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APS Materials, Inc. Waterford rapidly achieves efficiency savings with Sage 200cloud from Pinnacle

About APS Materials, Inc.

Founded by engineers with a strong background in material science, APS Materials provides innovative thermal spray solutions for a wide range of surface modification applications. Corporate headquarters are in Dayton, Ohio.

APS Waterford, in the south east of Ireland, has served the European manufacturing market since 2005 and today has over twenty employees. 95% of the work at the Waterford facility is bio-medical, providing spray coatings for orthopaedic implants, ranging from dental implants to surgical joint replacements.

The company works with many of Europe’s largest medical manufacturers and is certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 standards.
Innovation is a strong thread running through the business. The APS Waterford team maintains a firm commitment to looking for new ways to meet service level agreements and align with clients’ working practices.

In a tightly regulated industry, backwards and forwards traceability is absolutely essential. From the raw materials coming in from suppliers to the implants manufactured by the company’s clients, traceability must extend for a minimum of 30 yea0rs, for a lifetime in some cases.

Both these factors were drivers in the search for a replacement enterprise resource planning system in 2018. Until then, APS Waterford had been operating with an ageing system.

Financial Controller Victoria Lacey explains, “We’d reached the point where heavy investment would be necessary to bring our previous system up to date, so that it could support us in entering a growth phase. The prospect of replacing it with newer technology became increasingly appealing and we went out to the market to seek a system that could be tailored to our needs.”

Victoria understands that even the most sophisticated technology will fail if it isn’t straightforward to use: “For software to be successful, people mustn’t be afraid to use it!” She therefore rejected one software system as being overly cumbersome and complicated. In contrast, Sage 200cloud offered a winning combination of a robust yet flexible solution that would be easy to use.

A rapid response

Victoria was pleased with the efficient response she received when she made contact with Pinnacle as a potential technology partner. She found the team easy to work with right from the start. “Everything quickly fell into place. Pinnacle wasted no time in setting up an exploratory meeting and then listened carefully to our requirements and what our business is about.”

This wasn’t a one-off experience: “It’s proved to be the Pinnacle way of working. Even now, it continues to amaze me just how quickly Pinnacle people ‘get’ what we’re trying to do.”

Together, APS Waterford and Pinnacle devised a project plan that would culminate in the go-live of a Sage 200cloud solution on the first day of the company’s new financial year, which at the time was just 12 weeks away.

Everyone feels smarter and sharper with Sage 200cloud. We’ve advanced a generation in applying technology to improve our processes

Victoria Lacey , Financial Controller APS Waterford

Victoria Lacey

Eliminating legacy time-wasters

Preparing for the implementation included reviewing the company’s processes and identifying opportunities for streamlining with Sage 200cloud. One example highlights how processes have been improved. Before the Sage implementation a series of numbers had to be entered at seven different stages, with all the risk of inaccuracies creeping in.

Now the data is entered just once and flows through the whole manufacturing process, saving valuable time and improving data integrity.

Victoria comments, “It’s a huge time-saver. It’s been very satisfying to eliminate the inefficiencies that creep in over the years and have no place in a modern agile business.”

She adds, “Everyone feels smarter and sharper with Sage 200cloud. Our quality manager and production operators see the standard of traceability information coming through from Sage in the tailored reports they receive. It’s been a massive change. I feel we’ve advanced a generation in applying technology to improve our processes.”

Eliminating manual paperwork was high on Victoria’s list of priorities. “In addition to understanding the vital importance of traceability to our business, Pinnacle supported our goal of reducing paper. Our complex document trail was met with positive suggestions for how the Sage system could handle it, rather than reasons why it wouldn’t work.

It’s a huge time-saver. It’s been very satisfying to eliminate the inefficiencies that creep in over the years and have no place in a modern agile business

A can-do approach

Victoria praises the support the business received from Pinnacle both during and after the implementation, “We had direct access to our technical consultant for several weeks after the go-live, which was very helpful, given the amount of bespoke work we’d had done. Now we find the support desk team extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They’re always quick to resolve any queries, such as advising us on how to modify a report. We’re never made to feel we’re asking a silly question.”

It is still early days, but much has been achieved already, as Victoria reports, “I feel we’ve got the sales order processing module bedded down and I’m now developing the purchase order processing module to improve our efficiency in that area.”

Victoria knows she will have the support of Pinnacle in developing the system to meet evolving business needs, “Pinnacle provides the positive, solution-focused service and support that we do with our own clients. They’re a pleasure to work with.”

Pinnacle provides the positive, solution-focused service and support that we do with our own clients. They’re a pleasure to work with

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