Flexible Packaging talked with David Taylor, president and CEO of Radius Solutions, about helping packaging companies improve organization and increase operational efficiencies with resource planning software.

Q: WHY DO FLEXIBLE PACKAGING CONVERTERS NEED ERP/MIS SOFTWARE?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Management Information Systems (MIS) systems are designed to help companies integrate all of their processes and data into one unified system. In general, this helps organizations reduce inefficiencies such as multiple data entry, minimize errors by leveraging a single automated system and simplify access to data from across their entire operations-for performance measurement.

Of course, not all ERP systems are the same. To maximize the value from a system, it's important to make sure that it has been designed to fit the operational requirements of your specific industry. For example, an ERP system specifically designed for the flexible market will be able to capture and provide high-quality information on job costing, which is a key metric for packaging companies. This will allow an organization to understand where they are making or losing money-from the original sales estimate, to the production estimate, to what actually happens on the shop floor. Effectively tracking and managing these variables can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line.

One situation we see frequently in systems we replace is that there are non-integrated pieces used to create something that will work for a packaging organization. For example, there may be some general ERP elements designed for repetitive manufacturing, supplemented by a homegrown system such as “estimating,” toaccommodate the needs of a jobbing environment. Then companies try tointerface the systems. These interface points almost always end up creatingopportunities for errors, delays and problems.


Q: WHAT BENEFITS CAN A PACKAGING COMPANY GAIN FROM IMPLEMENTING ERP/MIS SOFTWARE?

An industry-specific solution can help an organization gain efficiencies inareas that are particularly critical to it. For example, an area that is especiallyimportant for flexible packaging companies is what happens on the shop floor. When a company can access a system that leverages electronic scheduling capabilities, and then employ real-time decision making to optimize its job scheduling, it can have a significant positive impact on overall productivity. A well-developed industry-specific system can bring about many additional benefits in nearly every department of a packaging organization.

Q: HOW DOES YOUR PLATFORM, PECAS VISION, DELIVER THESE

PECAS Vision has the capabilities to deliver significant benefits by being a fully integrated system designed to address best practices in all areas of printing and packaging organizations, from estimating through to cash receipt. However, the benefits of a systemare only realized when it is implemented properly by consultants who have substantial industry experience, a proven implementation approach and comprehensive knowledge of the system. Proper implementation also includes training, to make sure people are using the system as it was intended, so the maximum value can be derived from it. Strong pre- and post-implementation support is another important factor for project success. Ongoing investment into the product to keep it current with the needs of printing and packagingcompanies ensures that benefits from the system continue over time. On average, organizations keep ERP systems for a minimum of seven to 10 years. To fully realize the benefits of a system requires selecting a long term strategic partner with the right product, people and service-oriented approach to align with your company's long term objectives.

Radius Solutions312-648-0800; www.radiussolutions.com

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