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Infor SX.e conversion delivers huge efficiency for Kerr Controls

October 26, 2015

When Kerr Controls Ltd. of Truro, Nova Scotia, was looking for an ERP upgrade to boost efficiency, cut costs, and keep a growing business competitive, its search for the right system quickly led to Infor Distribution SX.e.

Kerr Controls launched its HVAC and refrigeration business in Halifax in 1949 out of a modified milk truck. When founder Dave Wilson wanted to expand the company, he outfitted a second milk truck.

HVAC_vents_iStock_ln350x265In more recent years, Kerr had become a leading SHIMS user, and an active participant in the SHIMS Special Interest Group.

But then the business began to grow through acquisition, and when it was time to bring three businesses together under a single ERP, Infor SX.e emerged as the logical choice, according to the company’s vice president of operations, Jamie Hutt-Semple.

Every minute counts

In a podcast interview with Infor, Hutt-Semple explains one of the biggest differences between a smaller operation and a company with 120 ERP users: Time is your most precious resource, and every minute counts.

“When you get to a point where you have 14 locations, the minutes during the day that you can save become a much bigger deal. Efficiency becomes much more important,” he says. “You can’t afford to spend an extra 5 or 10 minutes on a task. You need something that can do things efficiently, do it right, and automate processes.”

Weighing the options

In its search for a new ERP, Kerr considered Infor SX.e against two Epicor offerings. Hutt-Semple says it didn’t take long to decide.

“Infor definitely had all the software tools you would want to add on, now and into the future. They’re already there, and they were integrated into the package,” he recalls. “Infor’s roadmap was really clear, and we shared the same type of vision. We liked where they were going.”

Any ERP acquisition is just the first step in a major internal change process. But Hutt-Semple says Kerr was ready for a 3- to 6-month period of learning and adaptation, knowing that major process improvements were just around the corner.

The rewards are sweet

“At the 3- to 6-month mark, I would say, you’re back to the same speed that you were, but you’re still just doing the basics,” he says. “It’s at the 1-year mark after go-live that you really have your users say … ‘Hey, I want to take it a step further.’ ”

A year after the conversion, Kerr was still discovering the full power of SX.e. But the business had already added enough new efficiencies to eliminate two positions through retirements, replacing them with jobs that add more value to the business.

“We basically have two fewer people doing the same amount of work in our head office,” he says, thanks to the time savings in SX.e’s automated buyer control system.

“In our distribution center, more than efficiency gains, I would speak to accuracy gains with the software, with the system, and the ability to track a product in your warehouse from the time it’s picked to the time it goes on a truck. We gained a lot of time there.”

Get the rest of the story of Kerr Controls’ SX.e conversion.

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