Manufacturing Software M1 Increases Shipments by 36% and Decreases Ship-out to Same-day
Do you wonder why manufacturing companies of all types and sizes are turning to M1 ERP software from ECi Software Solutions to run their operations? If so, you really don’t need to do much more than look at the program’s impact on MD Orthopaedics in Wayland, Iowa.
MD Orthopaedics is a niche manufacturer that focuses on just one category of products: orthopedic braces and related items for the treatment of clubfoot in children. Since the company was founded in 2004, their products have become the gold standard for clubfoot treatment. A remarkable growth surge has taken the average number of units shipped each week from 20 in 2005 to more than 850 today! Shipments are now sent out to customers in all 50 states and 126 countries worldwide.
While growth on that scale is certainly impressive, it has not come without challenges, as Emily Ferguson, Business Manager at MD Orthopaedics since 2005, willingly attests.
MD Orthopaedics outgrew QuickBooks and needed an integrated system
“We started out running the business on QuickBooks, and while it was inexpensive and easy to use, it could only take us so far,” she explains. “As we grew, it became clear we needed additional resources, particularly in the inventory management area.”
To bring in these resources, the company invested in the MISys® manufacturing program from Manufacturing Information Systems. While it helped the company track inventory more effectively, there was just one problem: MISys and QuickBooks really didn’t work very well together.
“It was a mess, and the more we grew, the worse it got,” recalls Ferguson. “Inventory information was in one program and sales data was in another, and that made any kind of intelligent forecasting practically impossible.”
By 2012, it became clear that a change was needed and Ferguson started researching possible ERP software. “We looked at about half a dozen different programs but it didn’t take long to narrow the choice down to M1.”
“We needed a program that put everything—sales, inventory, HR, and receivables and payables—on the same platform,” she says. “We also needed a program that provided robust lot-tracking capability and that was user-friendly enough so that people who weren’t computer programmers would be able to learn the software and work with it easily.”
M1 manufacturing software not only met all those requirements but also offered a few extra benefits in the bargain.
As the business expanded, it needed a flexible international ecommerce software
“We knew we would want to offer an ecommerce option for our customers further down the road and liked what we saw of M1’s EasyOrder™ ecommerce solution,” Ferguson explains. “In addition, M1 handles multiple currencies very well and that was important for our growing international business. We also really liked the fact that you didn’t need to buy the whole M1 package, but could bring on different applications over time as our needs changed.”
The M1 relationship was a vital part of the solution and the transition
Once Emily Ferguson and her team made the decision to switch to M1, they found more reasons to feel good about the change.
“Taking our data from QuickBooks and moving it into M1 was not a smooth process but we got good support from M1 for the conversion,” she says.
Step one in the process involved in-depth discussions with M1 technical support to get MD Orthopaedics’ team up to speed on the company’s specific needs and its basic goals for the program. Then an M1 tech came out and spent time with various departments to get them set up and to conduct initial employee training on the program’s functionality.
“We found that when you work with M1, it’s far more of a relationship than one of just buyer and seller,” Ferguson says. “As our team became familiar with the program, they would come up with ideas of their own for modifications and enhancements and we always found M1 people open to our suggestions and responsive to our needs. With M1, we feel like we are able to play a role in helping to improve the software that we’re using and that’s been a big plus.”
With M1 manufacturing software, everyone in the company is working smarter and inventory control is cost efficient
Less than three years after MD Orthopaedics switched to M1, the numbers speak for themselves. At the time of the conversion, the company was shipping an average of about 625 units a week. Today, that number stands at 850. A 36-percent increase is good news by any standard, but it becomes even more impressive when Ferguson reports headcount at the company has remained steady during that period at just 29 employees, total.
“M1 has helped make both our manufacturing and our office operations so much more efficient,” says Ferguson. “We used to keep as much as six months’ worth of inventory on some items because we really had no sense of what was happening on the demand side beyond guesswork and gut feel.”
“Thanks to M1, we have been able to move towards much more of a just-in-time model and that shift has come with no negative impact on customer service or satisfaction,” she happily reports.
If anything, M1 has helped MD Orthopaedics take customer service to a new level. Before the switch to M1, orders typically took two-to-three business days to ship and now they go out on the same day. The company’s EasyOrder ecommerce software is now live and providing customers with 24/7 access to a user-friendly, feature-rich web storefront.
“Not so long ago, we really didn’t feel like we knew what we had, where it was, and what we needed to make,” Ferguson says. “Now, thanks to M1, we are so much more efficient and truly managing the business. M1 is making a huge difference for our company today and it’s only going to become even more important in the future as we continue to grow.”