Case Study: Computrol Inc.
Solution: abas ERP
Industry: Electronics Design & Manufacturing
About The Company
Founded in 1980, Computrol has a long history of providing electronic contract manufacturing services and support to blue-chip customers ranging from military and medical electronics, to telecommunications and computer peripherals. The company continues to build on its core services and capabilities by investing in versatile, high-speed manufacturing equipment and technology, as well as continuing training programs. Computrol Inc. serves customers from three facilities, totaling 120,000 square feet.
The Company is a world-class provider of mid to low volume, high-mix electronic manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers. Utilizing state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and processes, and highly skilled people, Computrol focuses on prototyping production of PCB, box build, cable harness, and backplane assemblies.
Computrol, Inc. focuses on providing electronic manufacturing services throughout the life cycle of high-mix products serving military, medical, aerospace, broadcast, and general industry customers. Maintaining this focus enables them to provide faster assembly operations than in large factories. Computrol provides faster turn around and higher quality on small to medium lot size assembly with manufacturing facilities in Boise and Post Falls, Idaho and Orem, Utah.
Computrol combines quality processes with skilled people to ensure all manufactured products exceed customer's quality expectations. Computrol’s customers toured their site and evaluated production capacity, facility, and software. “We were asked by our customers to upgrade our software”, says IT manager Ray Pettengill. “Our software was a pretty much outdated, command line, prompt, green screen system and our customers, being hi-tech savvy, looked for a vendor that can keep up with today’s technology, not only in production but also in administration. That is where ABAS comes in with their state of the art abas ERP. We want to show our customers that we meet their requirements and high standards, being up to date on our software.”
“We narrowed it down by price range and ERP Software for midsize companies,” says Pettengill. At the end of the day: three vendors were still standing but according to Pettengill only one was state of the art enough to meet Computrol’s and their customers’ high demands. “While others still have DOS in their code, the tier architecture of abas ERP is always up to date and thanks to ABAS, we are now up in line with the rest of the world,” adds Pettengill.
Innovative methodology allows 12 weeks implementation
Vice Presidents and department heads were involved in the implementation. Due to an innovative implementation methodology using process oriented architecture (POA), implementation and training for 40 concurrent users was reduced to twelve weeks. abas-USA had a team on site and trained key roles at Computrol, who in turn trained others at the company.
“Our first implementation took twelve weeks and after acquiring another company, we were able to train the new staff for the second implementation ourselves and it took only eight weeks to go live,” says Pettengill. “We used POA to train the staff at Computrol. We focused on key business processes and trained them on single screens. We then did the roll out with the same documentation and the staff at Computrol was not only able to mange the system but also to train the staff of their newly acquired company themselves.”
Alan Salton – President, abas-USA
abas Business Software is part of the strategic plan “We acquire other companies domestically but also look all over the world for new opportunities. Acquisitions are part of our strategic plan and the ability to implement abas ERP so quickly is a huge strength for us,” explains Pettengill. Computrol's success is largely attributable to its ability to manufacture high quality products in small to medium lot sizes. The focus on lower volume electronic contract manufacturing has fostered the development of highly differentiated services that are specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of low volume contract manufacturing customers. This allows the company to be more flexible and provide assembly services with shorter cycle times.
Benefits & Results
“Users love the data capacity and the information flow. Every employee has the ability to pull up any information at any time,” says Pettengill. “We used to have multiple systems and multiple licenses before we used abas ERP and not everyone was able to access information. Now our system is windows based with a log in and users have great accessibility at anytime.” “With abas ERP we also have electronic time and attendance, before we used an engineering documentation system, which was limited to its users,” explains Pettengill. “abas ERP lets us decide to whom its open.”
Computrol continually invests in new manufacturing technologies and techniques that seamlessly integrate the systems. This approach adds value to the manufacturing process through reduced costs, ensured quality, on-time delivery and shorter manufacturing cycle times.
Forecasted costs vs Actual costs
abas ERP and their consultants facilitate cost cutting
“With the downturn in the economy, the system brings more efficiency and access business-wise to our company,” says Pettengill. “We are better prepared for the future and have total control of our costs and a more transparency of forecasted costs versus actual costs.”
Sharing information with abas ERP
“We use abas ERP in many different departments,” explains Pettengill, “Data is just one click away. Purchasing for example, can pull up any information at any time. Our old system worked with data in commands on a green screen. Now it’s windows based and everyone can use it. Marketing can access the information with “drag and drop” from ERP to excel sheets and share it with customers worldwide. Material inspections in sales also improved.“
We asked, ABAS responded “abas ERP met all of our requirements for forecasting sales demand, inventory control, cycle counting, usage, and value. Using our own periods rather than calendars was no problem to integrate because of abas Business Software’s great flexibility and versatility. Within a matter of a day we can add any process we need,” says Pettengill.
Ray Pettengill, IT manager at Computrol inc. adds, “Meeting the president and the founder of the software at the user conference gave us a lot of confidence for a long, lasting partnership.”