Metal processor MEVACO has a new Web-ERP to optimise its European intercompany business

With a staff complement of 135 and a turnover of approx. 60 million Euro, MEVACO is Europe’s leading supplier of expanded metals, perforated metal sheets, woven wire mesh and welded mesh. The product range is continuously extended and includes standard products as well as individually configurable products with accessories. With its seven locations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Hungary and Poland and further distribution partners in Scandinavia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and in the Baltic States, MEVACO has in excess of 20 000 customers in Europe today.

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 in 2015 replaced its existing ERP software with the platform-independent, multi-site enabled and fully web-based VlexPlus ERP system by VLEXsoftware+consulting 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 Magento Webshop and with dispatch handling, the company furthermore benefitted from consistent processes and an easy to maintain IT infrastructure in support of complex inter-company processes.

With its factory in Schlierbach, MEVACO has a central production facility for direct and partner sales throughout the entire European sales area.
Initial situation

Heterogeneous database structures with extensive maintenance effort

Although the past ERP system in many instances 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 not only intercompany order processing. The administrative effort required to manage the various databases and data stored at MEVACO also increased steadily until MD Stephan Geiger decided in 2014 to introduce new ERP software with international capability based on a single database for all MEVACO locations.

"This step has been necessary for some time. The consolidation of our heterogeneous database structures prompted us to take our leave of our existing stand-alone solutions in the field of production data acquisition and production control, which we would like to use in future to map using the new ERP system", says managing director Stephan Geiger.

Decision-making process

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 shortlisted solutions were subsequently examined in detail for their suitability in the course of 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. VLEXconsulting+ software 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 especially by its openness and flexibility and also offered expectations that future extensions and system adaptations would not only be possible in principle, but also 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 our own Kanban system, something which competitor solutions were quite simply not in a position to guarantee in this form”, explains Stephan Geiger. “Aspects of infrastructure were also decisive to our decision in favour of VlexPlus. We simply sensed that the chemistry was right on several levels: A partner eye to eye, top competency on solutions and variations, fitting references and the same language – since good communication is necessary even if only to “translate” our demands that are specific to our industry and processes into the language of the consultant and the development language of the service provider”, continues Geiger. “The combination of Comarch as the technology partner with its well-developed international infrastructure and development structures on the one side and VlexPlus as the local, small to medium sized specialist for complex calculation of variations and many years of expertise in the industry on the other, not only assures us of future support but has also proven itself as a suitable configuration for professional future operational cooperation.”

Application benefits

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

The new solution represented the existing MEVACO process structures virtually 1:1 here. 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 the online shops were introduced and these needed to be maintained and programmed in parallel. Because the sales staff will now store their configurations and orders in the backend of the Magento shop as well, VlexPlus can take over all the distribution orders automatically via just one interface, thus rendering the downstream MEVACO processes clearly easier to handle.

Effective production and intercompany control

MEVACO, as a customer-oriented company, promises its customers delivery of not yet manufactured goods within four days. To meet this guarantee of delivery, MEVACO will dynamically adjust the sequence of manufacturing orders depending on urgency and the order list will be provided with a traffic light functionality. Since control of manufacturing was still based on an Excel list until 2015 and needed to be laboriously transferred to the then proALPHA 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 or errors and synchronisation effort, offering staff real time planning and clearly reduced effort and more transparency. A specifically programmed interface now allows dispatch to be consistently handled via VlexPlus also. “The most important improvement to our processes, however, apart from the now integrated manufacturing control, is the opportunity to handle our complex intercompany processes fully via VlexPlus. We have since then managed to significantly reduce the effort of financial accounting between the distribution companies and the main client, sustainably reducing the workload on our administration across all locations”, sums up Stephan Geiger. Almost 30 users have been working with the new system since 2015, in virtually all departments of the company. In addition, the local tax consultants in Poland and Italy are also making use of a version of the system adapted in their language. An extension to the portfolio of solutions at MEVACO is scheduled for 2017, with the addition of a document management or enterprise content management solution.

Stephan Geiger

What the customer says

“Not only does VlexPlus simplify our manufacturing control sustainably, but integrated operational data capture and consistent processes offer us a 360° overview of our orders and processes”.”
Stephan Geiger
Managing Director