software was not written for formula-based manufacturers and required numerous customized routines for transactional processing and reporting to be written by their director of IT over this scan of time.
With the retirement of several IT personnel looming on the horizon early next year, management recognized that something had to be done to maintain the current software programming andto continue adding new functionality. Although the legacy software was upgraded by the original vendor about 3 years ago, the staff found that there were no significant software improvements made in nearly 15 years. Hiring individual programmersvs an IT development agency to rewrite the existing customized routines, using latest software language, had its search and retention issues. And in terms of technology, the staff compared the AS400 platform vs the latest on-premise and cloud platforms.
US Paint president decided to search for a new software vendor whose ERP solution could support their existing customized functionality right ‘out of the box’. Over several months, the selection team evaluated BatchMaster Software’s ERP for Chemicals, DataCor’s Chempax solution and several other ERP vendor solutions.
Bob Yoder, Director of IT, pointed out during the selection process that “BatchMaster’s formulation module works the way in which our formulators develop our paints”. In addition to dynamic formula balancing, the team saw that the software’s flexible production costing methods, considering inventory valuation, consumables and labor costs, will improve product quotations. The ability to generate and distribute key documents, both on demand and event driven, in addition to alert management capabilities via text and emails, would improve collaboration across all departments and with their customers. Automating their current manual SDS process was a requirement and BatchMaster ERP had a proven integration to Lisam Systems EH&S Compliance Solution, a leading global SDS authoring cloud application, to generate SDS documents and labels.
‘Future proofing’ was a key consideration in the purchase of a new ERP application, according to John Duchardt, President of U.S. Paint. He recognized that the SAP Business One platform is a leading ERP solution for growing small to midsized businesses and subsidiaries worldwide, with an extensive and growing ecosystem of 3rd party applications. John explained, “With BatchMaster Software and SAP continued investments, this ERP solution is a winning combination that can keep pace with evolving chemical regulations, best business practices and innovative technologies”.
“At the end, we decided to partner with BatchMaster Software who offered us an ‘off the shelf’ product; one that is formula centric, could easily meet our unique requirements, and position U.S. Paint for continued growth”, stated John Duchardt.
“BatchMaster Software is delighted to add U.S Paint to our large and growing base of chemical customers,” said Sahib Dudani, CEO of BatchMaster Software. “We look forward to helping U.S. Paints achieve its business objectives, while leveraging their invaluable insight into the paints & coatings industry to enhance our ERP for Chemicals solution.”
When Liz Wu took over as the Accountant at Continental Coatings, they were running BatchMaster Enterprise (BME) , which was integrated to their existing Sage 300 financial application.
Liz found the Annual Software Maintenance charges for both Sage and BatchMaster together was more than she could justify. Another one of her concerns was the time and effort spent resolving any issues encountered when either of the applications were upgraded. Lisa had to involve both BatchMaster and Sage customer support teams to investigate their own applications to identify the cause and resolve the issue.
Liz asked BatchMaster “Do you have your own financial modules?” BatchMaster said “Yes, we released the financial modules two years ago.” Liz continued, “Since there are only two of us using the financial modules vs 15-16 people using the BatchMaster modules, it made more sense to move everything to BatchMaster than, say, everything to Sage.”
In terms of the Implementation, Liz said “It was right on budget. Time-wise, it took a little longer, but only because we chose to upgrade our server at the same time. We upgraded from BME 8.50 to 8.70, added the financial modules, and changed the server all at the same time. It was still close, though. Our target was to start using the BM financials from January 1st, and we actually started entering transactions on January 15th.”
There were obvious immediate cost savings in ASM and support, especially since both the finance and other modules are now compatible with each other. Since the move from Sage to BatchMaster financials, Liz found she didn’t need to manually post any AP or AR invoices anymore – it’s all automatic. On the AR side alone, this saves her 4-5 hours every month. She discovered similar time savings on the processing side – all up Liz estimates she is saving a whole week every year.
Functionally, Liz is delighted with what BM Finance offers. “I was pleased to see that every function I relied on in Sage financials was available in BatchMaster Financials, and during the demos I discovered many additional features we didn’t have and could use. An example was Bank Reconciliation. My predecessors used an Excel file for this, with BatchMaster I just enter the numbers and it is all done on the system.
