For Bob Leety and his team at Bridgeport, Connecticut-based Horberg Industries, aerospace manufacturing is a high-stakes undertaking. Bad things can happen if the entire order fulfillment process doesn’t go exactly as planned.
For aerospace manufacturing, a flawless fulfillment process is vital
The fulfillment process must flow smoothly every step of the way, from the initial quotation through order entry (including contract review), purchasing (raw materials and vendor services), production (including skills assessment and gage tracking), quality control (including customer/vendor quality/delivery performance monitoring), and shipment of the final product to the customer (including all required documentation). All of this must be done on time, every time!
Then, of course, there’s the financial side. It all must be done in a way that keeps the company competitive while still maintaining a strong profit profile.
Horberg specializes in crafting precision straight headless pins. Those pins are used by all manner of aerospace, defense, medical, technology, and other precision industries. None of them have any room for error.
Co-owner Leety spells out just what that means: “Each Horberg team member takes their responsibilities very seriously. For the industries we serve and the people that they serve—in many cases, peoples’ lives depend on us getting it right.”
M1 software provides one single point of contact—the nexus of both data and quality control
The single point of contact is one key reason why Leety and the rest of the Horberg team have been enthusiastic users of the M1 manufacturing ERP system from ECi Software Solutions. “We’ve looked at other software programs over the past 15 years and in my estimation, there’s nothing out there that even comes close to what M1 offers a business like ours,” reports Leety.
“M1 provides a single point of contact for virtually all of our data needs and serves as the nexus of our quality management system,” he says. “From quote to cash, it tells us how we’re doing relative to the metrics we’ve set for our key processes and enables us to identify quickly and easily where we can raise the bar and where we need to focus on improvement.”
And when the M1 ERP does identify an aspect of the business in need of attention, the program’s call management feature makes it easy to assign, manage, and document corrective actions and address problems in a timely manner.
There’s virtually no aspect of Horberg Industries’ operations that doesn’t run better because of M1 software. “If a customer calls and wants to know about a job we did for them four years ago, for example, M1 makes it easy to pull up all the ERP data as well as paper documents that were scanned into the system using M1’s document management feature,” says Leety.
“It not only saves valuable time for our own people but gives our customers the information they need in a timely manner and creates a level of comfort for them that they’re working with people who really know what they’re doing.”
Manufacturing supply chain management features assure performance, quality, and conformance
The benefits are just as impressive throughout the supply chain. “M1 not only makes it possible to track our on-time delivery and quality performance, but we also use it track how our suppliers are performing and generate hard data to show them when and where they need to make improvements,” Leety explains.
Horberg Industries is ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D registered and M1 plays a critical role in ensuring the company maintains its status with the third-party QMS registrars. “Our Quality Management System audits take several days, annually,” says Leety. “As the auditors review our processes, we have to answer questions relating to those processes and provide documented evidence to back up those answers. M1 allows us to do all that quickly, regardless of the level of detail or complexity.”
An added bonus that the company particularly appreciates is the program’s ability to interface with other SQL databases. “We use a gage management system that also utilizes an SQL database and we use M1 to read and incorporate the data from it,” Leety explains. “When somebody clocks in on a production traveler, they also enter what gage they’ll be using, all within M1 Shop Floor Entry. Should we subsequently discover that a gage is out of calibration or requires repair, we can identify every bit of shop floor activity that involved that particular gage and determine what jobs may have been affected. That’s not only huge for our own continuous improvement efforts but it also shows our auditors that we have the ability to contain any potential non-conformance(s).”
M1 software’s technical support is just as critical
“M1 has some great people on their technical support team and I’ve never felt like we were on our own for major upgrades or software issues,” Leety reports happily. “M1’s technical support folks are more like colleagues for us than vendors; they’re really good about listening to our issues, responding in a timely manner, and following up to make sure everything is as it should be.”
Leety also gives high marks to M1’s regular user conferences. “The conferences have been a great resource for us,” he says. “The training sessions are very helpful, but what’s especially impressive is the exposure they provide to outside-of-the-box thinking on the issues we all face. Just being able to look at a problem or business challenge from a different perspective and see a fresh solution has been huge for us.”
After more than 15 years as an M1 manufacturing ERP user, it’s not too surprising that Leety isn’t really looking for a change.
“When you’ve got as many plates spinning as we do, I just cannot imagine spending a workday without the resources that M1 brings to the table,” he says. “It would be like trying to repair a car without the right tools. You might be able to do it, but certainly not very efficiently. And why on earth would you ever want to?”