“Management realized that new SYSPRO software would enable the rapid compiling and retrieval of data for more efficient decision-making purposes.”
– Dave Elkins, Business Systems Specialist, Travis Industries
“Advancing the art of fire” is Travis Industries’ slogan – very apt when you consider that this U.S. manufac- turer produces a range of techni- cally advanced heating units for wood, pellet and gas stoves and fireplaces, as well as an exciting variety of “hot”, stylish architectural face fronts for the units.
The wide product array adds complexity to inventory maintenance at Travis, as anticipating the number of different face and heating units to manufacture in anticipation of demand is extremely challenging. While most of the manu- facturing is done in the company’s facility in Kirkland, Washington, it also pur chases some cast elements from Belgium, introducing lengthy shipping times to the forecasting process.
A SYSPRO customer for more than eight years, until recently Travis only used the SYSPRO Accounting modules. Functions such as inventory maintenance, production control, product returns and engineering bills of material were accomplished with spreadsheets. When the number of units produced annually reached 60,000, the company knew it had to automate processes. Travis purchased SYSPRO Inventory, Bill of Materials, Work in Progress, Factory Documentation, MRP, RMA, Advanced Planning and Scheduling, Purchase Order, Sales Analysis and Sales Order modules from local SYSPRO reseller CSB Systems to accommodate up to 40 users.
Dave Elkins, Travis Industries Business Systems Specialist, says, “Manage- ment realized that new SYSPRO software would enable the rapid compiling and retrieval of data for more efficient decision-making purposes.”
The software’s ability to accommodate a 30-character stock code was a big plus, enabling Travis to configure and enter complete SKUs (stock keeping units) for all parts, sub-assemblies and assemblies. With the list compiled and entered, Travis was immediately able to track all work in progress in addition to finished goods and replacement parts. Equally as important, the company is now able to maintain more detailed inventory records, a huge asset in estimat- ing which parts to build to stock during the slow summer months.
SYSPRO has also enabled Travis to formalize its purchasing system. now, clerks can instantly call up open purchase orders, track order status and gain visibility of all parts go- ing into production. In addition, order entry has been revolutionized. Whereas orders had been written by hand and batched into the computer database once a day, the new SYSPRO software accommodates online sales order entry, enabling clerks to access the most current data and provide customers with realistic estimates of production and delivery dates.
Because sales personnel have desktop visibility of produc- tion schedules, they are able to provide customers with data relevant to shipping times. “Visibility is key to customer ser- vice,” observes Elkins. “All personnel now have up-to-date information at their fingertips and can, therefore, pass on the most accurate data to customers.”
Travis recently implemented a barcode scanning system to track inventory through manufacturing. This has resulted in a huge payback by eliminating the need to physically enter serial numbers. With 60,000 different serial numbers, enter- ing the serial numbers by hand meant a high probability of error. A further benefit is that SYSPRO’s ability to accommo- date multi-level Bill of Material routing and structures allows Travis to speed order turnaround and make more precise available-to-promise calculations.
What’s next for Travis? Elkins indicates that the firm will soon launch web ordering for all dealers and distributors with links directly into the SYSPRO database. When placing orders, the dealers and distributors will have access to inventory fig- ures and the ability to gauge delivery dates. He also sees a conversion from UnIX to Microsoft SQL to accommodate growth. With SQL, Travis will be able to store larger data file sizes, speed data recovery efforts and have access to a greater variety of tools.
Thanks to superior engineering and design and highly effi- cient SYSPRO software, Travis should continue to “advance the art of fire” for many light years to come.