Actually, the ability to export to and import from an Excel spreadsheet is huge for me also.”
Continental Coatings are customizing some financial reports. They are extremely happy with how BatchMaster’s development team are able to continue to develop these modules quickly to meet their needs.
Liz summarizes “Any questions I have, support comes back very quickly and resolves the issue. If it is a function I need and the software doesn’t have it, they tell me it will be in the next patch, and it always is. Although BM Financials is relatively new, it keeps improving. I thing that is pretty good. I would never have any influence at Sage over their software. The BatchMaster technical team listens to us users, and anything we ask for that makes sense, we get in the next patch. That means BatchMaster is growing, and will continue to grow – because you guys listen!”
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Athea Labs is now in the final stages of their BatchMaster ERP with SAP Business One implementation and they couldn’t be more energized. Athea Labs knows how to leverage its manufacturing, quality, and product development expertise within the company, and implementing BatchMaster ERP will both complement this expertise and be key to their future growth.
For over 35 years, Athea Labs has been fine-tuning its knowledge and skills and has been delivering specialty chemicals and specialty products to customers in the Midwest and surrounding states. Athea Labs is an industry leader in the niche market of chemical specialties, manufacturing products from herbicides to insecticides to industrial cleaners to aerosols. In addition to their enormous private label business, Athea Labs developed its own product label, Total Solutions.
Long Overdue Need for a Comprehensive, Integrated Solution
Over the years, Athea Labs has utilized several independent programs and the knowledge and knowhow of many key employees with department expertise to keep things running smoothly. At the main core of the business operations was an old ERP solution (20+ years) running on an AS-400. Like most old solutions, the product had become so specialized for Athea’s needs that updates to current releases were no longer possible. To add to this limitation, their old ERP solution was missing key functions, such as MRP and MPS, which was needed to drive Inventory and Manufacturing requirements. This meant that Athea had to get creative with developing many of their own functions, outside the old ERP solution.
One of the functions maintained in Athea’s old ERP solution was Production Work Orders and routings, but without Planning. “Without an MRP/MPS integrated solution, we needed to manually enter our customer orders into the system Pick Slips,” shared John Olson, VP Operations. “Our old ERP solution did not maintain a Lot Number/Location relationship for our items and since we inventory all our chemicals and finished goods by lot number, the process of locating the First Expired, First Out (FEFO) quantity of our chemicals could sometimes end up being a long and tedious process,” added Olson.
“Between our own chemical manufacturing, our private label manufacturing and our wet Wipe manufacturing, we have a large quantity of work orders per week. In addition, we also have multiple locations where we store our chemicals,” discussed Olson. “BatchMaster ERP is going to help us in manufacturing in a number of ways. First having the lot number with location on the Pick Slip will be huge. Expiration dates will also be linked by lot number, so that we are certain to be pulling the FEFO quantity from the area.” Olson said another big benefit will be with their inventory stock levels. “The integration of inventory quantities with Manufacturing, Sales Order and MRP will result in much lower quantities of inventory being stocked and much faster turnover of our inventory,” commented Olson.
Olson shared that without MRP in their old ERP solution, Athea experts needed to manually combine products with like formulas in a spreadsheet, so that manufacturing could optimize the material quantities required to fulfill multiple orders with a single production batch. “BatchMaster ERP will balance our material requirements and combine finished goods with like formulas, which is going to make us so much more efficient,” smiled Olson.
Streamlining the R&D Process with BatchMaster ERP’s Sample Management
Athea Labs has both strong Research & Development and strong Quality Management departments and both these operations are leveraged effectively for the entire organization. With neither of these functions being managed by the old ERP solution, Athea had to again get creative in designing their own systems to manage these areas. “Having the ability to enter a customer’s product needs into BatchMaster’s Sample Management is going to streamline our entire operation,” states Misti Gerbensky, Director of R&D for Athea Labs. The old process of managing and documenting our customer’s new product requires many steps and sign-offs. Sample Management has an entire process dedicated to handling customer samples prior to ordering,” added Gerbensky. “Also, having access to all the chemicals and their properties right within one system will be revolutionary!”
