We are a custom fabricator of precision metal parts and assemblies. We are very diverse in our customer market base, each of which has their particular needs and associated challenges. We started out several years ago using Excel spreadsheets for quoting that became increasingly complex and customized. The maintenance aspect of the quotes and quoting process became very convoluted and messy. The biggest problem with a Microsoft product system was the ability for any user to accidentally make changes to the quoting sheet for one particular customer and that calculation would carry over to other quotes. We knew that we needed to improve the process of quoting and tracking time associated with each project. In addition, we wanted to add BOM and stock tracking capabilities, so we began to look at all of the options available. We researched JobBoss, Citrux, Syspro, Intuit and Microsoft Dynamics. Each of the software platforms had pros and cons. For us, the determining factors were price per function and the feature set offerings that were specifically designed for manufacturing. We did not want to custom tailor a software package for our shop. We wanted a software that was already set up for the way we do business, all we had to do was populate the fields and learn the basic functions.
Overall, E2 has been a good decision for our company. It has allowed us to scale up and spend much less time tracking order status, employee and machine utilization and keeping track of BOMs without the use of Excel spreadsheets, which we used to use for everything. Excel was a good starting tool for us, but was not sustainable as we have grown. We are much leaner now than before and I feel that we are able to generate and evaluate useful BI data for evaluation. We like having the ability to know the time it takes us to process a particular job through the shop, and the ability for administrative employees to be able to check the status of a job.
We have recommended E2 to two of our supply chain partners since inception. One of the companies uses it and does well with it. The other company never embraced it and made the commitment to fully transition over to it. The moral of the story: It is a good tool, but it is not a five minute process to transition into it. It requires a champion within your organization that will learn it and be willing to get the data transfer set up so that your company can make a hard-stop transition over to using the system and not look back to your current system. Human nature is to resist change and you will have to manage your staff’s desire to keep using your current system because it’s comfortable and quicker, due to their knowledge of the current system.
We have had a few issues along the way that have been frustrating (probably 5 times in 6 years). On a few occasions we have lost some data and had employees that were unable to input data into the system. We believe that the root cause was the system failing in some way while an employee was logging data. For example, If I am inputting data into an order and there is a fault (for any reason: power dip, hardware on my computer, etc) the E2 system sees this a problem because I was in the main database and when the network connection is re-established. We back up our data daily and can always revert to the previous day’s data. This was a fairly easy fix, but the primary frustration was the lost time determining that the system is no longer recording the data that we put in.
Initial Install and data transfer, 7 (The tool to do this has gotten better since we migrated our data)
Training and support, 9 (Support has been good)
Ease of use and how easy to work with, ( Initially, 7. Now that we are comfortable with it, 9)
Any hiccoughs or glitches, (Yes, but minor, and probably in line with industry standard.)
Accuracy of info generated, 9 (You must ensure that employees are logging into and out of jobs accurately. This takes time, but will become a learned behavior. We have a lady in our office view the employee's log twice per day to ensure that they are logged into a job. If not, then they have to explain why)
We would purchase E2 again.
Ease of use