"All of our chairs are built to order. Each seating client's needs are unique, and we build to suit them," says Irwin IT director, John Perna. "Each piece and part is different. It's unique, and we only make it once. After we create it, we never make it again."
Irwin uses a configure price quote (CPQ) system to manage orders. However, the system was not capable of easily generating the manufacturing rules dynamically or accurately to handle the changes in product offerings. Every project taken on uses a different combination of parts to fit each client’s unique needs.
This presented a problem: "How can we leverage our existing technologies, but add a more modern design to it?" Perna says.
"We went from Four Full-Time IT Data Entry personnel manually creating parts in Plex, to less than a half time data entry personnel updating only special part orders," he says. "By working with Plex, we cut our costs while improving our accuracy."
"Back when I started in 2017, just for the IT department, there was $215,000 in costs, just for mistakes from data entry errors," says Perna. "Last year, it was less than $40,000. This year, we have zero so far."
It was a big job, but our IT department accomplished it all within a year. The pandemic, ironically, slowed things down enough that our team could focus on these improvements. As a result, we've emerged a more efficient, more effective manufacturer.