Maxwell Technologies upgrades IFS

maxwell-turbineFor more than 45 years, their world-class research and product development teams have established Maxwell Technologies as a global leader in developing, manufacturing, and marketing energy storage and power delivery solutions. Their product lines consist of utracapacitors for energy storage, microelectronics for satellites and spacecraft and high voltage capacitors for energy transmission. Their customers expect and receive failure-free performance for the life of the product in mission critical applications.

Prior to manufacturing specialty capacitors, Maxwell was a contract manufacturer for military electronics. IFS was implemented in 2001 with major modifications to support DOD requirements. With a change in their business model, coupled with an acquisition, their systems required a wholesale change in business processes. IFS needed to be upgraded and re-implemented to fix many business problems.

Based in San Diego, Maxwell acquired a competitor in Switzerland which ran “Strategic,” as their legacy system. Maxwell also had greatly expanded in the Asia market which required third-party warehouses in China to maintain a finished goods inventory and to deliver to customers. Maxwell quickly became a global company in three countries, each with their own currency, localization, tax and language issues.

The project was mapped into five components:

  • Upgrade to IFS 7.5
  • Order to cash
  • Production to delivery
  • China localization
  • Service management

During the initial upgrade to IFS7.5, it was discovered that many of the original processes defined in IFS had been dramatically changed or no longer existed. This prompted the business processes to be re-mapped to reflect the new requirements.

Order to Cash focused on entering the customer order into IFS and generating invoices from IFS in multiple currencies. Customer orders would be entered globaly (US, Switzerland and China) and shipped from any site. This project focused on Distribution and Finance. The goal was to be able to see all of the financial transactions and reports in one system and to enable visibility to inventory, supply and demand at both the US and European operations.

Production to Delivery focuses on the manufacturing and purchasing needs of engineering and manufacturing with goals including streamling the supply chain and improving accuracy.

The China localization phase presented some interesting challenges, because the Chinese company is primarily a sales organization and manufacturing and distribution are third-party sub contractors and are not on IFS. There was a need to streamline the data entry of for thousands of serial numbers from suppliers into IFS-PO Receive and from IFS-Customer Orders to third party distributors.

The Service Management phase dealt with the service and warranty contracts for their products. These are handled manually through the use of complex spreadsheets. Maxwell plans to incorporate this data in IFS for better collaboration, integration, and labor savings.

With a small and dedicated team of project managers, finance and distribution consultants and technical staff, eNSYNC brought Maxwell live with three companies on three continents with three currencies and more than a dozen time zones in between.

One small but significant solution eNSYNC developed was automating the entry of thousands of unique serial numbers when entering purchase orders and delivering customer orders. This involves hundreds to thousands of parts for each purchase order receipt. Maxwell Technologies had a need to upload data into IFS from a data file provided by the vendor on an hourly basis. eNSYNC developed a custom API to load the data into IFS, creating serialized receipts. Once processed, status messages are written back to the data file for review by the user. Any errors found in the processing are noted in the file then are corrected and rerun.

Maxwell believes they have significantly reduced the time from order receipt to invoicing, which was taking more than 90 days using their legacy systems. They also will have eliminated the manual data entry of thousands of serial numbers into spreadsheets.

To date they’ve implemented the first phase and have already decreased the order receipt to cash timeline. The serial numbers from the third party logistics companies are automatically received into IFS using an eNSYNC modification in both the purchasing side as well as the customer order shipment side. This has eliminated the manual keying and tracking of various spreadsheets. EDI will be tackled after the Service Management phase to satisfy the automotive industry’s needs.

The challenges of implementing an ERP system across a diverse group of people and priorites was met with professionalism and creativeness from the staff at eNSYNC Solutions. They kept us focused and moving forward through a successful go live for our Order to Cash project and I look forward to working with them on subsequent phases as we roll them out
Aiden Hill, Maxwell Project Manager