TR Cutler Profiles Midwest Patterns in InMFG Reed Business

By: Thomas Cutler

Thomas R. Cutler, the nation's leading manufacturing journalistprofiled Midwest Patterns (MPI), a custom moldmakingmanufacturer based in Quincy, IL. The feature article can befound or www.trcutlerinc.com.

Technology solutions are designed to help these manufacturingheroes, yet the results are mixed. Selecting the correcttechnology can be tantamount to an adding a group of employees;selecting the wrong technology can bring the enterprise to ascreeching halt.

Rob Stull is IT Manager, Quality Assurance Manager who noted,"Our Y2K quick purchase of an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)software system turned out to be a poor choice as far as thecompany goes. The ERP company was bought shortly after ourpurchase and then put out of business. This left MPI withoutsupport or upgrades or an opportunity for continuousimprovement...which did not match our lean goals."

Stull insisted that ETO (engineer-to-order) issues characterizedMidwest Patterns business, "The need for flexibility in all wedo was central in finding the best technology solution. On-timedelivery is critical to Midwest Patterns. Saving time andpaperwork was essential...We have molds to build not paperwork!"

Midwest Patterns' selection of a new ERP system came down to achoice between two software providers; Encompix(www.encompix.com) won due to its flexibility and itsEngineer-to-Order appropriateness. Stull noted that, "Theinterface has a simplistic layout which is less intimidating tothe users. Let's face it, not all users have degrees in computerscience and you need to make them comfortable in theirenvironment."

Midwest Patterns has a philosophy that is indicative of otherETO manufacturers working to achieve a competitive advantage.Stull suggests with the commitment to delivery and service,"Most companies remain loyal if they get what they want and getit early. Service above all!"

Mike Merten advised Midwest Patterns in the new technologyselection. Merten noticed how many functions Stull fulfilled atthe company. "They do not have a large IT staff. Stull doesdouble (sometimes triple) duty as Quality Assurance Manager, ITManager and whatever other duties might be thrown his way. Thismade the selection of the proper ERP system critical for them."

Encompix www.encompix.com Roger Meloy 513-733-0066

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