Case Study: MILLER-ST. NAZIANZ
Industry: Manufacturing of agricultural machinery
Solution: IFS ERP
Location: St. Nazianz, Wisconsin
About The Company
Founded in 1899 in St. Nazianz, Wis., Miller has been providing a wide range of agricultural machinery to farmers for 5 generations. Today, all its equipment is built on a 111 year tradition of quality, integrity, and innovation. Its product line includes the Nitro high clearance front mount boom sprayers, the Condor mechanical drive sprayers, the Atlas floater chassis, and Ag-Bag hay and forage baggers.
An IFS customer since 2001, Miller-St. Nazianz upgraded its instance of IFS Applications several times. IFS Applications also helped the company through, and adapt to, a refocusing of the business on agricultural sprayer product lines in 2008. Miller-St. Nazianz has achieved a single version of the truth for product development and manufacturing across all of these product lines. “One of the biggest goals at Miller is creating a closed loop system environment starting from the engineering drawings,” Miller St. Nazianz Director of IT, Michael Krahn, said. “We are developing the system processes and disciplines to get the critical data components that drive the business up front and reduce much of the non-value-added work of chasing data downstream. Without the interface tools of IFS Applications, we would not have been able to achieve that closed loop environment.”
HIGH COMPLEXITY, SIMPLE INTEGRATIONS
Miller-St. Nazianz operates in a highly complex, multi-mode manufacturing environment, which means that IFS Applications is one of the few enterprise software environments that can truly meet their needs. “We operate in both make-to-stock and make-to-order environments,” Miller-St. Nazianz IT Manager, T.J. Hendrikse, said. “Our big sprayers have a lot of options. However, the base machine is forecasted in IFS. We lay out a schedule for 18 months as lead times are quite long on some of the items. We fill up our schedule, but don’t release it to production until we have an order for each machine.”
Miller-St. Nazianz has more than 132,000 inventory parts, a single manufacturing facility and multiple sites set up in IFS to manage repair parts, including a warehouse in Canada. Warranties are handled in a best-of-breed system from TDS Software, integrated with application programming interfaces (APIs) in IFS Applications. “We have 38,000 repair parts in our system,” Krahn said. “Not all of them are in stock. At some point we may sell any one of those parts, resulting in a shop order and manufacturing process if necessary. We are very much like the auto industry where we sell to the dealer network and the dealer sells to the customer. When the equipment needs warranty repair, the dealer fixes it. The dealer turns in a claim to us and we have to replenish parts, account for and cost, and so on. IFS Applications makes it possible for us to do something like this very easily. It is a very functional, bidirectional interface. We also have an online parts catalog and order-taking system that interfaces directly with IFS. The dealers can get online in an electronic catalog, order parts into a cart and that shopping cart feeds into business APIs in IFS so they get their dealership’s negotiated parts pricing reflected in their portal within ARI PartSmart.” “SolidEdge, our CAD software, leverages the use of Microsoft SharePoint,” Hendrikse said. “We can pull the bills of materials into IFS right from the drawing so we don’t have to manually enter that data, eliminating data entry errors.”
CRM DELIVERS CUSTOMER LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT
Using IFS Applications, Miller-St. Nazianz is managing more than the product lifecycle. Through the IFS CRM module, it is taking advantage of the deep integration with back-office ERP functionality to master customer interactions. “We can now organize our information to our Territory Managers by Dealer and Customer— and all this critical data is in one spot,” Krahn said. “We are keeping data on dealers, equipment end-users and are now in a position to leverage this data in marketing campaigns. We can communicate to people with machines older than a certain number of years or with specific models of equipment. When new owners register for the warranty, that data is captured in the CRM. We can follow the owners and the associated warranty claims that come in from dealers.” “If we had a standalone CRM package, it would be one more thing to maintain,” Hendrikse said. “Here, you put it in one spot and you can access that data in other places throughout the company, including in the CRM. Within the CRM, we can see open invoices, open accounts receivable, warranty claims, dealer inventory, collection reports, contacts, all of the past warranty registrations and owners for all of the machines in the past.”
ADAPTING TO CHANGE
While IFS Applications has delivered the flexibility to allow Miller-St. Nazianz to adapt to future change, it has already come through substantial changes in the company as management refocused the product line and made key acquisitions. “The Millers are visionary and could see the trends affecting today’s farm,” Krahn said. “More and more corporate farms and coops use our machinery. One of the top tools on today’s farm is a sprayer because it adds value not only by fertilizing but by eliminating bugs and weeds. It is one of the main machines that actually add value to your crop and your bottom line.”
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