By Thomas R. Cutler
iButtonLink is a small manufacturing company that focuses on networked sensor solutions. It designs and manufactures products in-house at a facility located in East Troy, Wisconsin. Since 2003 the company has worked with some of the largest Fortune 100 companies and some of the smallest companies with customers located on five continents. Recently, Donna Grunow, Procurement and Production Manager at iButtonLink explained, "As our company was growing, we had more raw material and finished goods inventory to manage. The software we were using was not detailed enough to handle the job."
Mixing company financials and company inventory in the same program was proving to be a problem, as well as a poor business practice. The company's biggest challenge was to find software that would fit with the manufacturing model of building mostly custom products for customers, or a base product with several variations. This caused the company to seek specific manufacturing software.
Like more than a million small manufacturers the accounting software selected was QuickBooks. While a fine solution, growing small manufacturers can quickly require more features, functionality, and control. The next step for growing manufacturers is to find solutions that integrate with the existing QuickBooks solution.
Grunow noted, "MISys was one of the few we found that integrated with QuickBooks. That was important to us because we were not in the position to change accounting software. MISys offered modules that could be added later. This is how we approached the purchase; to start with the basic program and build on it by adding modules as we saw the business grow. MISys was one of the few that offered help on the front end file transfers, rather than letting the customer buy the software and figuring it out ourselves."
Managing Manufacturing Growth
The company moved from one person making products to an actual production staff of 3-4 people. Bills of materials, routings, and inventory management were critical challenges for the company. Grunow admits, “Sad to say, but we were using QuickBooks to manage inventory flow. It became very cumbersome and limited in what it would do including lack of reporting.”
The company put the MISys software online mid-2009. It took the about two months to move items and create new bills of material and actually get up and running. Shortly after, they added Shop Floor Control and then Purchasing. Benefits included a less stressful management of production and better purchasing records with the ability to cost compare between several vendors. The sensor company is also better able to track actual production costs to make money-saving decisions.
Designed specifically for small to medium-sized manufacturing firms, MISys (www.misysinc.com) has been a leader in the manufacturing software industry for more than a quarter century. The company maintains close developer relationships with Intuit (the maker of QuickBooks) and Sage Software (the maker of Sage 300 ERP (Accpac), Sage 50 US (Peachtree), and Sage 50 Canada (Simply Accounting). MISys Manufacturing software can be run as a standalone solution or fully integrated with the accounting software, with flexible deployment options offered.
Built-in power and scalability are critical elements needed by fast-growing manufacturers when selecting a technology solution. For maximum performance and scalability, MISys Manufacturing is built on the industry-standard MicrosoftSQL database engine, a 5-user version of which is included in the purchase price. For larger firms, MISys Manufacturing supports hundreds of concurrent users on Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and other ANSI-compliant SQL databases.
MISys Manufacturing offers a comprehensive solution for all industries, with specific functionality for food & beverage, auto parts, industrial machinery, and plastics manufacturers. The software has evolved to include powerful functionality required by manufacturers in the pharmaceutical, health & beauty, electronics, computer equipment and aerospace & defense industries. Modules range from Advanced Purchasing to Advanced Production; from Material Requirements Planning (MRP) to Shop Floor Control (and many other modules).
MISys Manufacturing software products are sold directly by the company as well as hundreds of business partners in forty-eight countries. A privately held corporation headquartered in Woodstock, Vermont, MISys has more than 7,500 customers worldwide.