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Plastics specialist KM Meeth Zaun sets the course for growth with VlexPlus ERP variants
As manufacturer of variants and customised products, KM Meeth Zaun GmbH specialises in the production and sales of customised, maintenance-free and durable fences. The family run business boasting a product range comprising high-grade plastic fences, gates, front doors, windows, pillars, laths and flower boxes, with corresponding accessories, is part of the Meeth Group supplying, among other, numerous major German hardware store chains, building materials dealers and construction companies locally and abroad.
A technically outdated AS/400-based in-house development for the support operations was used up to 2014, whereafter the company approached the limits of economic efficiency in terms of the handling of its numerous product variants.
“Stagnation of the platform, excessive adaptation required and the high degree of manual processes finally convinced us to ditch the old system at KM Meeth Zaun and to migrate to a flexible, future-proof ERP solution”, says Jochen Weirich, Project and IT Manager at the Meeth Group. “The new solution was intended to do away with the administration of annoying Excel lists in particular and to optimise Sales, Purchasing and Production and the exchange of data with external systems. Our stated goal was to sustainably take load off staff in their day-to-day business and also to integrate new products into the range.”
The KM Meeth Zaun project team then assessed the solutions of many suppliers for suitability and the degree to which the own needs would be met. “Many of our requirements were admittedly very specific to our company, which is why the solution providers often needed additional programming for their solutions.
VLEXsoftware gmbh was the only company offering us a solution with a number of options, all of which came as standard, with no need for additional adaptations. Making our decision was therefore quite easy, especially since VlexPlus offered us a solution that was firmly established already in our sector, based on a future-proof Web architecture and also capable of handling variant management across all sectors. The fact that the solution was in principle also suited for implementation across our entire Group in the medium-term, also to some extent contributed to our decision”, explains Jochen Weirich.
KM Meeth Zaun went live with VlexPlus in the Distribution/Sales, Procurement, Scheduling and Production sectors in 2014 already and the areas of application were thereafter gradually extended by the addition of integrated material requirements planning and parts list administration. The company managed to significantly reduce manual processes in purchasing, pricing and planning of material requirements.
The Meeth Group operates mainly in the building materials sector, which makes huge demands on its own processes and on Purchasing and Logistics in particular. Substantial penalties will be imposed should an item be delivered just one day late due to a missing door handle.
In the past, backlogs often occurred in the stores in the merchandise and door accessory sections, because manual processing impeded process flow when accessories were not available. Whilst, back then, orders were placed after rough estimation of stock or on request, for instance when staff found stock running low, we now have automatic planning of requirements based on orders in hand and orders expected. Out of stock or incorrect orders and handling of stocklists via Excel now belong to the past at KM Meeth. “Thanks to our present VlexPlus material requirements planning, we can now reliably control our stock and the volume of backlogs and bottlenecks at the store has also been reduced to zero, meaning that the penalties we often faced in the past are no longer an issue”, according to Jochen Weirich. Stock requests and planning tools in real-time, need-based preparation for effective process control and key indicator evaluation, e.g. for sales analyses, are now significantly simplifying day-to-day business in the departments.
While predominantly fences and front doors featured at the beginning of the ERP project, the company supplier decided to add windows and roller shutter casings to the product portfolio in 2016, which was quickly incorporated in VlexPlus thanks to intelligent, product-independent configuration routines and the connection to a foreign supplier system for procurement - no additional adaptations required.
But also the manual, error-prone pricing could be largely automated with VlexPlus. In the past, for example, the surcharges for accessories as well as double or triple glazing and customer-specific discounts had to be made manually for doors with special dimensions.
Today, this entire configuration and pricing process is fully automated in VlexPlus, eliminating all previous pricing efforts and giving KM Meeth the certainty of working with reliable and correctly calculated prices. In addition, electronic data exchange with trading partners was optimised through EDI integration and a connection to the local logistics software was realised so that the data can be transferred to the shipping department completely automatically. In a further stage of expansion, the solution will eventually be rolled out to other business units of the KM Meeth Group.