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  Manufacturing Insights   |   February, 2010
Small Manufacturing Operations Find Cost-Effective Inventory Tracking and Automation Technology Solutions
by Thomas R. Cutler

Whether on the plant floor or warehouse management, the ability to integrate order entry, shipping, purchasing, receiving, production and warehouse management, is critical in every phase of automation. Strong location tracking is also a huge time-saving element.

All the emphasis of OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) is great; the basic elimination of waste and errors in these other rudimentary, non-equipment functionality is equally critical to effective operations along with time tracking.

Effectively tracking inventory quantities, production, and customer orders, can be handled by fairly simple and inexpensive inventory software solutions. Too often the expensive high end technology solutions offer unused and unneeded bells and whistles when a simple yet comprehensive inventory and order management system helps to automate better business decisions in purchasing, shipping and receiving, order entry, production, and inventory control.

Reducing the processes and steps in manufacturing axiomatically reduces errors. The number of manufacturers that duplicate automation instructions just through re-entering data multiple times is staggering and results in direct loss of productivity, effectiveness, accuracy, and customer satisfaction.

Quadica Developments, located in Brantford, Ontario, was looking for new inventory software, and faced an unexpected challenge: most of the products they found were far too limited to meet their needs or too complex and expensive. As a small company that manufactures and sells model railroad tools and supplies as well as high-powered LEDs, Quadica needed a scalable solution that would help them remain flexible and responsive to their customers’ needs. They simply could not maintain adequate control of their business without the right tracking system.

While Quadica Developments is a small business, they deal with many of the same issues larger companies face. Quadica markets all of their products via the Internet, so they wanted inventory and order management software that would integrate seamlessly with their existing e-commerce capabilities. “We really like QuickBooks,” said company owner Ron Warris, “but we needed add-ons that would fit a business of our size.” The company manufactures all of its products on demand, so they have to stay nimble and respond to orders quickly.

NumberCruncher was established by Ian Benoliel, a celebrated CPA with over 15 years of professional general accounting and CFO experience. In 1999, Benoliel founded the company with the mission of delivering cost effective, bottom line driven software solutions for small to mid-sized business.

All Orders by NumberCruncher was designed from the ground up for QuickBooks and since it shares customer, vendor, inventory, account and other information double data entry was never needs and became the right solution for Quadica.

Specific Automation and Production Functionality for Cost-Effective Lean Manufacturing:
  • Sales orders with release dates
  • Customer shipping and returns
  • Advanced inventory control features
  • Cycle Counting
  • Bill of Materials
  • Purchase Orders
  • Multiple warehouses and bins
  • FIFO / Specific Identification Costing
  • Foreign Currency
  • Bar code printing & scanning
  • Work orders
  • Capacity Reporting
  • Seamlessly integrated with QuickBooks®
  • Receiving and returns
  • Lot / serial # tracking
  • Manufacturing Rep Orders
  • Custom Fields
  • Work Flow Diagram
  • Eliminate RDS
After trying other more expensive software packages that did not work for them, Quadica Developments’ Warris said, “The NumberCruncher All Orders system is designed to address on-demand manufacturing issues and made our processes run much more smoothly.” Quadica Developments has the control and flexibility necessary to maintain a successful on-demand manufacturing and e-commerce business.

These low cost solutions easily manage the production schedule by serving as a production command center. Manufacturers can easily and quickly see which work orders are waiting for components, ready for production, in production and finished. Work orders can be viewed by customers, by item ordered, and by shipping date thus enhancing overall customer satisfaction and repeat business.

Work Orders - Manufacturing Control and Production Control

Ian Benoliel noted that, “Manufacturers buy components or raw materials but produce and sell finished goods. The knock on QuickBooks is that it does not easily track finished goods.” Quadica found their technology solution now makes the necessary transfers within QuickBooks and each time one or more items is produced, a work order is created. The work order contains a "Component List" which details the quantity and location of the components that go into production. When production is completed for a work order linked to a customer order, the system will automatically fill the underlying sales order. Benoliel insists, “The ability to track production steps or operations can be efficient and cost-effective and defines a lean automated process.”

Thomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc, ( Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium of three thousand five hundred journalists and editors writing about trends in manufacturing. Cutler is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association, American Society of Business Publication Editors, Committee of Concerned Journalists, as well as author of more than 300 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Cutler is also the developer of lean technology C.E.O (Continuous Experiential Optimization). Cutler can be contacted at See More Details.

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