Coatings manufacturer Hallman Lindsay brushes away 65 years of inactive data
Hallman Paints was founded in Madison Wisconsin in 1956 by three partners, one of whom left to start Lindsay Finishes shortly after. The two companies have since reunited before moving into a state-of-the-art 82,000 sq.ft. plant in Sun Prairie in 1998.
Proudly Wisconsin-local, Hallman Lindsay sells their products through a chain of 28 retail stores state-wide.
Curt Wild was brought in as Technical Director to improve processes across the plant, particularly in the Labs and Quality Control. He was also tasked with replacing their aging Sage PfW system.
The thing Hallman Lindsay liked about BatchMaster was that the format was similar to Sage, the modules were also similar. While they don’t have a lot of users, the familiarity was there for an easier switch. Said Curt “One of the reasons we went with BatchMaster was, we talked to a lot of companies we know and most of them were on BatchMaster”.
Curt admitted “The implementation at our end was difficult because there was a lot of garbage in the system. We are still cleaning up some of that garbage. We have so many formulas and raw materials, trying to get rid of the inactive stuff. It was one of those ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ type of situations, we had products with no formulas, and formulas with no products and old raw materials in formulas that aren’t in the raw material file. There was a lot of spreadsheet cleanup”.
An added complication was that Hallman Lindsay are unique in that they hadn’t used any accounting functions or product inventory functions of the software. That’s all done through a Point of Sale system. What makes it extremely difficult is that the Inventory codes used in the POS system are different to those used in the manufacturing software. With 4700 formulas (not all active) plus numerous packaging sizes, it was necessary to bring the data across to BatchMaster as is, and Curt expects re-aligning the codes will start soon. Once that is done, and their evaluation for a new POS system is complete, they will be able to move towards direct update from BatchMaster to the POS system. Hallman Lindsay have never implemented batch-tracking in the POS system, so if they have to recall a batch or find out about a batch, they don’t have that ability. The biggest task moving forward, what they want establish in their main system, is each of the stores as a separate warehouse. That will entail interfacing with the POS system to achieve much better control in all areas of inventory.
Despite these complications, Mr Wild reports that the implementation was on budget, and pretty close to on time. “The time delay was on our end, not the implementation team. There was just a lot of clean-up and things to do”. Curt was impressed with the training given. “We went through several sessions where we walked through the procedures of how you did everything. The thing that was really good was that they gave us some tasks to do and then we would come back and they would evaluate ‘how are you guys doing, are you ready.’ That kind of thing forced some of our staff to get on-board better”.
Curt added “Another thing about the old system that was horrid was that inventories were never right. With this system, one of the things we wanted to do was set up the inventory with BOMs so we could set up inventories on labels, containers, etc. Being able to track everything has been a blessing there. Really, bringing the company, as far as the operating, formulation and production, into this century, shall I say?”
When asked if he seen an improvement in inventory accuracy with the new system, Curt said “When we went live, everyone recommended we do another physical inventory. We didn’t, but I sure wish we did. It’s been a little while doing some adjustments, and positive transactions and things like that, but now, especially this year, it’s been wonderful. With so many raw material concerns we can now look on the computer and see what’s committed, what’s there, what we’ve got on order – it’s just such a valuable tool. In the old system, it was actually going out to the plant to physically see what was there. Management by working around is good – Inventory by walking around is not good”.
Curt also thinks the QC module is great! “We can log in our values – that’s something we didn’t have before or implement. Now we can look at batch histories”.
He is also looking forward to getting into customizing reports and customized queries, as he does a lot of data mining for their owner.