For Christy Walsh, vice president at Hydro-Dyne Engineering in ®, running an efficient manufacturing operation is all about managing information.
Hydro-Dyne makes screening equipment for water and waste management facilities. It’s a highly specialized industry and every customer and every project is unique.
Further complicating the picture, the company goes to market on the basis of a value proposition that stresses its total control of the whole manufacturing process—from the initial sale through to design and fabrication.
“We don’t outsource anything,” says Walsh. “We are inventors, engineers and manufacturers and we maintain complete control over all aspects of our product line in a way that sets us apart from our competitors and gives us a clear edge in the marketplace.”
But while the Hydro-Dyne model has proven successful for the company, it’s also a model that comes with plenty of potential for errors and serious profit drains if they don’t get it right.
That’s where M1® software comes in.
“We use M1 for just about every aspect of our company today and it plays a key role in making sure everything operates as it should—smoothly and profitably,” says Walsh.
Keeping information flowing smoothly is particularly important for a company like Hydro-Dyne. Growth management, Walsh contends, has probably been the biggest challenge Hydro-Dyne has faced. “Our business has been on a sustained growth curve that has seen annual increases ranging from 25-75% a year,” she reports proudly.
That’s the kind of challenge that any company would welcome but meeting it successfully calls for disciplined management on multiple levels.
Maintaining adequate cash flow is critical but so is manufacturing efficiency and continuous improvement in overall productivity.
None of that is remotely possible without an ERP system that delivers easy access to detailed, reliable information on just how the company is performing at any given time. The good news for Walsh and her team: M1 does just that and then some!
“There’s no question M1 has enabled us to be more efficient and kept us growing without adding overhead,” says Walsh. “Information is great but only when you can mine it and convert it into actions and decisions and that’s what M1 does for us.”
Walsh’s own decision to implement M1 came after a rigorous evaluation process back in 2008. “We wanted a system that would keep all our information in one place and give us a technology infrastructure that would enable us to manage future growth effectively,” she explains.
Walsh started with a list of about ten different programs, narrowed it down to four and after listening to various sales pitches and talking to a number of different system users, M1 came out as the logical choice.
Five months after that decision, Hydro-Dyne went live on the system in a process that Walsh says went remarkably smoothly.
“Getting information from our previous system into M1 was really easy,” she recalls. “Just a one-time training session was all we needed to set up the conversion and once the system was up and running, virtually our entire company quickly got on board.”
“M1 is easy to learn and its logic is very clear,” says Walsh. “It makes a lot of sense in the way it’s set up and you don’t need to spend a lot of time digging around for information. Just about everyone in our company uses it today—from our engineering team to our assembly workers—and it brings a level of systematic method and control that we need to function profitably.”
Remarkably, given the critical role M1 plays for the company and the growth it has experienced in recent years, Hydro-Dyne has no dedicated IT staff member.
“We don’t really need one,” says Walsh. “We’re a custom manufacturer and our software needs to be able to support that but it really hasn’t been an issue with M1. We’ve been able to make any changes we’ve needed very easily without having to invest in a dedicated IT department.”
And as for the future?
“We’re working towards a system where just about everything we do will be managed by M1,” Walsh reports. “We’re committed to maintaining our growth trajectory going forward and we’re confident M1 will continue to play a key role in helping us meet that goal and keeping our growth strong and profitable.”