Case Studies

APL

Staying ahead of the market with superior customer service

“With SyteLine (CSI), our integrated ERP system, we’re most definitely ahead of the bunch.”

Thanks to a full-blown enterprise resource planning system, aluminium window supplier APL can provide customers with an open view of their orders – and they keep coming back for more.

Challenge

As a leading window systems supplier, Hamilton-based APL designs and markets several brands of aluminium doors and windows that are produced in New Zealand by a nationwide network of more than 70 manufacturers.

Founded in 1971, the business is vertically integrated. Aside from design and testing, it has an aluminium extrusion operation (INEX), an anodising business (FINEX) and a powder-coating plant (ColourWorks). It also operates a fleet of trucks (APL Direct) that deliver materials to its diverse network of manufacturers.

To make things work in unison, APL needed a system that could keep track of thousands of product variables at the same time – such as materials, colour and type of coating.

Solution: Infor SyteLine (CSI)

“With SyteLine (CSI), our integrated ERP system, we’re most definitely ahead of the bunch,” says APL head of information and procurement, Peter Dittmer, according to whom the system is at the heart of the business.

“As orders come in — the majority through an EDI interface direct from our fabricators — they are put into the ERP system. The purchasing of any requirements to complete an order, and production scheduling, are then determined by the system according to lead time.” SyteLine (CSI) is also able to automatically schedule the progress of any order, from receipt to despatch by track, and according to the business’ industry-specific needs.

Dittmer explains: “If the goods are being powder-coated in silver pearl, say, we would normally give a five-day lead time. So the system will say this order needs to be picked on day three, painted on day four and on a truck on day five. SyteLine (CSI) does all that for us.” Sold and supported by EMDA, the move to SyteLine (CSI) represented a “leap into the 21st century,” according to Dittmer. And the EMDA team was instrumental in easing APL into it.

“I’ve been involved with other ERP projects where too much change was introduced at once, and they just fall over. Now that we have this in place we will slowly use more bar-coding and other features to enhance the system as we move forward with it.”

Results

The EMDA-developed integration with APL’s trucking system was one of the biggest benefits that the business has realised from SyteLine (CSI).

For APL, SyteLine (CSI) is all about “flexibility and visibility”, which help adjust for contingencies and keep customers informed of their order status. Just what the company needed to sharpen its competitive edge, says Dittmer.

“We have about 70 customers and they need to know where their goods are, whether there are any delays or problems with any part of the order as it goes through the system, and when the goods will be delivered. We’re able to feed back all that information through SyteLine (CSI) into their systems so they can see their order status at any stage.”

Ongoing support and upgrades are also solid: “EMDA has some class people and overall it has been excellent.”

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“We have about 70 customers and they need to know where their goods are, whether there are any delays or problems with any part of the order as it goes through the system, and when the goods will be delivered. We’re able to feed back all that information through SyteLine (CSI) into their systems so they can see their order status at any stage.”