“SYSPRO is a valuable tool for us culturally and organizationally to pursue ISO 9001:2008 certification, document repeatable processes to deliver Six Sigma improvements, and turn otherwise random business data into actionable business insights.”
– Kendra Newman, Vice President of Business Processes, WPI
World Precision Instruments (WPI) is a leading product manufacturer serving the global science and medical community with customizable, cutting-edge laboratory instruments at cost effective prices. For more than 50 years, the company has been designing and producing electrophysiology equipment for tissue/cell biology, animal physiology and electrophysiology which it sells to research labs, universities, and hospitals. The company’s headquarters are in Sarasota, FL, and it has additional offices in the China, Germany, and the U.K., as well as distributorships in 16 additional countries across the globe.
In addition to prioritizing high quality (WPI is ISO-9001:2015 and Six Sigma certified products, WPI distinguishes itself competitively with a superior level of knowledgeable customer support, as attested to by customers on the company’s website: “I have had dealings with WPI for several years and have consistently found their customer service to be second-to-none. They have always provided fast and insightful responses to any technical query and such support has been of enormous help to my laboratory,” says Dr. Andy MacKenzie, University of the West of Scotland.
How does a well-established company with entrenched operations embrace rapidly changing business/economic drivers, support an ever-expanding global footprint, and modernize its approach to every day operations? And, can an ERP solution help you navigate around world events impacting manufacturing, accounting, and sales channels?
In 2001, WPI recognized that implementing a world-class ERP solution was as necessary an ingredient to the company’s success as their passion for manufacturing high-quality research lab equipment. With an eye on providing affordable, quality instruments coupled with the competitive advantage of local sales and technical support, the company wanted to improve business operations across its financial, production, shipping, and customer service spectrum.
The mission: an efficient technology backbone that supports the full business spectrum of delivering continuous company innovation for medical products, such as surgical stapling equipment and cell culture cup chambers used in research and diagnostics. The challenge: maintaining a healthy bottom line while absorbing new product requirements, aggressive geographic expansion, and factoring government funding vacillations tied to political/tax climates. Today, WPI relies heavily on its highly configurable SYPSRO ERP solution to keep its fast-changing operations both flexible and profitable.
World Precision Instruments’ executives say that the benefits of their SYSPRO ERP value proposition, much like the science of their research instruments, continues to evolve. Kendra Newman, Vice President of Business Processes (BP) at WPI, joined the company shortly after it selected and deployed SYSPRO ERP, and has watched WPI’s incremental uptake of this decision steadily deliver new bottom line results.
Newman has seen utilization of SYSPRO’s capabilities improve from about 10% capability at the onset of deployment, to 75%. She credits SYSPRO’s ease of use, plus WPI’s commitment to continuous improvement in ERP technology adoption.
Newman notes that WPI operates a full spectrum of SYSPRO modules in financials, purchasing, sales orders/analysis, product configuration, EDI, shipping, payments, returns and report writing – all of which she says can contribute to the company’s operational maneuverability and profitability. WPI can also be potentially impacted by evolving geo-political events (like BREXIT and sales tariffs), yet the company can react more effectively with the combination of WPI’s geographic bandwidth plus flexibility within SYSPRO ERP.
“We weren’t always as technologically nimble and business process-centric as we are today, but when my responsibilities evolved into the business process management spectrum I saw a real opportunity for our company to use SYSPRO to facilitate employee decision-making and empowerment, while improving our operations. SYSPRO was a valuable tool for us culturally and organizationally to pursue ISO 9001:2008 certification, document repeatable processes to deliver Six Sigma improvements, and turn otherwise random business data into actionable business insights. As employees continue to learn what they can do with SYSPRO to improve their own areas, we also are building new efficiencies across functions and processes. We are working better as an operational unit and not just in our departmental silos,” says Newman.
One example of many that comes to Newman’s mind is with report preparation; something that’s required of every operational area for different reasons, but that used to be a major time waster.
“Our accounting people used to spend hours finding data and then manually entering them one-off on to spreadsheets. Sales would do ad hoc time-sensitive, confined reporting. Marketing was virtually blind trying to ‘see’ what was or wasn’t working either by country or by program. We’ve evolved emails, spreadsheets and canned reports into re-usable, valuable information that can guide or change critical decisions when needed.
“Report creation is an easy, teachable skill with SYSPRO.”
Newman says that as business challenges come up, she is championing employees to think out of the box to use available technology to do business processes better and faster. “Small things like a repeated manual action – when automated using SYSPRO technology – can save major blocks of employee time and dollars that can be better spent.” With WPI’s sales performance sometimes tied to their customers’ government grant access, building efficiency into operations takes some of the margin sting out of grant funding reductions.
SYSPRO Learning Channel and User Forums
WPI took a leap of faith in its latest release that the SYSPRO user interface was as business friendly and self-evident as promised, and the company did its own training on the system. Newman says they have not been disappointed, and uses her own nontechnical educational background as an example.
“I began my career as a marketing coordinator; not as an IT person,” she said. “I had never worked with an ERP system and I wasn’t even sure where to start. I just took advantage of what SYSPRO had to offer, jumped into learning it, and then encouraged others to simply see how intuitive it was to use.”
A proponent of the SYSPRO Learning Channel, Newman says she really likes the tips she gleans from the educational videos and is an active participant in SYSPRO User forums. “The collaboration within the wider SYSPRO community and with the available online learning tools is very powerful,” Newman says. “You do not need to be a technical person to use or learn SYSPRO.”
Newman identified three quick repeatable areas where WPI’s improved business processes via SYSPRO are delivering real results:
- Invoice Preparation – Previously based on unique customer preferences in both the data required and delivery methodology, a daily business process that used to take 4 l/2 hours per day is now 1 hour per day. The savings averages $25,000 annually.
- Sales Orders – Several manual steps have been eliminated by SYSPRO to manage the order entry to delivery process. The savings for each order entry person averages just under $20,000 annually.
- Order Customization – Order inquiry screen prompting, for example to ensure critical adjunct components like power cords are considered, save customer support problems and manual order review process drag. “You can’t underestimate the advantage of ensuring that customers get what they want and are satisfied with the order,” Newman says.
While implementing these improved processes using SYSPRO ERP has been iterative and additive since the software was first installed, WPI believes that at least ten years of improved business processes delivered about a half-million dollars in new efficiency savings. “There’s one last point we would make about our SYSPRO experience, and that is commitment by their team to provide us with great service so that we can deliver great service to our customers,” she said.
“Whenever we have a question or need assistance, SYSPRO support staff are always available and interested in ensuring our company success using their ERP solution.”