Manufacturer bets on ERP to hone competitive edge

Personal care aerosol and liquid products manufacturer, PAX Australia is investing around $800,000 in an ERP project it hopes to have completed by July next year.

Sean Ryan, commercial manager at PAX Australia, said the company wanted to upgrade its competitive stance and slash lead times between order placement and delivery in both the local and Asian markets. PAX, which employs around 300 staff, produces personal care lines for brands such as Gillette and Colgate Palmolive, assessed solutions from 14 vendors including Navision Software, JD Edwards and PeopleSoft.

He said the company eschewed the use of external consultants in its two-year deliberation of vendor tendering and selection.

"The fact that we chose not to use any external consultants could be why we took longer [with the] tender process, but we like being in control and are happy with the result. We had an issue with the integrity of consultants and their links with vendors. At least if anything goes wrong with this project, we can only blame ourselves."

After a tender process that involved 14 vendors over two years, implementation of Intentia's Movex solution is under way, with aims to reduce PAX's order delivery lead time by 20 per cent.

Ryan said the project is replacing a legacy system developed more than 12 years ago.

"The computer system was getting too complicated and overcrowded, so we decided we needed to go back to scratch and start again. We looked to do this seven years ago, but the functionality didn't seem to be there. We had a look over the last few years and saw that the functionality is there," he said.

"We have a goal of reducing our lead time between placement of order and delivery to anywhere within Asia to eight weeks; to do this, we need to get our act together and if Movex delivers what we expect it can, we believe we can achieve this goal," Ryan said.

It takes between 10 and 12 weeks now to deliver within Asia and about eight weeks within Australia. Ryan expects this will be reduced locally to around four to six weeks.

"Customer satisfaction is our priority; it is also a competitive advantage for us to get the products to the customers quicker than competitors," he said.

Ryan said Movex will help to deal with the ramifications that customer requests might have on the business, from purchasing of stock, through to the manufacturing process, a "consolidation of the administration of the business".

"It will help us react faster and allow us to identify needs up front, rather than down the track, which will benefit both us and our customers," he said.

Ryan said the first aspect of the project will be to eliminate duplication and also allow seamless communication with distribution.

The project is now in design phase with implementation to formally start this month. Around five Intentia employees will work on the project and one PAX employee.

Citing the project as an "out with the old, in with the new", Ryan said PAX is aware of the scope of the task.

"The key is having everyone looking forward to the end result and not loosing sight. We don't intend on any downtime, but there will be training and data transfer and making sure we don't inherit old mistakes," Ryan said.

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