Case Studies & Field Reports

Natural products maker acquires new vision

October 1, 2010
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
This 142-year-old company’s 1999-era MRP system didn’t provide the visibility needed to be successful in 2010. ERP changed all that.

Vice President of Operations Jim Yenish and Machine Operator Heather McNally consider ERP changes and consequences to the production floor. Source: J.R. Watkins Naturals.



J.R. Watkins started his business in 1868 when he made his “Original Liniment” with camphor extracted from evergreen trees and capsicum from red peppers. What started out in his kitchen soon evolved into a major supplier of natural products ranging from personal care, home care and remedies to gourmet food products. Today, more than 350 consumer products and another 350 collateral products are sold through independent home-based businesses, by retailers nationwide and online.

In 1999, J.R. Watkins Naturals converted an existing MRP system installed on a Unisys mainframe to a Windows-based client-server system to avoid any Y2K issues. The MRP system handled accounting and was “stretched to fit” to do materials planning and very limited capacity planning, says Jim Yenish, vice president of operations.

“We realized two or three years ago that our systems were stretched to their limits because we had multiple product categories and were attempting to service multiple distribution channels. Our systems were neither integrated nor up to the task of managing the complexity of the business,” says Yenish. “We did a very thorough value-stream analysis and identified more than 200 ‘storm clouds.’ These were limitations preventing the company in achieving efficiencies from growth,” he adds.

Key staff members looked at several ERP solutions and narrowed the selection to three. After conducting a fact-finding process and interviewing the suppliers’ references , J.R. Watkins Naturals settled on Lawson’s M3 ERP system “because it encompasses all of the people, equipment and materials necessary to meet customer expectations,” says Yenish.

With the ERP system, users are more engaged in the entire value process as opposed to limited “silo” views they had in the past. “They’re much more tuned into what’s happening outside their department,” says Yenish. “Certainly there is better decision-making by the executives in upper management, but the real key to success is the day-to-day decision-making that occurs at every level of the organization,” he adds. From operations, Yenish sees changes that are coming in product-line management and the status of sales order entries. In addition, he has visibility into two distribution centers and inventory held by subcontractors.

The M3 system allows J.R. Watkins Naturals to capture data that leads to metrics for a lean environment, e.g., downtime and line utilization. Previously Yenish tried manual methods and data collection processes, but they didn’t work. “Lawson M3 gives us the framework to measure and establish PM programs and capture uptime/downtime and utilization within a work center,” he says.

Though it’s a little early to tell in exact numbers, Yenish expects his service levels to increase from 97.5 to 99 percent or better while realizing an inventory reduction of 15 to 17 percent. While these numbers are impressive, Yenish attributes a very successful, problem-free installation to third-party installer, Ciber Inc., which brought many industry best practices to the table.

For more information:
Debbie Tolbert, 651-767-7000, info@lawson.com

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering December 2014 Cover

2014 December

In the December 2014 issue of Food Engineering read about our Fabulous Food Plant feature on the Chelten House, a new facility in Las Vegas.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.