I no more had outlined the post generated from Tim Sowell’s latest blog post, when an invitation arrived to talk to the General Manager of Scott Fetzer Electrical Group (SFEG) and the CEO of ERP manufacturing software supplier Kenandy about an application based on the salesforce.com platform which is so easily configurable that even the GM can do it.

SFEG produces electrical products, such as motors, blowers, power supplies, transformers, and electromechanical timers, for large and small OEMs and distributors. Its products are used in products such as blenders, commercial printers, consumer appliances, and electrical signs.

Before deploying Kenandy, it had an on-premise ERP system, but the software was very difficult to use and was not agile enough to support their growth objectives.

Encumbered, not enabled

“Our business was encumbered by our ERP system, not enabled by it,” said Rob Goldiez, General Manager at SFEG. “The software was so hard to use that many people simply stopped using it. The data got stale. We wanted the benefits of a modern cloud platform that’s easy to use, has built-in social and mobile capabilities, and is always current with the latest version of the software.”

SFEG wanted to modernize their operations to support business automation and robotics. They also plan to add features to their product that require the support of a cloud-based system. Kenandy enables them to quickly respond to best industry practices and business innovation.

“Moving to Kenandy eliminates legacy challenges and allows us to focus on quickly growing and extending functionality,” said Goldiez. “We’re excited that we’ll be able to use Kenandy to support innovations, such as enabling our products to be connected over the Internet. We’re committed to living and breathing our innovation vision throughout the company, and Kenandy is integral to that vision.”

Since deploying Kenandy in November, SFEG’s operations have become more efficient. With the previous system, SFEG’s controller required physical signatures on purchase orders. With Kenandy, the process is managed through an automated approval process. SFEG also uses Salesforce Chatter to attach conversations to their sales orders and purchase orders, keeping all the related information together for easy reference. The employees enjoy using the system so the data is always current. They also appreciate the real-time visibility into the business, which helps them make decisions more quickly.

“SFEG’s story is not an uncommon one. Because legacy ERP systems are difficult to use, manage and upgrade, they’re written off as a burden by many users,” said Sandra Kurtzig, Chairman and CEO of Kenandy. “Since Kenandy is built native on the cloud, it offers flexibility that just hasn’t been available before. Modern enterprises need an ERP system that helps them adapt to the needs of their business as quickly as possible.”

SFEG was also interested in Kenandy because it’s built on the Salesforce Platform. They were attracted to the ease of customization, the strong reporting tools, and the robust security down to the field level. They also knew they would benefit from the third-party apps available on the Salesforce AppExchange.

“I evaluated other cloud-based ERP systems and Kenandy really stood out. There was nothing else out there that could compete,” said Goldiez. “We also wanted a system that would be easy to implement. We were up and running on Kenandy four months after signing the initial agreement. That’s fast!”

Kenandy met all the key criteria for SFEG’s new ERP system including:

  • Ease of use for technical and non-technical staff
  • Customizable workflows and approvals
  • Real-time, tailored dashboards and reporting
  • Customer portal to allow direct access to status and shipping updates
  • Collaboration to facilitate communication around orders
  • Mobile interface for anytime access to the system
  • Business rules enforcement

Goldiez told me in a follow-up interview, that just about everyone in his plant touches the new system. The old system? Well, there were two “experts” who worked with it, but it was so hard to get into that most people didn’t bother. Not only that, SFEG’s system was tied to a paper report system. Another inflexible and cumbersome preventing widespread use.

Using the configurable cloud-based system is so convenient, that when someone needs a new report or feature, Goldiez can configure it with no need for special work orders through IT.

He said that today there are lots of eyes on the system. People are accountable to the data they are supposed to be managing. It is easier to use since it has a familiar interface.

Kurtzig added, “Millennials are coming into the workforce. They need software as easy to use as Amazon. They have higher expectations—and they also expect to use mobile devices.”

Because the application resides in the cloud as Infrastructure as a Service, new business rules and updates can be added without destroying the core and disrupting use.

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