Case Study: M & H Engineering
Company: M & H Engineering
Industry: Metal Fabrication
Location: Danvers, Mass.
About The Company
This is another era of excitement for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and their space exploration programs. America is headed to the Moon again; this time as a springboard for travel to Mars. Man made satellites visit the outer reaches of our solar system, while the International Space Station nears completion. For each of these adventures, technological development advances at a dizzying rate. To meet the challenges of machining precision components and assemblies with close, tight, tolerances, rigorous production standards must not only be shop policy, they should be an established part of the complete shop culture responsible for producing them. M & H Engineering, of Danvers, Mass., believes in this approach in the production of precision parts. It is also the major reason they are vendors to not only clients in the field of space exploration, but in the medical, communication, and military industries as well.
Started as a general machine shop in 1966, over the next two decades M & H narrowed their production focus to become a precision machine shop manufacturing highly specialized technological components and assemblies. As research and development in the space and medical industries expanded throughout the 1970’s and early 1980’s, M & H experienced the pains associated with any successful and growing enterprise. From the shop floor to the office floor, better coordination of data was increasingly needed to ensure the maximum use of production capacity while also maintaining control of quality customer service. So it was in the mid 1980’s that M & H found their best fit for enterprise resource planning in Global Shop’s On System ERP Solutions™ software. According to Michael Martens, administrative vice president with M & H, “With our growth in the early 1980’s, manual tasking, routing, and control of information were just becoming too overwhelming for our non integrated software. What we needed was something that could handle information from all over our operation, and do it in real time. So, our IT guy saw a demo and discovered just how different and strong Global Shop’s ERP software is, and we implemented it. That was over 20 years ago, and we’ve been with Global Shop ever since. And, from my perspective, purchasing the Global Shop software was one of the best moves we ever made.”
The Whole Package
When you’re a small- to medium-sized manufacturer, with an employee count of something between 50 and 100, finding the right ERP software at the greatest value can be daunting. In one instance, the software might be too costly with far too many bells and whistles that you don’t need and will never use. On the other hand, being pigeonholed into a business basics software package not specifically designed for manufacturing may become very limiting very fast by lacking the operations integration capabilities that inspired you to look for ERP software in the first place. With Global Shop Solutions, M & H was able to find that happy middle ground feature rich manufacturing ERP software at an incredible value. “We pretty much use the whole thing,” observes Martens, “The whole Global Shop package is very useful for us, and in this regard, it’s really unlike any system out on the market. We use everything from the General Ledger to Payroll, the Quoting system, Inventory Control, Shop Control.
In making full use of their Global Shop Solutions system, and having been a user for so long, M & H realizes significant ROI in the form of shop floor efficiencies. This is particularly true when it comes to the maintenance of WIP and lean processes. Global Shop gives M & H the shop oversight that translates into maximized profits from what are often fixed or increasingly reduced margins. As Martens points out, “What Global Shop allows us to do is to look at any job in progress and know exactly what’s going on with it. This is huge for us because our customers can call up and we can give them status reports instantaneously. In other words, Global Shop gives us a real time overview of what’s happening out on the shop floor and shipping areas.” M & H finds the all-encompassing capabilities of Global Shop’s ERP system are constructed with streamlining at its core. It is the streamlining of processes and data that helps M & H focus their attention on the important production requirements of parts and assemblies for customers who need such exceptional precision output.
Building Quality One Part at a Time
As a vital member of the lean supply chain in close tolerance manufacturing, M & H takes tight control of the shop floor in every niche of the operation. With M & H’s 33 milling and turning machines, and over 50 employees manning them, Global Shop’s ability to control costs, through areas such as paperwork and labor cost reductions, contributes handsomely to the profitability of each job. M & H’s direct labor costs have gone down through a better accounting of time and attendance. “We do everything via the online system in terms of time and attendance, and logging in and out of jobs. Also, Global Shop is especially strong in controlling our materials costs through a shop management capability that accurately accounts for scrap,” observes Martens. And, when Martens speaks about scrap, he’s talking about some pretty pricey stock waste that can cut drastically into profits if left unchecked. M & H builds parts and assemblies in the full gamut of materials, from stainless steels and plastics, to copper, high-tensile aluminum, and titanium. To ensure that materials waste is kept at a minimum, M & H employees are invested in production quality with the help of the Global Shop Solutions system. “With Global Shop,” states Martens, “the reports really mean something to management. We’re able to keep absolute control over quality by being able to see what’s going on with scrap. Over time, we’ve seen that when people are forced to put scrap into the computer using Global Shop, and we can account for what’s supposed to be there and what’s lost in production—it’s amazing how much less scrap they make. I can truly say that our Global Shop system raises the scrap accountability for the people working our machines. And with less scrap, we have greater control over both quality and cost.”
Designed Global Shop Solutions: It’s the People
After two decades of loyalty to a single ERP software provider, you would think that there would be few surprises in their software updates. This is not the case with the successful marriage of M & H Engineering and Global Shop Solutions. Martens believes that this success is the result of Global Shop’s consistently innovative and forwardthinking research and development, as well as the conscientious and quality level of service they have always provided. For Martens, “Global Shop’s always there when we need help, even when something out of the ordinary pops up and it becomes a service issue for us. For example, our bank uses a different software interface than most banks around the country, and this was a problem for us when it came to direct deposit. Global Shop was able to work that problem and find a solution in the software. Global Shop has a completely different service attitude when compared to their competition.”
Martens continues, “Also, the products the research department at Global Shop comes up with are great products designed specifically for manufacturers, and they’re actually useful for us. It’s not like the other software guys that come up with a bunch of glitz on the screen. We use everything in the software we buy from Global Shop.” When distilled to the root level of understanding, it is the confluence of software strength, diversity, service, and value that are, for M & H, the reasons they’ve been with Global Shop Solutions for so long. It is a business relationship in its truest sense, and the hallmark of Global Shop Solutions dedication to producing the best ERP software solution for small to medium sized manufacturing operations, no matter the product, no matter the complexity of integration. Martens concludes, “Global Shop has helped M & H succeed because they try harder than any other software company I know of to keep their relationships with their customers strong. It’s the commitment from Global Shop that makes all the difference in their ERP software and what else is out there in the market. In short, it’s more than the great Global Shop product . . . it’s also their people.”