Batchmaster Software Continues to Play a Major Role in Kalcor Coatings Corporate Growth With Its Latest ERP Upgrade and Planned Mobile Warehousing Capabilities
For over 60 years, Kalcor Coatings Company has been an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of specialty coatings and paints for the construction, fabricated metal, tire manufacturing, transportation, and graphic arts industries. Since inception, the company’s manufacturing facilities have grown to more than six times their original size.
Kalcor Coatings develops and manufactures custom formulations designed to meet customers’ specific requirements on a wide range of metal, wood, paper and plastic substrates. As a North American Licensee of Arkema S.A , the company offers a variety of specialty products which utilize Arkema’s Kynar® polyvinyl difluoride (PVDF) resin system, which in combination with carefully selected co-resins, additives and pigments can provide 10 or more years of weather-resistant performance. Kalcor Coatings sells its products throughout North America, Europe, and Asia from its plant in Ohio.
Kalcor Coatings ran its manufacturing business for many years using a series of customized software applications for inventory management, formulation, and production. As the company grew, management knew they needed to enact more efficient processes in the plant, which required additional functionality. The legacy application was unable to support their growing business, and when the software vendor announced it was going out of business, Kalcor management begin the search for a replacement in 2016.
Kalcor identified and evaluated four ERP software vendors with experience with paints and coatings manufacturers. Ownership selected BatchMaster Software because Kalcor felt BatchMaster was the right partner with the right ERP solution to meet their current and future needs.
Kalcor’s state-of-the-art laboratory develops specialty coatings that add value to their customers’ products in the automobile and construction industries. Its focus is on striving to understand each customer’s unique needs, and working together closely with them to design comprehensive, practical solutions for their needs, which may involve business partners in the equipment, pre-treatment, and application industries.
In 2016, Kalcor Coatings took a large step towards making large-scale production of durable, weather-resistant, environment-friendly chemical products for domestic and international customers when the company implemented BatchMaster ERP for Paints & Coatings, an end-to-end, process manufacturing ERP solution built upon SAP’s leading SME platform.
The Formulation module is a core chemical manufacturing module that allows Kalcor’s formulators to create and adjust ingredient quantities in a multi-level formula specification to meet specific target property values. QC tests against VOC, density, water repellency, solar reflectance, emissivity, and other physical characteristics are defined within the formula specifications, which can be approved using multi-level workflows.
Since custom formulation is a key value-added service, it’s critical that Kalcor sales reps quickly and accurately respond to customer questions about costs. The Formulation module calculates the estimated cost of a finished good or intermediate (e.g. base coatings) based upon the costs of chemical additives, consumables and labor, as well as landed costs and other shipping costs.
Kal Zucker pointed out how the intuitive navigation of screens has helped onboard users. In addition, the use of the ‘Golden Arrow’ on user screens allows users to drill down into lower level, supporting screens. To gain further insights from the system data, Kal used Crystal Reports to customize existing BatchMaster reports and create new ones then add them into the user menu structure.
BatchMaster ERP for Paints & Coatings has been a key contributor to Kalcor’s growth since it went into production. With its robust reporting and analytics capabilities, Kalcor management has gained a deeper understanding of their business, identified trends, and uncovered opportunities for optimization and growth moving forward.
Responsive vendor support, timely issue resolution, and ongoing communication has all contributed to Kalcor’s positive customer experience.
“Anytime we had an issue technical support was extraordinary at BatchMaster. It is hard for a software company to understand every industry they service, but the BatchMaster team was quick and open to learn”, explained Kal Zucker, Kalcor’s CIO and Co-Owner.
Over the years, Kalcor expanded and evolved, so their BatchMaster ERP solution had to evolve with them. Kal Zucker pointed out the importance of the Kalcor partnership with BatchMaster in terms of sharing industry insights and best practices, and willingness to make project plan improvements and add items onto the product roadmap.
“We were really happy with BatchMaster as our ERP solution for 7 years. We felt, in our experience, that BatchMaster’s upper management promoted a culture that put the customer first, so we did not need to look any further” explained Kal Zucker, Kalcor’s CIO and Co-Owner. “We just needed to upgrade to keep up with the marketplace, and BatchMaster had what we were looking for with a system that allowed databases to integrate and speak to each other, updated compatibility with other platforms and capabilities for a wireless warehouse.”
In a ‘wireless warehouse’ environment, BatchMaster’s Mobile WMS capabilities enable users to employ scan guns and smart tablets to execute warehousing tasks (receiving, putaway, inventory adjustments, pick, ship), as well as execute batch production tasks (e.g. RM issues, QC tests) and inspection tasks against facility, stored products, and equipment.
Kal stated that Salesforce is being used today by Kalcor’s sales reps and formulators to collaborate on customer formulation requests. The new Integration hub for 3rd party software applications is now available which connects ERP to Salesforce, ecommerce, EDI and other applications. For SDS document and label generation, Kalcor employs a leading SDS authoring solution from Lisam in a standalone mode. BatchMaster ERP offers a standard integration to Lisam so this integration is on Kalcor’s IT roadmap.
BatchMaster’s R&D Lab module is one critical module that Kal is looking forward to employing in the new ERP version. For example, if the calculated VOC level in the formula specifications exceeds the set tolerances, the Lab module can auto adjust the formula’s chemical additive quantities to meet the specific target property values.
In addition to taking advantage of the latest software features, Kalcor likes the improved online customer help portal, which offers informative training materials, software upgrades and fixes, and service ticket management.
Kal Zucker wrapped up his thoughts about the upgrade, saying, “The BatchMaster team that was here for our original implementation was absolutely outstanding. They really listened to our concerns and helped us to troubleshoot on the spot, so we knew the upgrade would be hassle-free.”
Kal Zucker explained “The upgraded BatchMaster ERP application will allow us to further tailor information to individual segments of our business, which is key because each business partner gets all the information they need, increasing customer service and decreasing errors. We service a broad spectrum of businesses, so segmentation is critical to our success.”
The Kalcor team has immediate insight into production reporting thanks to BatchMaster’s role-based dashboards and reports. In addition to a variety of standard reports built in Crystal Reports, users can customize their user screens and dashboards, as well as modify existing and create new reports in their menus.
Kalcor users leveraged BatchMaster’s online customer portal to obtain readily available training and reference information and found the site easy to navigate and structured to quickly find answers to their questions. When Kalcor users needed help creating certain reports or dashboards, the BatchMaster team was able to quickly build those or provide valuable assistance to those individuals.
“BatchMaster Software’s technical support and services teams were exceptional, from the beginning to end of the implementation, from the top down”, stated Kal Zucker.
With BatchMaster Software products and services, Kalcor is positioned to remain a leader in the marketplace and deliver on its promise of streamlined processes, enhanced customer service, and deliver transparent, on-time information to internal and external customers.
“Now we have the ability to continue to grow without limits on our warehousing ERP,” says Kal Zucker. “BatchMaster is willing to work with us to ensure we get the most out of the system, and each business partner gets all of the information that they need, increasing customer satisfaction. The streamlined integration that the BatchMaster solution provides, alone, saves us money and moving forward to a wireless warehouse will keep us competitive and will increase revenue overall.”