Combilift gets helping hand with Infor Manufacturing Essentials

First class product configurator key to companys ongoing growth.

Infor, the largest global enterprise software provider exclusively focused on developing solutions for the manufacturing and distribution industries, has won a contract to supply its software solution to leading forklift manufacturer Combilift, currently headquartered in Clontibret, County Monaghan, Ireland.

Combilift is a four-way forklift specialist set up in 1998 that caters for all industries requiring long load handling solutions. The company has seen tremendous growth, from making 18 units in 1998 to over 1100 in 2005, with 93% of all units being for the export market. With capacity for a maximum of 1200 units on a single shift basis, Combilift is planning for sustained future growth by relocating to new 8m premises in June 2006 which will increase its capacity to 2000 units on a single shift.

Noel Scott is Systems Manager at Combilift and explains why the purchase of Infor Manufacturing Essentials solutions, ERP SyteLine is an equally strategic investment for the company. The strong growth of the company has provided a number of major challenges for us and it is vital for us to manage this whilst looking to the future. Our existing MRP system has limited production capabilities and is a long way from providing true MRP/ERP functionality. It was clear that a state of the art system with fully integrated functionality that covered all our requirements would be essential and so we began investigating options in mid 2005.

The high percentage of customisation and Make to Order manufacturing that Combilift handles, combined with having to source components and sub assemblies from all around the world meant that Combilift had 2 key functional demands on any system. As Scott comments, Above everything, we knew that a first class Product Configurator would be essential to our ongoing success. We currently have a dedicated team of 4 full time engineers designing warehouse layouts and customising our forklifts to enable customers to maximise use of the available space. A sophisticated configurator would complement the effort we put into this to supply clients with the exact combination of requirements they need. Our company motto is Customised Handling Solutions and we needed a system to match our company ethos. In addition to this, we needed strong planning and scheduling capabilities because we cant afford to have an order delayed because one component isnt in the right place at the right time.

After a thorough selection process which involved on-site customer visits to see the solutions of the final 3 contenders in action, Combilift chose the Infor solution ERP SyteLine primarily on the strength of the product configurator. Scott is emphatic: The Infor configurator was head and shoulders above the competition both in terms of its functionality and the completeness of its integration with the rest of the solution. In fact, the whole solution was very well integrated and also extremely versatile and easy to customise. We were impressed by how easy it was to use and found the Infor team to be very professional.

The system began implementation in Jan 2006 and has a target go-live date of May 2006. Combilift anticipates the key benefits to be in efficiency and accuracy. One of the strengths of Combilift, according to MD Martin McVicar, has always been customer care, and the accuracy of this system will be key to sustaining this. The visibility of the Infor solution will enable us to continue to deliver our promises to our customers.

Keith Deane Vice President EMEA Operations of Infor commented on this new customer: This is another example of how our solutions have all the essential functionality and flexibility manufacturers require from a software tool.  Combilift recognised accurately the role an IT solution can play in helping an ambitious company to grow and Infors Manufacturing Essentials is designed to meet this - not just in the present, but also in the future.

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