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Customer success: Medical Supply Manufacturer

An International Supplier keeps operations in good health with ArcherPoint and Dynamics NAV

In 2000, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report with some disturbing news: the U.S. healthcare system had “a relatively high frequency of errors.” Since then, patient safety has become the focus of consumers, healthcare providers, and insurance companies. As a result of the commitment to addressing the issue of patient safety, the disposable medical device market has become a mainstay in the healthcare industry. With an aging population, the U.S. is the largest market for disposable devices, and steady growth is expected to continue.

The Challenge: Managing overseas operations

The company has been a leading developer and manufacturer of disposable medical devices since 1993, they also have a full-service contract manufacturing business. Although the business operations are located in the U.S., its products are manufactured in four plants in China. It goes without saying that communication and business processes are more challenging when operations and manufacturing are separated by the Pacific ocean, language, and country-specific business and accounting practices.

As the company continued to experience growth and the challenges of doing business across borders, the order management system began to impede operations. The company was experiencing difficulties in several key areas.

“Inventory control was probably our biggest issue,” said the IT manager. “Our system could not handle history management, change and lot number tracking, FIFO, or forecasting. We couldn’t produce advance shipping notices (ASN).  We were losing money because we were ordering the wrong items, overstocking others, and failing to address slow-moving products.”

The database posed additional problems. It had no index and limited data types, making it difficult to access important data. Worse yet, the system had to be shut down to obtain accurate reports. This process caused at least 15 minutes of down-time for the entire company. Additionally, reports typically took 5 to 10 minutes to generate.

Order processing was also an issue. Most order processing had to be done by hand, resulting in costly mistakes and inefficient use of resources. On top of that, it generally took an hour or more to produce invoices. 

Applications were not integrated, but perhaps the most important need for integration was with operations in China. The manufacturing plants use their own system, which is working well. The goal was not to change this system, but to find a system for U.S. operations that would integrate with it. The order management system did not have this capability, so the company used Excel spreadsheets.

The Solution: Dynamics NAV

The management team began searching for a solution that would meet its many complex and unique requirements. The ideal solution would:

  • Offer standard manufacturing capabilities, including inventory management, but be flexible enough to address Amsino’s existing processes, which the company did not want to change;
  • Include a comprehensive report writer, structured to allow in-house generation of simpler reports, while at the same time sophisticated enough to offer complex reports, such as those required by Amsino’s operations in China;
  • Include full EDI capabilities;
  • Have the ability to integrate with applications in China, as well as to Microsoft Excel and other applications;
  • Be easy and relatively fast to implement, requiring minimal down-time and disruption to business operations;
  • And be easy to use for all employees—with an interface similar to Microsoft Office;

… all at a reasonable cost.

The team looked at several solutions, from high-end ERP systems to vertical manufacturing solutions. These solutions were rejected for many reasons, including cost, lack of flexibility/customizability, lack of functionality, inability to integrate with other software, and inadequate reporting.

“ArcherPoint was the only solution provider that offered a one-stop shop. The staff was also top notch. They showed us things we’ve never seen from other providers.”

After investigating all the options, the company selected Microsoft Dynamics NAV because, Microsoft Dynamics NAV is the ideal solution for organizations looking for a fully-integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that is fast to implement, easy to configure, and simple to use. Dynamics NAV also provides industry specific functionality—including financials, manufacturing, supply chain management, sales and marketing, project management, human resources, and services management—even to the most highly specialized industries and organizations.

The next important task was finding a solution provider to implement Dynamics NAV. After considering several solution providers, they decided on ArcherPoint. ArcherPoint uses its proven methodology and more than 400 collective years of experience with Dynamics NAV to provide manufacturers with end-to-end business solutions that fit their needs. It was this impressive collection of experts and a demonstrated understanding of its needs that led to the company's decision.

 “ArcherPoint was the only solution provider that offered a one-stop shop. They have distribution, EDI, and accounting specialists all on staff,” said the IT manager. “With ArcherPoint, we would be able to implement all areas of our solution without involving sub-contractors. Our previous experience with getting a solution from multiple companies is a lot of finger pointing when problems arise.”

The company was also impressed with ArcherPoint’s unique implementation methodology. The company was implementing a very complicated system and had an aggressive timeframe. ArcherPoint’s methodology gave them confidence that the implementation would be successful and efficient.

The company has purchased Dynamics NAV Advanced Management Edition, AP, AR, GL, Inventory, Warehousing, as well as Advanced Forecasting and Procurement. ArcherPoint services included database conversion, implementation, complex report writing, and EDI consulting.

The Results

Operations between the U.S. and China are now more streamlined. Purchase orders are keyed in at the U.S. location and reviewed and fulfilled in China. Receiving is then handled through NAV at a remote desktop in the U.S. office.

“Our NAV solution has improved efficiency and accuracy from operations to accounting.”

The company now has the visibility into critical data, enabling them to make smarter business decisions. Sales history, projections, forecasting, and trends are quick and easy to access.

Data required by the parent company in China, which previously had been communicated via reports, is now available via dataports. This change not only has reduced time spent on generating complex reports, but it has also enabled quicker access to fresh data.

As a result of lot tracking, the company is already saving money. For example, last year the company had between seven and eight million dollars in inventory on hand. A significant portion of this was product that had been over-ordered by mistake. Since the implementation of the NAV solution, the current inventory level is between three and four million dollars. Additionally, inventory discrepancies have been reduced from approximately $30,000 to $3,000 or less.

Most impressive is the company's ability to manage its growth. “Our sales have increased 30 to 40 percent over last year, yet we need fewer people to process orders. We’ve been able to move those valuable resources into other areas of the company.” 

The implementation of Phase 1 was smooth and efficient, and ArcherPoint provided training that made the transition easier for everyone using the system.

What’s next? The company is currently implementing Advanced Forecasting and Procurement. 

What’s different about ArcherPoint?

Our clients see their business systems as unique and important to their competitive position. They prefer software and technology to support their business processes, not the other way around. Our clients are looking for a strategic partnership with the company that implements their software, not just a vendor. They demand the most talented, experienced professionals who understand how to quickly, efficiently solve their business issues. If this describes you, we invite you to contact us to learn more about our people, company and solutions.

About Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Microsoft Dynamics NAV, formerly Navision, is the best-selling mid-market ERP product in the world. With over 73,000 companies and over 1,300,000 users relying on Microsoft Dynamics NAV solutions every day, it is the clear favorite among growing companies with unique requirements.

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