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Metal processor MEVACO optimises European intercompany business with VlexPlus

To consolidate the IT infrastructure of the various European subsidiaries and distribution companies and to create a common central database for all, the Göppinger MEVACO GmbH, a member of the RMIG Group, replaced its existing ERP software with the platform-independent, multi-site enabled and fully web-based VlexPlus ERP system by VLEXsoftware gmbh. In the course of restructuring, MEVACO’s existing isolated applications were also integrated into the ERP system, together with the thus far separate systems for capturing operational data and for production control. With the linking of the webshop and dispatch handling, the company benefited from consistent processes and an easy-to-maintain IT infrastructure in support of complex intercompany processes.

MEVACO is one of the leading suppliers of expanded metals, perforated sheets, and crimped and welded meshes. In 2019, MEVACO merged with the Danish RMIG Group to become the largest supplier in the industry and generated a total turnover of 178 million euros in the 2021 financial year. The product range extends from standard products to customisable products and accessories. With a total of ten locations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Hungary and Poland, as well as additional sales partners in Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and the Baltic States, MEVACO now reaches over 20,000 customers throughout Europe.

Heterogeneous database structures with extensive maintenance effort
Initial situation

Heterogeneous database structures with extensive maintenance effort

Although, in many instances, the past ERP system linked the numerous MEVACO subsidiaries and distribution companies, the system could not uniformly link foreign companies to a central database, therefore requiring many separate data silos. This unnecessarily complicated intercompany processes as well as order processing between individual companies. The administrative effort required to manage the various databases and data stored at MEVACO also increased steadily until its management decided in 2014 to introduce new ERP software with international capability based on a single database for all MEVACO locations. The consolidation of the heterogeneous database structures prompted the company to take leave of the existing stand-alone solutions in the field of production data acquisition and production control, which were to be integrated into the new ERP system in the future.


Focus on technical aspects and solution competency

Based on a defined list of demands, suitable solution providers were initially pre-selected together with an external consultant. The four short-listed solutions were subsequently examined in detail for their suitability in dedicated workshops. Whilst most of the solutions could handle the processes based on the existing standard, the technologies deployed ultimately separated the wheat from the chaff. VLEXsoftware gmbh ultimately remained the only system provider capable of offering a system based on a central database linking all the locations, including cross-border. The modern VlexPlus web architecture distinguished itself primarily by its openness and flexibility. Additionally, it also offered expectations that future extensions and system adaptations would be possible in principle and within a predictable framework of time and cost.

Access via a platform-independent web-browser furthermore offers a facility to easily link locations, users or third-party systems such as the company’s own Kanban system for suppliers, something which competitor solutions were quite simply not in a position to guarantee in this form. However, not only infrastructural aspects tipped the scales in favour of VlexPlus for the management. In VLEXsoftware, MEVACO had found a partner at eye level with whom the chemistry was right on several levels – with a high level of solution and variant expertise, fitting references and the same language. After all, good communication was necessary even, if only to “translate” the demands specific to the industry and processes into the language of the consultant and the development language of the service provider. The combination of Comarch as a technology partner with its well-developed international infrastructure and development structures and VLEX as a medium-sized specialist for complex calculation of variations not only gave MEVACO the necessary security for the future. It also proved to be a suitable configuration for professional future operational cooperation.


Effective multi-channel distribution: all the orders via a central interface

The decision to introduce the new VlexPlus ERP software marked the start of preparations for the subsequent implementation phase and migration of the article master data. MEVACO finally went live with the new solution on 1 April 2015 in the fields of production control, scheduling, warehousing, logistics and shipping, finance and accounting.

The new solution represented the existing MEVACO process structures on an almost 1:1 basis. Only distribution was separated from the ERP when the existing system was replaced: This is because redundant processes developed for online and offline sales when the online channels were extended and a webshop was introduced and these needed to be maintained and programmed in parallel. As the sales staff now also store their configurations and orders in the backend of the online shop, VlexPlus can take over all the distribution orders automatically via a single interface, thus rendering the downstream MEVACO processes easier to handle for the teams involved.

Effective production and intercompany control

As a customer-oriented company, MEVACO promises its customers delivery of goods not yet manufactured within four days. To meet this delivery guarantee, MEVACO dynamically adjusts the sequence of manufacturing orders depending on urgency, and the order lists are provided with a traffic light functionality. Since manufacturing control was still based on an Excel list until 2015 and needed to be laboriously transferred to the then ERP system by hand, process control, planning and scheduling tended to be enormously challenging. The integration of manufacturing control into VlexPlus has now permanently obviated this workaround and its sources of errors and synchronisation effort. Today, planning for employees is possible in real time and is much more convenient and transparent.

A specifically programmed interface now allows dispatch to be consistently handled via VlexPlus. The most significant improvement to the company’s processes, however, apart from the now integrated manufacturing control, is the opportunity to handle the complex intercompany processes fully via VlexPlus. Since then, MEVACO has managed to significantly reduce the time and effort required for accounting processing between the distribution companies, the primary client and the RMIG Group, which has sustainably relieved the administration of the companies across all locations. As part of the integration of MEVACO into the RMIG Group, new organisational units were also set up in VlexPlus in 2019, which are linked to the parent company’s ERP system via special processes and interfaces.
“In order to simplify the processing of invoices and fulfil the specific requirements of individual locations, we have also connected the e-invoicing solution from VLEX,” explains Martina Reich, IT Systems Quality Manager at MEVACO. “We will now gradually introduce e-invoicing for all countries and locations. In doing so, we not only want to ensure a standardised handling process for invoice processing and archiving but also create the basis for more restrictive legal requirements in the coming years.

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Optimising production planning and project management

The planning of production orders was also reorganised and sustainably improved in 2019: “We can now carry out detailed planning in our VLEX planning cockpits in an automated way. Our production sequence is planned in the production configurator and transferred in an optimised way for the production order to the ERP system, where the configured items go through the next planning and production steps,” Martina Reich continues. “By introducing the VLEX project app, we have implemented a further application that enables us to control the entire project life cycle in a system-based manner and simplify internal complaints management across the company.”

Today, VlexPlus is used by 45 staff members across almost all divisions. In addition, the local tax consultants in Poland and Italy have access to a customised language version of the system. A dedicated national version was introduced for the Swiss location in 2020 in preparation for the legally binding requirements for QR bills. “The next step is to optimise warehouse management processes further. By using tablets and mobile VlexPlus access, we intend to do away with paper documents in the warehouse and map processes digitally from end to end to reduce walking distances. There is still great potential for optimisation. In future, it will be possible to report changes and cancellations directly via the warehouse app,” says Martina Reich.