FileMaker Success Story
Flexible solution supports metal-products manufacturing operation from company lobby to loading dock
Metal-production company Reynolds Services, Inc. (RSI), headquartered in Greenville, PA, started in 1991 with one factory and annual revenues of $4 million. Today, through rapid growth and acquisitions, the company boasts three facilities and $100 million in sales. One essential ingredient in the company’s success: a custom FileMaker solution for desktops and iOS devices , which automates virtually every facet of the company’s operations.
Even though metals may seem like the ultimate commodity, RSI has found a way to stand out from the crowd through automation, reduced paper use and increased efficiencies provided by a custom-fit solution built on the FileMaker Platform. RSI warehouses, inventories, cuts, forms, packages and distributes steel and aluminum raw materials such as coils and sheets for companies across the United States. Customers use the metal products RSI creates to produce finished goods – everything from decorative tins and food cans to electronics and automotive parts.
“While many might consider RSI an old-style manufacturing business, we constantly re-engineer our processes. Our goal is to grow our customer base and expand into new product lines, and we rely on a custom solution based on the FileMaker Platform to achieve this,” says John Frangakis, chairman and CEO.
With FileMaker, we’ve also almost completely eliminated cumbersome paper processes, and we’re ahead of the competition due to our responsiveness to customer needs.
— John Frangakis, chairman and CEO, Reynolds Services, Inc.
Eliminating paper, streamlining processes
The FileMaker Platform is ubiquitous at RSI starting with a guest registration system solution in the main lobby, with ten or more of the company’s operations benefiting, including inventory tracking, production scheduling, ISO 9001 compliance audits, customer relationship management, sales and human resources performance evaluations. Even shipping and receiving are handled using FileMaker Go for iPhone or iPad, eliminating duplicate data entry.
With the FileMaker Platform, RSI streamlined its quarterly physical inventory process using multiple devices running FileMaker Go.
The old inventory process took approximately 90 people spanning three manufacturing operations approximately eight hours every quarter to review and verify the accuracy of inventory information. Now the process requires just five people per location, or 15 employees total.
Today, the time required for inventory has been reduced from eight hours per employee to no more than three hours—a savings of 675 collective employee hours in one day. The time previously devoted to inventory can now be regained as production, resulting in a $50,000 return in the first year. The long-term effect was an overall increase to RSI’s productivity and operational efficiencies resulting in a direct impact to the company’s bottom line.
“In just over two of the four physical inventory days per year, the employee hours saved and repurposed for production can pay for the FileMaker development time, the CNS Barcode licensing, the costs of our iPod touch units and our entire FileMaker licensing for a year,” Frangakis states.
FileMaker helped RSI reduce the amount of time spent on recording quality control paperwork, increased the accuracy of recorded data and allowed employees to devote more time toward analyzing information to find any “out-of-specification” trends. All of these enhanced the user experience while minimizing the potential for shipping non-conforming products to customers. This quality control project is expect to produce ROI in six months or less, with a return of $72,000 in the first year.
“When you consider that the average cost of a truckload of steel is greater than $20,000, any reduction in the production of non-conforming material can further decrease the amount of time required to justify payback or increase the value of intangibles such as customer goodwill,” Frangakis explains.
Adding to the benefits, if a customer wants a specific metal coil or sheet checked to specifications, the request is sent to an RSI’s employee’s iPad. Instead of waiting hours or even days for a quality inspection, the results of completed QA tests are reported back to the sales team for discussion and communication with the client within minutes through a paperless process. Production efficiency at RSI leads to efficiencies and quality gains as customers turn raw materials into finished goods.
FileMaker makes it fast and easy for RSI to expand into new services and products for customers. Competitors, says Frangakis, often don’t have the flexibility to meet customers’ in-depth requirements the way RSI can through information technology. The FileMaker solution frees RSI to do far more than take a “one size fits all” approach because specifications and innovative manufacturing processes can be altered in real time and shared with customers using FileMaker. For example, one customer needed assistance with implementation of a product specification change to a metal cap. Because of the FileMaker program, RSI was able to accommodate that change and deliver the product as requested. With ample information into its capabilities, specifications, schedules, inventory and current production pipelines, RSI was able to meet the customer’s request with ease.
FileMaker also boosts management efficiency. Every morning, all three RSI facilities dial into a conference call to review production timelines and schedules. “It used to take two to three hours to prepare for our daily production meeting,” says Frangakis. “Now we click a button, and FileMaker generates all the reports we need. Production scheduling meetings now take five minutes versus hours, and we’re all off and running for the day.”
Years ago, Frangakis started developing the FileMaker system on his own when RSI’s inventory tracking outgrew traditional spreadsheets. Then, spurred by rapid company growth, he formed an internal development team, Cross IT, headed by Todd Weller, senior data systems architect. Cross IT evolved a FileMaker solution that now automates nearly every aspect of RSI’s business and tracks production as items move through the manufacturing line.
Although Weller is an electrical engineer with minimal software development experience, he found software creation in FileMaker easy to grasp. He also saw how rewarding it was to automate processes and eliminate paper, especially the packing slips and faxes that were difficult to organize and track. Weller continues to be impressed by how he and his team can fulfill changing business needs quickly and efficiently using FileMaker.
“We’ve found there’s almost nothing FileMaker can’t do. It’s accurate and flexible, and we always stay on the latest version. We really push the features of the FileMaker Platform because mobility is what keeps our business more efficient, from sales to shipping on the loading dock.”
The RSI solution has since become so successful that Cross IT is developing custom solutions for clients based on the FileMaker Platform specific to their needs, forming an independent spin-off software business for RSI.
“Our FileMaker solution gives us the flexibility to capture market opportunities faster,” says Frangakis. “Rapid development and fast payback are just two of the reasons FileMaker gives us a significant advantage. With FileMaker, we’ve also almost completely eliminated cumbersome paper processes, and we’re ahead of the competition due to our responsiveness to customer needs.”
This post is based on an article that was originally posted by FileMaker, Inc. on their website on February 17, 2015. The original article can be viewed at https://www.filemaker.com/solutions/customers/stories/reynolds-services-inc.html