Gerbensky listed several other benefits with using BatchMaster ERP such as improving communication by having visibility from manufacturing into R&D, ending redundancies by moving formulas maintenance from dual systems to one system and centralizing QC results into one database. “I’m a big cheerleader here for BatchMaster ERP and the time-savings we will see is going to provide a huge advantage,” stated Gerbensky.
Bringing Quality Management under a Single BatchMaster ERP Solution As the Quality Technical Director, Dale Hamann heads up Quality Management for the entire organization. Because Athea’s old ERP solution did not manage quality tests and results, Hamann built a Quality Management System (QMS) to track tests and results for chemicals, batches, and cleaning & sanitizing lines including company-designed inspection forms. “Some of our products are FDA regulated, so we must maintain SOPs, test methods, QC procedures and additional SOPs for cleaning & sanitizing to meet cGMP compliance and like several other functions, our QMS existed outside our old ERP product,” discussed Hamann. “Our philosophy is that Quality is everybody’s responsibility and integrating Quality Management within BatchMaster ERP will make tracking Quality for each item at the lot level immensely easier. Also, using BatchMaster ERP for Inspection Plans and Checklists will weave our SOPs in to the system,” shared Hamann. With BatchMaster ERP, we plan to roll out our quality standard used by our wipes for all Athea products.
Eliminating Paperwork and Streamlining Processes
A key benefit that Athea Labs will recognize at Go Live date is the greatly reduced paper trail of their financial reporting and record keeping required by the old ERP solution. “With SAP Business One as the Core Financials for BatchMaster ERP, we are extremely pleased with record keeping reductions and cost savings we’ll receive right away,” stated Kevin Behm, CFO. “With our old ERP solution, we needed to use an outside service to generate our invoices. If we had changes to invoices, this would begin a manual paper trail that was archaic and time-consuming.”
Behm shared that bringing the financial record keeping into the SAP Business One solution will improve their Order Management and their Credit and Collections process tremendously. “We plan to use the Approval and Workflow functions within the solution to streamline our sales process. Some of our orders have several stages and processes, and the BatchMaster Workflow function can automate this. Also, we plan to reduce the paper shuffling that had been necessary when we sold our non-chemical products, such as protective clothing, along with our products. Automating these processes will streamline our ability to provide outstanding customer service,” concluded Behm.
Stacking up the Benefits
IT Director and Internal Project Manager, Tom Jones, was hugely instrumental in the decision to partner with BatchMaster Software and has been internally managing and following the implementation process along the way. “Getting lot tracking into one solution where we can apply the lot number beginning at PO receipt through manufacturing into shipping will most likely prove to be our biggest benefit of moving to BatchMaster ERP,” attested Jones. “The additional time it takes for us to maintain our lot tracking independent of our old ERP, especially when we have an issue with a product is super time-intensive. A single integrated solution was a top priority when selecting BatchMaster ERP,” added Jones
“We’ve seen how the Lot Traceability Dashboard is a key compliance function within BatchMaster and will be essential for Mock Recalls and FDA Inspections. With the full integration of BatchMaster ERP with SAP Business One, we can easily validate our FDA reports, showing that products are released following all FDA standards. This is a must for our business,” discussed Jones. “And using Bin Management within BatchMaster ERP will vastly speed up the process of locating first expired lots at their exact location.”
Jones shared that learning a new system has been both exciting and challenging. “As the Internal Project Manager, I’ve been involved in most of the training sessions,” states Jones. “Since an overhaul to our old ERP system with independent programs is overdue, we’re bringing together many people and departments within our organization. I can say that this project has unified our team and will continue to improve our collaboration. We are nearly ready to Go-Live, so it’s an exciting time at our company and we’ll be working side by side with the BatchMaster Software team,” concluded Jones.
