At a Glance:
- Metal fabricator selects Plex as its CRM, ERP and “unfair advantage”
- Plex works in real time, is faster, and provides significantly better reporting features than the old batch processing system.
- Inventory accuracy is up, inventory carrying costs are down and cycle counts are easier to manage.
- Reporting is user-friendly, faster and more detailed.
- Employees are “one team, with one focus.”
- Accounting benefits are measurable and immediate.
About RDM of Minnesota, Inc.
RDM of Minnesota, Inc., located in Dodge Center, MN, is a full-service metal fabricator with nearly 40 years of experience. Among its services, RDM of Minnesota executes turnkey assemblies, precision sheet-metal fabrication, laser cutting, machining, plate folding, forging, robotic welding, and computerized painting and blasting. The company has developed vertically integrated services including complex and compound products and services for the manufacturing community. Customers are found in the heavy-duty construction, refuse hauling and pipeline equipment manufacturing industries.
Previously, RDM of Minnesota had depended on an outdated batch processor system with a Windows face. Burdened by silos of information, overstated inventory, costly upgrades and intermittent support, the company began a search for a new ERP solution. After reading about Plex Systems in Aberdeen research, the management team visited Plex Systems and spelled out their wish list. The managers found that Plex Systems either provided all of their desired features or was planning to develop them. Because Plex Cloud ERP offers real- time visibility and traceability, it is more accurate and time-sensitive than any batch processor system.
With Plex Cloud ERP, cycle counts are easier to manage and raw materials inventory is more accurate. Jobs are identified and traceable with barcodes as they move through the shop floor. Receiving and physical inventory counts are automated, simplified and far more accurate than what occurred with the previous manual data entry process. Plex has helped cut inventory carrying costs, according to Dennis Ross, founder and CEO of RDM of Minnesota.
Employees can check inventory figures every day — errors are immediately obvious. This excellent visibility and traceability gives RDM a competitive advantage.
When RDM’s customers have access to Plex to view inventory and schedule shipments, everybody wins. Moreover, when pitching new customers, RDM can show them how they can log into Plex anywhere, at any time, and see their inventory. Customers also can schedule shipments themselves using Plex. This creates an “informal partnership” between RDM and its customers, adding value, according to Ross. He uses Plex’s remote access as a selling point to potential customers because this is a feature his competitors just do not have.
Additionally, Plex identifies costs in minute detail. The sales force can price jobs more accurately, showing activity-based costs. Plex captures a very clear picture of all costs, with full documentation.
Customers of RDM appreciate Plex reports. RDM is able to send reports directly to customers without having to move the data from one format to another. One click and the report is emailed to the specified customer. For example, all of the information for a given shipment, including a bill of lading number, appears on a report, allowing customers to track the shipment.
Plex reports are user-friendly. Employees can customize reports in an unlimited variety of formats.
Sales reports show real-time figures. They are sortable and exportable for further manipulation. According to Ross, RDM employees find the sales reports “easy to use.” RDM’s Fortune 500 customers marvel at how much faster RDM can add information to the system using Plex Cloud ERP. Fewer man-hours are invested on a sales dollar basis because of this time saving.
“One Team, With One Focus”
At RDM, employees are now “one team, with one focus,” with accountability to perform value-added services. Employees see immediate and measured results upon job completion. They receive direct positive reinforcement as they finish their tasks. Plex Cloud ERP helps the company measure how well employees contribute to the overall goals of the company.
Ross calls Plex the “people’s system.” It builds in accountability and ownership throughout the enterprise. The company’s success is tied together with each employee’s success, as employees buy in to the system.
As a side note, Ross confided that when ISO auditors recently visited RDM, they commended the CEO on his use of Plex, calling it a “great system.”
Among the accounting benefits of Plex Cloud ERP are the following:
- For accounts receivable, invoices are automatically created at the time of shipment with no need for additional processing.
- Bank deposit and payment data is detailed, making it easy on employees to reconcile bank statements and answer customer questions.
- For accounts payable, invoices are created at the time of receipt and are easily validated and updated when the vendor’s invoice document is received.
- In the General Ledger, the ability to drill down into transaction detail is unmatched.
- Audit field work time is greatly reduced because financial data is quickly received in the format demanded by auditors.
Memorized journal entries save time and are easy to manage.
Prospective Employees Take the “Plex Test”
Ross has found a unique way to identify exceptional candidates for job openings. He has installed a PowerPoint presentation on his website that illustrates a procedure used in Plex. Candidates take (and must pass) the “Plex test” before they move any further in the job application process. Plex has become the barometer of employee qualifications.
Ross suggests that RDM of Minnesota has only barely skimmed the surface of all that Plex has to offer. He anticipates inroads in employee compensation processes. He is considering using a freight interface through Plex as shipping grows. Forecasting will be easier to manage as accuracy on the shop floor improves and more features are completed on the input side. Over the next two years, RDM expects to take advantage of more Plex features.