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Safety Products Manufacturer Chooses Lilly Software’s Aerospace and Defense Solution


22 January 2004, Hampton, NH (USA) — Within six months of going live with VISUAL Enterprise Aerospace & Defense, Mine Safety Appliances (MSA) Company in Sparks, Maryland has seen enormous benefits in its visibility to real-time data and its ability to track costs and manage projects.

MSA is a global corporation with 27 operating companies. The Sparks facility primarily serves customers in the Aerospace & Defense (A&D) industry, which means it must adhere to strict government controls. Before adopting VISUAL®, the company planned its operations using project scheduling software and used several non-integrated systems throughout its departments to handle the unique A&D controls. MSA had difficulty getting data about the costs for individual projects on a real-time basis, however, and it could not quickly view job details.

MSA researched Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to meet its needs. The corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania used a leading business software solution and encouraged its division to adopt the same product. The Sparks facility recognized that it needed software designed specifically to handle A&D projects in a mid-sized company.

“We really liked VISUAL Enterprise Aerospace & Defense,” says Chris Riismandel, Manager, Information Technology for Mine Safety Appliances Company. “It had the manufacturing capabilities we wanted with a focus on project management.”

“We needed to track and manage projects at a Work Breakdown Structure Level, as well as have an integrated system where purchasing, material management, inventory control, shipping, and receiving all communicated and where information was accessible on a real-time basis “ says Lorraine Brown, Manager of VISUAL Enterprise implementation for MSA.

In October 2002, MSA decided to implement VISUAL Enterprise Aerospace & Defense. It went live with the entire system in May 2003. Implementing an entire ERP system is no small task and is often fraught with trouble, but MSA planned, trained, and worked hard to eliminate any potential start-up problems.

“We assembled a team of individuals from every major department, including receiving, quality, engineering, and purchasing, and had each of them become experts with the capabilities in the system. We put in hours and hours of training during implementation and that’s why we were able to go live with all facets of the system at once. We didn’t want to operate any legacy systems. We wanted to avoid manually entering data and our costing had to work properly in order to bill for month-end,” says Riismandel.

VISUAL Enterprise Aerospace & Defense now helps MSA manage and streamline all its major business processes. Currently, 50 users take advantage of time-saving tools to help them handle customer requests, create Work Orders, schedule projects, plan and purchase materials, perform kitting, and store and ship products. Managers and engineers can instantly see the costs for products billed. The company can now provide cost estimates to customers quickly and accurately, which helps improve its overall customer service.

“The biggest benefit is the real-time visibility we get with the system. It’s hard to put metrics on how much money we’ve saved, but our processes are definitely streamlined. Engineering technicians can now charge time and materials directly to a job, which means we can track costs accurately on a day-to-day basis. We also use custom reports and can automatically track work and vacation time. Before we had someone manually tracking this, and it was a time-consuming job. With less time spent trouble-shooting because they have the proper tools, many employees are finding their job roles expanding.”

MSA has also been impressed with the support and A&D expertise that it receives from Lilly Software Associates.  “When we call Lilly Software with a question or concern, they respond to our needs because they have people running the A&D product that understand our business and can get us results fast,” says Riismandel.

As far as future plans, in the next six months, MSA will interface its VISUAL data with the solution at corporate headquarters. The company also wants to upgrade to the current version of VISUAL Enterprise Aerospace & Defense, focus on more training, and learn how to use the MRP and scheduling capabilities to their fullest abilities. “We want our users to be even more tech-savvy than they are,” says Riismandel. “We want to leverage the system so that we’re reaping all the benefits. VISUAL met 95% of our needs straight out of the box and the rest is just fine-tuning. We are now light years ahead of where we were before implementing this system. We recognize that Lilly Software is invested in the growth of its Aerospace & Defense product and we want to grow our company with the product. It’s a good match for us and provides us with a great deal of flexibility.”

About Lilly Software Associates

Lilly Software Associates, Inc. provides a complete line of enterprise and supply chain solutions for manufacturers and distributors. The VISUAL Enterprise™ suite of products helps companies capture and analyze real-time data about all their business processes using ERP, Project Management, Business Performance Management, Quality Management, Customer Relationship Management, and Warehouse Management System capabilities. From award-winning software to strategies in Lean Manufacturing and TOC, Lilly Software offers companies the tools they need for higher productivity and profitability.

Most VISUAL® applications run on Windows® 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, UNIX®, LINUX, Novell®, using SQLBase®, Microsoft SQL Server®, or ORACLE® relational databases.

Lilly Software has received many industry awards for its products, service, and financial growth since its inception. Most recently, the company has been voted one of the Top 10 Best of Breed solutions for manufacturing by readers of Consumer Goods Technology, listed in Software Magazine's Top 500, selected as a Top 100 Logistics Information Technology Provider in Inbound Logistics, listed in the Top 100 Application Vendors in Supply Chain e-Business, included in MSI's Top 100 for its eighth year, and ranked as one of Start magazine's Hottest Companies.

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