Like some other notably successful companies, Garnet Instruments Ltd got its start in the garage of an ambitious entrepreneur. Now, 26 years later, the company is a leader in liquid management solutions. Its liquid level monitoring technology is in wide use across the transportation, energy, petrochemical, mining, recreational vehicle and marine markets. Garnet Instruments invests heavily in technology to ensure it remains agile and innovative—both in the solutions it offers and in its own operations. Sage X3 is one of the company’s technology investments, that together with The Answer Company, delivers a perfect measure of success.
In Search of the Right Partner
“We moved to Sage X3 to replace Sage Accpac,” recalls Steve Young, CEO of Garnet Industries. “We needed powerful integrated manufacturing capabilities, and Sage X3 is well known as a manufacturing powerhouse.”
However, the company began to question the value of the application not long after its initial implementation. “We had a US-based reseller and they hadn’t really implemented Sage X3 to its full potential,” explains Young. “We were feeding in transactions, but not leveraging the product’s capabilities. It became clear that it wasn’t the product that wasn’t working, it was the partnership. We began looking for a local Sage X3 partner that could help us harvest the solution’s value.”
A Fresh Approach Proves Transformational
Garnet Instruments found The Answer Company, one of the largest and most experienced Sage X3 partners in Canada through an internet search. “One of their consultants visited us, and we were immediately impressed by their product knowledge and comprehensive understanding of manufacturing processes,” says Young.
The Answer Company worked with Garnet Instruments to effectively re-implement Sage X3. “It’s been transformational,” says Young. “We’ve gone from having very few formal processes to establishing standardized workflows that we can measure and monitor. It’s a shift from reactive to proactive and it’s giving us a powerful competitive edge.”
Support for Lean Manufacturing
“Our overarching goal is to be a lean organization,” notes Young. “To that end, we’ve learned to standardize processes where we can, and produce smaller batches more frequently to keep our inventory holdings low. Sage X3 and The Answer Company support our lean initiatives. We could not stay on top of the calculations, projections, and work orders without these tools.”
Before the re-implementation, the company relied on dozens of spreadsheets to track its production and help predict what to order, what to manufacture and when to take action. “Now Sage X3 does that heavy lifting for us,” adds Young. “We worked with The Answer Company to give the software the inputs—like minimum and maximum quantities—and armed with the data, Sage X3 recommends the work orders and purchase orders. We always have the ability to override or adjust the base parameters as necessary, but we’re dialling in on the right values and letting the software do the work.”
Previously, it was typical for the company to have 30 to 40 outstanding work orders at any given time. Now that number is closer to three or four. “We’ve got a holistic view of our operation and all aspects are aligned,” Young says. “Through strategic production planning, we have lowered our inventory holdings and reduced our WIP (work in progress) to almost zero.”
Pivoting to Greet Industry 4.0
Garnet Industries is transitioning from a more traditional manufacturing company to a technology company, “Through Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things we are shifting our focus from making gauges to enabling our technologies to connect and communicate with other systems. Having a nimble and flexible manufacturing solution like Sage X3 allows us to make that shift without changing software.”
Driving Efficiencies Throughout
From the shop floor to the back office, efficiencies are growing. “The Answer Company introduced us to a third-party product that automatically emails or prints customer invoices based on their preferences. We used to do this one at a time, but now it happens automatically. It may sound simple, but it’s a tremendous time and labour saver for us.”
Young concludes, “The Answer Company has a lot of bench strength—there’s no single point of failure. Everyone we work with is helpful, knowledgeable and responsive. With their collection of internal resources, we know we have a partner that can support us now and for the long term.”