Global success for Howco with iMetal
Howco successfully implements iMetal in over 14 locations, across eight countries
Howco is the largest independent supplier and processor of steel, chrome moly, duplex, stainless and nickel based alloys for the oil and gas industry. Howco’s worldwide investment in manufacturing and processing facilities enables the company to provide an outstanding and cost-effective solution to metals and components supply around the globe.
To maintain its continued development as a leading global supplier, Howco required the benefits that a modern ERP system designed for the metals, distributing and processing industries would bring, thus allowing it to operate efficiently across many disciplines and locations.
Implementing Metalogic’s iMetal system has provided this. iMetal is one of the leading specific ERP systems designed and developed by Metalogic explicitly to meet the unique requirements of stockholders, processors and metal service centres.
The implementation of the metals ERP software solution, iMetal included sales quotations, purchase order processing, integrated costing, office management, process costing, production planning, stock forecasting, delivery and logistics planning, invoicing, and financials.
With iMetal, Howco now has at its disposal a flexible system that allows it easy and secure access from remote locations and the ability to create customised processes, data and documents that meet its unique business requirements. This includes custom applications and screens from within the iMetal application. Stanton Fraser, Head of Global Information Technology of Howco Group, noted: “One of our biggest challenges as a global manufacturing company was understanding our recoveries on the work that we are shipping out. Whilst this did not impact our overall financial reporting, our previous ERP system did not give full visibility of our financial performance within specific manufacturing areas. With the implementation of iMetal, we now fully understand our financial performance of each department and ensure all our costs are recoverable. This knowledge allows us to focus on increasing efficiency within departments to increase profitability as well as expand in areas that are doing well.”
Through its multi-language user interface and forms iMetal has enabled the company to improve its data management and maintain customer service levels.
iMetal was implemented in 14 locations in eight countries including North America, Europe and Middle East and Asia Pacific (MEAP). The first phase of implementation was in Canada, which took place within three months followed by MEAP, North America and Europe within ten months. Howco now operates over 240 licences across the group.
“One of the greatest cost savings that we saw from Metalogic came from its licensing. Because we are a globally positioned company, we are able to have concurrent licensing allowing us to only pay for ‘active’ licenses rather than named licenses. Initially during our RFP processes other ERP packages only allowed named licenses, which would have required 1100 user licenses. The savings from this alone in concurrent licensing reduced our annual spend on our ERP by 50 per cent,” added Stanton.
Howco has access to the support coverage provided by Metalogic via its helpdesk from 9.00 am through to 5.30pm GMT plus out of hours support if required thus ensuring the benefit of Metalogic support services. This effectiveness was tested recently following the severe flooding suffered in Houston earlier this year. Should there have been a potential requirement to transfer operation from the live system to the business continuity system Metalogic staff were on hand at all times to ensure this could have been successfully completed.
iMetal provides integration across the full business processes, including pro-active customer management through fully traceable stock control, accounts and reporting. It also contains a number of specific items to work with processing inventory, optimisation and unique modules in relation to material testing and quality requirements.
Because iMetal is implemented as a totally integrated core system with the benefits of additional functions, each module is designed to give the user the maximum information with the minimum effort, allowing improvement in productivity and providing data on a real time basis through business intelligent systems integrated within the application.
Stanton explained: “After reviewing several systems we made the decision to go with iMetal. During that review it was evident that there were several areas where iMetal outperforms other ERP systems in our space and where it had significant synergies with the way we operated. Our first implementation site was more than a year ago and we are seeing the benefits of both the performance and the synergies in the measurable process improvements we have today.”
As iMetal is built as a packaged system specifically for the processing and metal industries, Howco was confident in working with a team of professionals who have a precise understanding of its business and the sector in which it operates. Additionally with iMetal’s integration into Sage this also satisfies all tax requirements on a global basis along with full international audit requirements. Stanton concluded: “iMetal and Sage’s integrated application controls have enabled us to successfully complete three audits in Q4 of 2015 through to Q1 of 2016. The overwhelming success of these audits (two customer and one internal) provides senior management, as well as our shareholders, with reassurance that the proper controls are in place to ensure adherence to modern day corporate compliance requirements. Openly, we did initially evaluate 21 other ERP systems, but I felt that the knowledge of our business that Metalogic has far exceeded any benefits that we saw with other products and significantly reduced the risk of business disruption during the implementation process. Additionally when comparing multiple ERP systems, we took into consideration the learning curve for each of the 21 systems that we evaluated. iMetal clearly won in this review. Instead of spending endless capital on making modifications to a new ERP system to work with our internal processes and procedures, iMetal’s flexible work flows made the transition almost seamless.”
Metalogic is one of the world’s leading suppliers of integrated IT systems to the metals, stockholding, service centre and processing industries. Metalogic’s iMetal range of software products is now supplying the enterprise-wide needs of metal manufacturers, processors and distributors across the globe. Offering multibranch, multi-product and multi-process functionality their highly scalable products can be efficiently and cost effectively implemented at every type of metals manufacturing and distribution business and supported in businesses ranging from five to over 700+ users.