Ehmke Weaves Together its Operations with MAS 200
More than 75 years ago, Ehmke Manufacturing Company designed and fabricated the first covers for Major Leagues baseball fields. Today, Ehmke is a $7.5 million diversified technical fabric manufacturer offering products ranging from military aircraft upholstery items to athletic products.
Now employing 124 people, 95 percent of the company’s business is manufacturing sewn products for the U.S. military, U.S. allies and large defense contractors, such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
Ehmke Bursts at the Seams
With the growth of the defense industry, Ehmke has experienced five-fold growth over the past five years. Although its Peachtree version 8.0 accounting system from Best Software had been an effective solution for many years, Ehmke quickly began outgrowing the Peachtree system.
Even with Peachtree automating some of its processes, most of Ehmke’s operational and managerial functions, such as shop management and inventory control were handled in spreadsheets. Payroll was processed manually and bonus calculations were done in a spreadsheet.
“Inventory control is a key to our operations and we were struggling with allocations,” said Bob Rosania, CEO at Ehmke. “We had to take the next step and find a solution that integrates accounting, distribution and manufacturing to help streamline our processes.”
“We began searching for manufacturing software with a heavy focus on our inventory requirements,” said Rosania. “We purchased DBA on a trial basis and also looked at Great Plains. However, when we came across Best Software’s MAS 200, we saw that it did what we wanted and would grow with us.”
Ehmke evaluated a number of resellers for the implementation of MAS 200. They chose CompuData because they were extremely impressed with CompuData’s qualified MAS 200 project team and its award winning Best Authorized Training Center. They also liked the fact that CompuData was geographically close to its facilities.
MAS 200 is a Perfect Fit
After CompuData reviewed Ehmke’s goals and the potential hurdles that they needed to overcome, they conducted a detailed network audit of all of Ehmke’s hardware, software and associated systems. The CompuData project manager then walked through every aspect of Ehmke’s business and manufacturing processes from order to shipping to billing. She looked at howthe manufacturer’s processes flowed, who did what, and which reports needed to be generated. Based on CompuData’s analysis, MAS 200 was a good business fit.
“We really didn’t need any customization,” explained Rosania. “We were able to use MAS 200 right out of the box and we’ll be able to grow into it in the future with other add-on modules.”
In order to thoroughly train their staff, the Ehmke team attended MAS 200 classes at CompuData’s Best Authorized Training Center in Philadelphia.
Tightening the Stitching on Inventory and Financial Functions
Ehmke went live on MAS 200 in just four months. “MAS 200 is very comprehensive,” said Rosania. “We definitely have better control of our inventory and this is where the greatest return on investment will be found.”
With MAS 200’s inventory control module, Ehmke has a better understanding of what is in inventory and what they need to make or purchase. Eliminating both inventory shortages and excess inventory, they have streamlined purchasing – only buying what they need when they need it.
Another important benefit of MAS 200 is that it has much stricter accounting controls. Peachtree was automated, but it wasn’t GAAP compliant and the looseness in the processes created concern at Ehmke. MAS 200 has eliminated that concern.
“The tighter controls in MAS 200 force users to follow proper accounting procedures,” said Rosania. “MAS 200 will not allow accounting errors to take place like in our previous system. This solution raises the credibility of our finances.”
Additionally, customer service has improved. The sales team can go into the MAS 200 system and easily find out when an item has shipped or bring up other details on specific customer orders. Before implementing MAS 200, they had to run around the shop to different departments to determine the status of an order. With MAS 200, Ehmke is now able to provide fast and accurate information to their defense industry clients.
MAS 200 has also significantly improved Ehmke’s job costing process. The automation in calculating actual job costs is saving Ehmke 15 hours alone per project. “We have much quicker access to job costing data,” explained Rosania. “It is very important for us to know the actual cost of the project. That way for future proposals we will be better able to cost out our jobs and submit competitive bids.”
CompuData and MAS 200 have provided a comprehensive solution for the Ehmke Manufacturing Company to support their continued growth. Ehmke now has a tighter grip on their inventory, has fortified their accounting practices, has more timely customer and job information, and is better positioned to develop more competitive job bids far into the future.