DCA Manufacturing Case Study for Exact MAX ERP
About The Company
DCA is a quality and customer service-oriented subcontractor providing complex custom electronic and electromechanical assemblies to Original Equipment Manufacturers. Located in western Wisconsin, DCA specializes in the assembly and testing of small to mid-size, high-mix custom electronic devices, providing a full range of services from component procurement and engineering prototypes to system configuration and final customer warranty support.
Exact MAX is a client/server application built to support discrete and repetitive manufacturing environments. Exact Synergy provides a Web-based Business Process Management solution that connects the people, processes, and knowledge that matter most to businesses. DCA looks to ExactMAX and Exact Synergy to replace divergent business systems and improve communications.
Since its inception in 1994, DCA’s primary vision has been to provide outstanding customer service to electronics OEMs for assembly work in small to medium lot sizes. Before implementing MAX in 1998, DCA tried to manage its business with spreadsheets and accounting software. This method offered little automation and no integration. Too much data was entered and managed manually, slowing the company down, taxing existing resources, and making it difficult to keep precious business information organized and accessible. These challenges forced DCA to realize the need for an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
“Things were getting out of control with these divergent systems,” recalls DCA’s general manager, Carl Proescholdt. “We needed a more integrated approach, and we found it with MAX.” MAX added structure to the company by helping DCA connect each link of its back-office data management chain. This resulted in a tighter organization with better-managed business processes, priming the company’s position for growth. “Sometimes you have to rely on your solution provider to tell you what your processes should be,” added Proescholdt. “MAX allowed us to grow our business. In fact, we doubled our sales revenue without adding any administrative staff.”
Despite the success DCA enjoyed with MAX, there were lingering challenges to its front office. Even though DCA used an account management customer service model, the company felt that providing the kind of superior service that separated it from its competitors required a level of information sharing that was difficult to manage with traditional business tools like e‑mail and voice mail. Critical customer information was locked away on personal network drives, in e‑mail accounts, or even in the account manager’s head. DCA needed to find a way to ensure that the latest customer information would be accessible to the right people at the right time.
Benefits and Results
As Customer Relationship Management software gained more visibility in the marketplace, DCA adopted the perspective that a CRM solution might help address some of the customer communication issues that challenged the business. During a review of Exact Synergy, DCA quickly realized that Synergy could be used for far more than just CRM due to its unique cross-functional feature set. In fact, DCA learned that the software could help run the entire business. And since Synergy integrates with MAX “out of the box,” the company could enjoy a complete business management solution without needing to write any custom links. “We’re a small company, and we can’t support writing our own integrations to different software packages,” remarked Proescholdt, “Synergy was chosen because of its feature set and the integration with MAX.” Synergy boasts a wide array of features, including the ability to store and manage documents and projects in a secure, online environment. DCA has found Synergy’s online project management feature particularly useful given the project-oriented nature of the contract manufacturing business. All the important documents and other customer information can be securely managed within Synergy, keeping everything well organized and providing the appropriate level of accessibility to all the right people.
DCA also takes advantage of Synergy’s HRM features to reduce the amount of paperwork for the Human Resources department. This relieves the HR department of its sometimes overwhelming clerical responsibilities and allows HR staff to spend more time focusing on HR issues. Synergy’s Web-based architecture has also made it possible for DCA to conduct business anytime, anywhere. All of these features help DCA maintain its high customer service and quality standards by keeping them flexible, organized, and available.
DCA Manufacturing has been successfully managing its business with Synergy since March of 2005. The company is always looking for new ways to use the software to make the organization even tighter. “Our next big opportunity is to exploit Synergy’s workflow management capability to replace more of what we do outside of the system,” said Proescholdt. Consider RMA processing, for example. Synergy Workflow Management would help ensure that the right information gets to the right people, so the corrective action can be executed quickly and without errors. Even if an error occurs, the source of the problem can be discovered and resolved without delay because Synergy workflow improves the traceability of the RMA request.
Without a cohesive data management structure in place, any company will face difficult challenges that might inhibit growth and ultimately prevent success. Exact MAX and Exact Synergy can make many of those challenges more manageable, and their integrated capabilities have proven to be effective for DCA.
Exact Software develops both MAX and Synergy and offers them together as an integrated solution through a single point of contact for implementation, maintenance, and support.