SyteLine streamlines Pacific Doors’ ‘build-to-order’ manufacturing process

Published on the 30/06/2009 | Written by Infor


  • Pacific Doors


  • Manufacturing


  • Upgrade ERP system so as to give a single, unified view into precision manufacturing process and uphold 85 percent efficiency; system also needed to support company’s continued growth and changing needs.


  • Infor ERP SyteLine system and Configurator module.


  • Main benefit has been that the entire process of specifying, con-figuring, pricing and billing for the company’s specialist heavy-duty ‘build-to-order’ doors is now integrated; job costing is also much faster and easier, and inventory can be easily tracked.


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Infor’s ERP SyteLine system has made for faster, easier production at the specialist heavy-duty door company, which aims for 85 percent efficiency…

Pacific Door Systems has significantly reduced the time it takes to specify, price and prepare bills of materials and work orders for its highly specialised doors.

The Lower Hutt, Wellington-based company doesn’t make just any old doors – these are ‘build-to-order’ precision creations that can cost upwards of $80,000. Now, with SyteLine, along with Infor’s Configurator module, the potential for human error has been significantly reduced.

“With SyteLine and the implementation team from EMDA, we’ve been able to streamline our whole ‘build-to-order’ process,” says Derek Pearson, Pacific Doors’ managing director. “This is a significant part of our business; and Configurator has eliminated the need for duplicate data entry – reducing the potential for human error – and has enabled us to standardise our procedures every step of the way.

“We follow the same specification processes that we did before, only now we can do the same job in significantly less time. This has allowed us to spend more time improving other aspects of the business.”

Pearson is a hands-on manager. “We acquired Pacific Doors in the early 1990s,” Pearson explains, “and bought the Timaru facility about five years ago. Between the two factories, we have a monthly turnover of around $1.1 million and close to 70 staff. We strive for efficiency – our goal is to maintain an 85% billable rate for factory floor staff. Over the years, we have developed some very complex specification, pricing, production and testing procedures for our build-to-order doors, but, unfortunately, our existing IT infrastructure didn’t allow us to tie them all together into a single, unified view. We knew we had to upgrade our operations to ensure continued growth.”

Specific needs
“We wanted, first of all, a system that we could adapt to our needs,” says Pearson.

“We realised that we couldn’t buy the perfect system off the shelf, so we looked for a solution that we could customise for our particular procedures. We required local support from people who could understand our business and fit in with our way of working. And, finally, we wanted a system that we could take ownership of. We would need initial help in set-up and training, of course, but our goal was to be able to drive the system when we were finished.”

Reference sites were a key consideration for Pearson. “We wanted to talk to the people who were using the solution in a similar situation as ourselves,” he says. “Sales people are great for the company line, but we wanted to get the inside information from the people who used it on a regular basis. Again, the availability of local reference sites already using SyteLine and Configurator was a major plus.”

Pearson and his team reviewed the various options on the market and eventually narrowed it down to two. After a thorough vetting of the two competing solutions and implementation teams, Pearson and his team selected SyteLine and Configurator as the solution, and EMDA as implementation partner.

Winning combination
Configurator was the key to the winning bid. “Infor’s Configurator was better suited to our needs,” explains Pearson. “And we thought the overall quality of the solution was better as well. Plus, the pricing was in line with our expectations and the EMDA people seemed like they would be able to provide the level of support we would require.”

As expected, the adaptability and flexibility of SyteLine and Configurator meant that Pearson’s team could modify them to fit their requirements.

“We set aside the boardroom for eight months for two of our top people to use as they ported over all of our business processes,” Pearson says.

“EMDA spent a lot of time showing us how to set up the rules, develop the interfaces and design the reporting formats. The assistance we have received from EMDA has been top-notch and they have really made an effort to ensure we could get the most out of the solution.”

Usability of the system was an important factor for Pearson. “We solicited input from our finance, contracts and pricing divisions, and production, as we designed the interfaces and database,” he explains.

“Again, we wanted the users to take ownership of the system and the best way to do that is get their advice from the very start. As a result, when we were finally in a position to roll it out in our Timaru facility, it slotted into our operations relatively easily.”

Integrated processes
The most significant benefit that Pacific Doors has realised is that the entire process of specifying, configuring, pricing and billing for ‘build-to-order’ doors is now integrated.

“These aren’t your standard household doors,” says Pearson. “These are heavy-duty security doors for prisons and hospitals that are built to exacting specifications for materials, dimensions and toughness. They are, typically, short runs – not mass-produced – and each door varies in dimensions and features like hardware, glazing and finishes. Configurator allows us to automatically build accurate Bills of Material that are individual to each order, and use costs in pricing that are always up-to-date. We can quickly re-configure when specifications change during the order process and immediately see the effect on the achievable margins.”

The benefits have also filtered through to inventory. “Because we can now track inventory and match the required parts for a limited production run,” says Pearson, “we can ensure that we don’t run out of any necessary components in the middle of a job. This is especially important because, again, these are not run-of-the-mill parts but highly specialised items that take some lead time for delivery. No parts means no production, which means we drop below our goal of 85% efficiency. But now we can see immediately if we have the stock on hand at the specification stage and take action if required.”

Pearson has a better handle on job costing as well. “We can see immediately exactly how much materials will cost, and have an accurate estimate of how many hours the build will take,” concludes Pearson. “We could do all of this before, of course, but now we can do it much faster and it is much easier. It makes decision-making more streamlined and gives us extra time to concentrate on other ways to make the business more efficient. The current economic environment is making things tough all over, but with the help of SyteLine, Configurator and the team from EMDA, we are working smarter and faster, and there is less potential for costly errors.”


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