Best Bars hooks up new production scheduling

Published on the 26/11/2013 | Written by Infor



  • Manufacturing & design


  • Replace an outdated ERP system to eliminate manual procedures and improve production scheduling.
  • Introduce a platform for continuous improvement including CRM and EDI.


  • SyteLine ERP with in-built CRM and EDI – implementation, training and support by EMDA.


  • Integrated, finite scheduling system (APS) for business-wide efficiencies.
  • Cost effective – offers immediate ROI.
  • Margin of error dramatically reduced, productivity increased.
  • Transparency, visibility and measurement capability enable greater business competitiveness.


T: +61 2 9021 7100


T: +64 9 921 6600 or
T: +64 3 343 0023

Engineering tow bars takes more than strong steel when your customers are auto-manufacturers around the globe…

As Aussies and Kiwis continue to hook their boats and caravans up for the Great Annual Beach Migration, spare a thought for the humble tow bar. Chances are the only thing keeping their precious assets in tow was engineered by New Zealand’s market leader for the design and manufacture of ‘genuine part’ automotive accessories.

With a head office in Auckland and a sales and technical centre in Melbourne, Best Bars employs over 85 people and is a leading supplier of auto accessories to the APAC region.

Increased focus on being competitive internationally had seen Best Bars grow over its 30-year history from New Zealand into Australia and on to the US and Europe. However, inadequate system capability in the production and planning areas of the business were holding it back. Staff were using spread sheets or manual systems to plug the gaps, and this resulted in a lack of visibility between departments. While the business was performing well, it recognised that to move from good to great it needed to make improvements.

Its focus on the global marketplace, together with an outdated enterprise platform, forced a decision to begin the search for a business management system that would cover functionality in manufacturing planning, scheduling and costing, as well as CRM.

“As an emerging global supplier, it was critical that our business systems could integrate and share information with the multiple systems used by our customers. We needed to improve the delivery of information to internal users as they strive to continuously improve on meeting the needs of our customers and adding value beyond simply providing a product to market,” comments Stephen de Kriek, CEO of Best Bars.

After a comprehensive search across leading ERP systems, Best Bars selected Infor’s SyteLine over other shortlisted options, from Microsoft Dynamics to SAP. Best Bars signed EMDA to configure and roll out a multi-module SyteLine solution.

The implementation was approached in two stages and run across the whole business, from production, manufacturing and sales to distribution. Phase one involved replacing the previous system, and configuration of the feature enabling a multi-level bill of material for manufactured products. User home screens were also configured, which allow employees to access all the functions they require in their role in one place. Finite production scheduling was put in place providing real time product availability dates from production schedules.

Phase two, currently underway, involves implementation of improvement aspects that de Kriek calls “stepped gains”. These added benefits, such as ease of use and straight-forward customisations, are what led Best Bars to select SyteLine over its competitors. The production scheduling alone is anticipated to directly impact the bottom line by lowering manufacturing costs, as well as improving customer service and re-ordering. In 2014, EMDA will roll out SyteLine’s integrated CRM feature for Best Bars.

“Being a manufacturing based business, we rely on the effectiveness of production scheduling,” comments de Kriek. “If I had to choose the number one greatest benefit thus far, it would be that SyteLine is a truly integrated, finite scheduling system. The robust production scheduling is already delivering a huge number of efficiencies across the business.”

Staff job satisfaction has increased dramatically after the first phase. Increased speed and efficiency for users has improved customer service.

Employees are feeling better supported in making decisions and completing tasks. Additionally, the much improved user interface has been readilyaccepted and embraced by staff. This has resulted in lower training costs. Users can answer queries by drilling down into the system themselves, rather than query another department.

Business drivers such as customer demand, delivery scheduling, manufacturing costs and resource tracking are now simplified and much more visible. De Kriek says that the margin of error has been dramatically reduced with the new system. Users can see everything they need to, as it happens, so business decisions can be made better and more quickly.

The role-based screens mean only the relevant tools are available, while workflow screens describe standard operating procedures to users. Workflows are set up to integrate with the business’s quality management systems, ensuring that IP remains with Best Bars. The in-built application can walk users through systems and processes simply and effectively, eliminating the need for users to record, share and store procedures, a benefit de Kriek says is “invaluable”.

“We now have the ability to be on a global platform, dealing with customers internationally, thanks to this sophisticated ERP system,” says de Kriek. “SyteLine has put us on an equal footing with, if not beyond, our competitors in terms of business systems. It is now very easy to drill down into information, making our business more profitable and ultimately providing a better experience to customers.”

Other benefits have been reduced inventory levels and shortages; increased manufacturing speed and accuracy; minimisation of errorprone manual steps and conflicting procedures; improved order delivery speeds; and the expeditious delivery of critical information to make smarter business decisions.

“To be competitive in the global marketplace, you have to have robust business systems in place. We’ve chosen to invest in those systems. If you can measure, you can improve,” de Kriek concludes.


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