Business is booming for Bar Bakers a niche private label manufacturer in Los Alamitos, California focusing on a variety of baked and cold process cookies, wafers and nutritional bars and manufacturing for major retailers, large brands and small companies. The company has blended its skilled leadership, premium R&D services and BatchMaster ERP with SAP Business One together as its main recipe for success. These elements are working together as Bar Bakers experiences exponential growth. Though the company is fairly new, there is over 200 years of combined managerial and engineering industry experience within Bar Bakers and the team understood that BatchMaster ERP with SAP Business One would not only fit their requirements, it would be their ‘Icing on the Cake’ or in their case ‘Icing on the Bar’.
BatchMaster ERP directs the Processes and Bar Bakers reaps the Rewards
Christian Jones, Bar Baker Purchaser & ERP Administrator, shared that since the company was new, they were able to align their operations with BatchMaster ERP from the start. “The entire flow of Inventory, from Work Order and Demand to Purchasing, Receiving, A/P and material consumption is all being managed within BatchMaster ERP. We are using BatchMaster’s Material Requirements Planning to its full extent with Purchasing using the demand calculated from the program.” Jones adds, “Inventory management is an area where we’ve experienced a big return on investment. We can keep a lower level inventory for most items due to our ability to see what the real demand is.”
Rapid Lot Number Traceability is a Crucial Benefit
“An absolutely crucial benefit that BatchMaster ERP provides is lot number traceability,” shared Jones, noting that Bar Bakers has major commitments to food safety and is currently working towards a BRC food safety certification. The system’s lot management capabilities will enable Bar Bakers to quickly and easily comply with BRC’s product traceability and lot recall codes. “We’ve found using BatchMaster for our mock recalls that we can respond to bidirectional lot traceability requirements in under 15 minutes, though the audit gives us 2 hours. And that includes all details of where finished goods were used and to whom they were shipped,” commented Jones.
Document Management provides Organizational Transparency
“Another huge advantage to us is Document Management throughout BatchMaster ERP,” Jones attested. “We didn’t realize at first how significantly BatchMaster ERP would deliver in this area.” Jones says one example of this would be that ingredient specifications are loaded into the solution so anyone required to access this information can easily do that. He also mentioned that they scan in hard copies of documents for all their transactions, such as Bills of Lading. “If there is ever any discrepancy, we can review all the documents for the transaction. BatchMaster ERP has provided transparency across the company,” Jones asserted.
Train the Trainer and Test Environment Speeds User Adoption
Bar Bakers commitment to learning the new ERP solution was demonstrated by having Jones became their in-house product expert. “I had excellent training from our BatchMaster ERP consulting team and the consultants transferred product knowledge with extensive training sessions,” shared Jones.
“In addition, we had a test environment set up for staff as they learned BatchMaster ERP. They could enter data into this environment, and I was available as the ‘company expert’ if they had questions. Though most of our staff were quick learners, it was a great setup as we were getting started with the system.”
Achieving Rapid Growth with BatchMaster ERP
Bar Bakers has been growing at a rapid pace and is expecting to add several new customers in the next few months. “As a private label manufacturer with a dedicated focus on product development, we’ve helped customers who were producing very small batches in their garage to now manufacturing half a million bars within a month. Without BatchMaster ERP this would not be possible,” summarized Jones.
ECI Pharmaceuticals LLC selected BatchMaster ERP to manage its manufacturing, financials, QA/QC and R&D requirements. ECI Pharmaceutical is a specialty pharmaceutical company that offers a complete range of drug development, ANDA/NDA, product submissions, and manufacturing services.
As ECI Pharmaceuticals began its most recent growth spurt, the company focused on streamlining its complex manufacturing processes. After drilling down into the pharmaceutical specific functionality supported by BatchMaster ERP with SAP Business One, including its FDA and cGMP compliance features, ECI Pharmaceutical selected BatchMaster Software to help propel the company into its future growth phase.
“ECI Pharmaceuticals is an outstanding example of one of our forward thinking, pharmaceutical manufacturing customers”, said Ingrid Leon, COO of BatchMaster Software. “Their decision to run BatchMaster ERP with SAP Business One validates our corporate strategy in terms of our OEM platform integration and industry focused product development, which positions our pharmaceutical customers to quickly grow their businesses, while not outgrowing their technology”.