Master Halco is a leading, premier manufacturing and wholesale distributor of perimeter security fencing. Established in 1961, Master Halco, previously known as Master Fence Fittings, was started by Donovan O’ Donnell who produced a limited variety of chain-link fittings. In 1980, the company acquired Halco Fence & Wire, and concurrently acquired 12 service centers, and a manufacturing plant specializing in galvanized chain link fence fabric. Three years later, both companies merged their names to be now known as, Master Halco.
Business Needs & ERP Selection
Master Halco was using a 20 year old highly- customizable, legacy ERP hardware system that was difficult to maintain, develop and upgrade. It didn’t provide the necessary means to operate and access data that was sustainable to gather sound decision-making assessment to drive performance in the manufacturing and distribution space. The need for a Single ERP system was crucial in driving performance improvements and goal stabilization among company processes. The legacy ERP System applications did not support the business operations cross-functionally; subsequently, causing a silo breakdown in the foundation of operations: sales, finance, manufacturing and supply chain. The architecture of the legacy system was weak and not upgradeable. Upgrade to new hardware was not possible as the hardware would not be available by 2019, eventually causing ERP support functionality to cease. The legacy system had customizable functionality applications that were outdated and no longer supported; hence, causing the exchange of data to sever among internal business units. There was also a need for a customizable, automated application for manufacturing processes that would bridge the gap between the ERP system and manufacturing operations.
A set of goals and expectations were aligned with a committee taskforce to determine the appropriate Single ERP system package. The committee taskforce was comprised of the following key decision makers: CEO, COO, CIO,CFO, functional experts and additional members on the board. Master Halco determined that their competitors were using the Infor M3 ERP system at the service level, and decided to do the same. The following factors were discussed in order to define and scope the selection process:
Cost: ERP implementation is costly. The factors surrounding the validity of cost variance was considered in high regard to the magnitude of an ERP implementation project.
Timing: The implementation process should take a little time as possible without disrupting the usual flow of business operations.
Experience: Potential consulting partner has thorough experience in a variety of ERP implementations among different business verticals with good references and professionalism.
After the scoping process was completed, the next step was to determine the selection of a particular Infor M3 implementation vendor that was going to lead the project. The taskforce considered the following:
- Compile and grade surveys and self-study research after each ERP implementation vendor presented their proposals to the taskforce
- Consulting company was hired to assist in Master Halco’s requirements (ERP system required little customization as possible), and help determine which ERP implementation vendor was best to tender long-term goal stabilization and business process improvements
After vendor evaluation, LeanSwift Solutions, Inc was chosen as the Infor M3 vendor of choice. The implementation of Infor M3 13.4 Cloud Suite initial time range for project completion was estimated at 9 months; however, with delays in consulting resources and additional time for training, the project was extended for another 6 months. There were 11 full-time functional resources added to the project along with 6 part time team members in partnership with the consulting team. The total project took 15 months to complete. Although the extended project timeline was more costly, it did allow the company to go-live in a more stable and controlled environment. Another challenge that Master Halco faced was the compatibility of their label printers. The label printers were not compatible with M3, so the company bought new label printers two weeks before go-live.
Infor M3 13.4 Cloud Suite is being used among 450 licensed M3 users along with 100+ using the customized Factory Track. The ERP system is being used across the entire organization enterprise: All order to cash, purchase to pay, finance and manufacturing processes.
Due to the Infor M3 13.4 Cloud Suite implementation, Master Halco has met their budgeted profit in the first month after go-live. There were no negative sales impact, and the company has quickly used the new system with an aggressive training schedule among internal business units. This new system has allowed the company to concentrate on sales and processes without using additional resources internally from the IT department.