Metal finisher enjoys real-time costs picture from ERP for the order-driven business

When Rosler Metal Finishing hung out its shingle in Battle Creek, Mich., in 1999, its enterprise application needs were relatively few. As a manufacturer and distributor of machine tool consumables on behalf of its German parent company, Rösler GmbH, simple spreadsheets and a basic accounting package cut the mustard.
By Malcolm Wheatley, senior contributing editor (malcolm_wheatley@compuserve.com) May 1, 2008

When Rosler Metal Finishing hung out its shingle in Battle Creek, Mich., in 1999, its enterprise application needs were relatively few. As a manufacturer and distributor of machine tool consumables on behalf of its German parent company, Rösler GmbH , simple spreadsheets and a basic accounting package cut the mustard.

But when Rosler started making engineered-to-order metal surface finishing machinery that had previously been shipped over from Germany, those enterprise application needs became much more complex.

“Quite soon, we saw that we needed an affordable manufacturing system—and one with a strong engineer-to-order capability,” says Rosler IT Manager Ross Jones.

A verbal recommendation—buttressed by the fact that a Rosler competitor was using it—led the company to look at Jobscope , which offers an ERP solution specifically aimed at the requirements of engineer-to-order manufacturers of capital equipment such as machine tools.

“The more we looked, the more we liked what we saw,” recalls Jones. “There were some really neat features that we wanted to take advantage of. The job costing was good, for example, and it was independent of the general ledger, which for us was a huge plus.”

Project managers building a new machine, he explains, typically want an up-to-the-minute picture of the costs accruing in any project. Cost accountants, on the other hand, tend to view costs on an accounting period basis, sometimes posting them in batches as the month end approaches.

“Ledger-based engineered-to-order systems can be an administrative nightmare to work with, as they force you to open a ledger for each outstanding job or project,” says Jones. “Jobscope works the same way that we do.”

During its review and selection of Jobscope, an ERP specialist aimed at the requirements of engineer-to-order manufacturers, Roswell Metal Finishing determined that job costing independent of the general ledger was a huge plus for system—and for Rosler.

With just five licensed users at the deployment’s onset, Jobscope delivered on its promise, and users now total 30, Jones reports. “We’ve made some acquisitions, and we are implementing Jobscope in those too,” he says.

Such testimonials aren’t news to Hank Sanders, president of Jobscope. Founded in 1981, the company’s user base is split 50-50 between IBM’s AS/400 and Microsoft Windows platforms, with a handful of users still on the original elderly Hewlett-Packard HP3000 platform.

“The functionality of the core product is very strong, and these days a key focus is helping users leverage that functionality to deliver even greater value to their businesses,” concludes Sanders.