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Case Study

Linweld and Landoll: A Business Partnership for Maintenance Management

eRPortal Maintenance Software Streamlines Maintenance Management and Saves Landoll Time and Money

Linweld is a welding supplies distributor and independent processor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases. Based in Lincoln Nebraska, Linweld has a 60 year history and has built its business as a full service provider of gasses, supplies, and services. The company takes pride in offering the most current technology, with competitive pricing and knowledgeable engineering. For their largest and most high volume customers, Linweld employs a master supplier approach – which includes implementing and managing tool crib and maintenance solutions for their customers.

A long time customer of Linweld, Landoll Corporation, based in Marysville Kansas is a 500-employee manufacturer and distributor of agricultural, transportation material handling products and OEM/Gov-US Military equipment. While their business has grown and diversified, the Landoll name has been a benchmark of quality for over 40 years, both in the United States and worldwide.

Maintenance Challenges
When Landoll found the cost of upgrading its enterprise manufacturing maintenance system to be prohibitively expensive, they turned to a lower cost software solution. Once implemented however, Landoll found the alternative software to be difficult to learn and complicated to use.

“During the day shift, there are about twelve maintenance staff on the floor,” said Tim Rowold of Linweld. “These folks are busy, moving quickly – and they need immediate access to work order information. Since they’re not experienced computer users, the process needs to be easy and straightforward.”

Because the software was so complicated to use, there often wasn’t enough time in the day to use it properly. The result was poorly tracked machinery, unscheduled issues, and inventory stock-outs.

A New Maintenance Solution: eRPortal Software
After only eight months of use, Landoll decided to replace the system. On Landoll’s behalf, Linweld previewed eRPortal Software as a replacement solution. “While we were initially impressed with eRPortal’s Web architecture and features,” said Tim Rowold, the major selling point at the time was simple user friendliness. Whatever we selected had to be easy to learn. As it turned out, during our first eRPortal training session, it took me fifteen minutes to issue a work order; I have yet to do that in the old system.”

The results of simple user friendliness are more than meets the eye. Landoll has found eRPortal to be much more streamlined than its predecessor, and significantly easier to operate. That fact alone has improved attitudes and increased the willingness of Maintenance staff to use the system.

“With eRPortal in place, the maintenance department is working faster - by not having to hunt through a computer system, we’ve cut back computer time by about 75%,” said Jay Williamson, Maintenance Supervisor.

In addition to speed, eRPortal Maintenance is giving Landoll more asset inventory visibility – tracking more in-depth information on assets and costs. Its reporting capabilities are helping Landoll make more informed planning and financial decisions. “No maintenance system is good if you can’t retrieve information from it”, said Williamson, “eRPortal is more in-depth and is helping us track asset costs better and with more flexibility.”

Tool Crib Management
With eRPortal Materials Maintenance installed, Landoll moved to implement eRPortal Tool Crib Manager. Throughout their manufacturing facility, Landoll operates four tool cribs with total issues of 3500-4000 per month. “As with any large manufacturing facility, the tool crib is a focal point on the floor,” said Tim Rowold. “It’s a busy place with employees clocking in and out, and continuously ordering and receiving supplies. The need for straightforward simplicity was important.”

With complete integration between the systems, eRPortal Tool Crib Manager was a logical choice. Once again, the system was easy to learn and quick to use – offering better tracking capabilities and easier parts ordering. With eRPortal’s barcode labeling system, Landoll was able to build a more efficient inventory operation and has reduced the time it spends managing inventory by half. “With a faster labeling system and easy learning curve, we’re doing 110% better on inventory control, Jay Williamson added. “Instead of me having to spend time to oversee the inventory, employees can manage it themselves – and that’s a savings of about 3 hours per day of my time.”

eRPortal Tool Crib has also helped the purchasing side of inventory. With a customized link between eRPortal and Landoll’s MAPICS ERP, eRPortal is returning an estimated 15-18 hours/week in purchasing and data entry time “In addition, eRPortal has excellent search capability that gives fast answers to daily queries that were in the past very time consuming,” said Deanna Wurtz, Maintenance Purchasing. The systems also auto-generates quotes on a daily basis, which - depending on the quantity of line items - can save hours.”

Results Summary
While maintenance staff benefited from user simplicity, Landoll had realized financial benefits from the ability to work faster and more efficiently. An estimated 75% reduction in time spent at the computer by Maintenance staff is returning $75,000 annually.1 Also, with more comprehensive tracking information, automation, and reporting, eRPortal is performing work that was previously done manually, which is returning approximately 30 hours/week and an estimated $50,000 annually.2

In addition to a $125,000 annual savings, eRPortal is helping Landoll better manage its business. With comprehensive tracking and chargeback capabilities, supported by strong reporting, accurate usage information which was previously unavailable is now helping the accounting department to accurately bill departments based on consumption. The information is helping Landoll monitor and control budgets - and plan for the future.

Afforedable Web Architecture
The selection of eRPortal was also based on the reality of the current marketplace. “With its Web architecture and design, eRPortal offers most everything that the market leaders do at half the price,” said Tim Rowold. “And the company is small enough so that you can receive the attention and service that you don’t often get from a large company.”

Software as a Service (SaaS) Model
Landoll also wanted to relieve itself of management responsibilities of the new software – and opted for a SaaS approach. Linweld manages the eRPortal for Landoll, and because of the software’s web architecture, installation didn’t require Landoll’s IT staff – just an Internet connection. The same is true of troubleshooting problems – no need to gain access to their network or shut down systems.

“From our perspective, it’s the best of both worlds. Landoll doesn’t have to manage the server and further burden our computer infrastructure, said Nancy Crawford, Manager of Maintenance Information Services. “But at the same time, eRPortal has been there for us every step of the way. Their service has been worth its weight in gold.”

For information on this Case Study, please contact eRPortal.

1Represents an approximated savings of 5 hours/week for each of 14 staff ($25/hour), annually

2Includes an estimated savings of 15 hours/week [J. Williamson] and 15 hours/week [D. Wuitz] - hourly rate of Sr. Management ($40/hour) and Mid-Level Financial staff ($25/hour, respectively.

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