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When liquid goods manufacturer Dominion Liquid Technologies acquired a specialty coffee syrup manufacturer, the company knew it would face significant challenges to make the new entity successful. But the priorities were clear: improve traceability, quality and inventory control capabilities – without a huge capital investment. The search began for an integrated solution that could stand up to the challenge.
Our people have well and truly bought into Plex because, quite simply, the previous system did not perform to our standards and created a lot of unnecessary work. Interdepartment communication has improved tremendously and the system has had a spectacular effect on the efficiency of our production floor.
Back in 2009, Dominion Liquid Technologies (DLT) began by acquiring Flavor Syrups International, a specialist manufacturer of coffee syrup. Almost immediately, President and CEO of DLT, Charlie Cain, knew that a program of significant change would have to be undertaken to create a successful business. “We knew we were buying a business with lots of challenges, not least its limited revenues, limited manufacturing capabilities and not enough people to get the job done in the way we required,” explained Cain.
“Our main challenge in the beginning was limited capital; I knew right away that the software we were using to manage the business was sub-optimal. It was very clear that a new ERP solution would help us to build a more efficient business, reduce waste and grow rapidly while delivering quality products through every production run.”
Why cloud ERP? Because as a busy contract manufacturer juggling customers’ hugely diverse needs, testing ingredients and recipes, managing production schedules and third-parties, ensuring that products are shipped correctly so as not to erode finely tuned margins, and adhering to stringent quality targets – a nimble ERP is essential. Balancing growth with quality means everyone on the DLT team must be focused on our customers’ needs and product excellence rather than managing on-premise ERP with all the ensuing IT infrastructure.
“Historically, different teams within the manufacturing process worked in silos, making information sharing slow, clumsy and error prone. It was extremely difficult for us to get accurate and reliable data on things such as inventory levels and expiration dates. What we really required was a system that could give us real-time information so that we could make better informed decisions. We knew this was vital to our bottom line growth,” said Cain.
Plex was always on Cain’s radar. However, given that DLT was embarking on such a crucial business decision, he engaged Revolution Group. Their role was to evaluate a number of ERP solutions and then to deploy the technology so that the management team gained much greater confidence in their decision-making across all aspects of the business.
“Revolution Group put a number of ERP solutions through their paces, but what I found particularly helpful was that they didn’t just look at the process functionality we required, they understood the kind of light-on-our-feet business we wanted to be, that managing IT was not for us, and that we wanted to avoid huge capital outlay,” commented Cain.
The DLT team was enthusiastic about the real-time, integrated nature of the Plex solution, particularly favoring its traceability, quality and inventory control capabilities. But a visit to PowerPlex, Plex’s annual customer conference, and the opportunity to talk to other contract and food and beverage manufacturers, ensured Plex was selected.
Revolution Group finalized the Plex Manufacturing Cloud deployment in just six months, streamlining operations right across the board. For example, technicians can share data from pre-operational checks, the new quality control process means the quality assurance team can always ensure specifications are met. And from a business perspective, the management team can evaluate downtime, line productivity, and identify different kinds of scrap, in order to see significant margin improvement.
“Our people have well and truly bought into Plex because, quite simply, the previous system did not perform to our standards and created a lot of unnecessary work. Interdepartment communication has improved tremendously and the system has had a spectacular effect on the efficiency of our production floor,” concluded Cain. “Plex has not only brought our business up to date, it has given our customers an even greater level of security and satisfaction. And that’s never a bad thing.”
Since 1995 Revolution Group has been partnering with manufacturers to help them achieve technology implementations that make a tangible difference to operational efficiency. Having overseen many Plex deployments, Revolution Group has devised a best-practice process that objectively takes customers from software selection to go-live.
With DLT, seven distinct phases guided the team from planning to go-live. These included: Project planning and defining key milestones; discovery to define DLT’s fundamental business requirements; solution architecting, including system walkthrough with DLT’s data; pilot and key learnings to review the application with selected processes; full scope validation to fine-tune the solution and test across other processes; user acceptance training, undertaken with live systems and devices; and, finally, go-live.
“What allows us to add greater value to our Plex deployments is our willingness to invest the time necessary to understand our clients’ requirements,” said Sam Hanna, Director of Business Development for Revolution Group. “Our consultant team is very seasoned in manufacturing ERP and cloud solutions, allowing us to provide technical knowledge and experience to the project. It fosters long-term relationships with our customers, many of which we still support throughout our eleven year relationship with Plex."
Dominion Liquid Technologies is a customer-focused food and beverage manufacturer with a tremendous range across a variety of liquid products. In the company’s short history, it has achieved and maintained Organic and Kosher certifications, as well as the SQF Food Safety and Quality Certification for its manufacturing facility.
Location: Cincinnati, OH