Leading Bedding Manufacturer Finds Comfort in Microsoft Dynamics AX
After a comprehensive review of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, the world’s fourth-largest innerspring bedding manufacturer has selected Microsoft Dynamics AX to support its future growth with new manufacturing and financial reporting capabilities. Microsoft Corp. announced today that the Spring Air Company has chosen Microsoft Dynamics AX to integrate its manufacturing, distribution, financial, budgeting and procurement activities across the entire organization.
The Spring Air Company, which manufactures premium-value bedding products sold to consumers through leading retailers, recently merged with Consolidated Bedding Inc. to create a national organization committed to bringing consistent quality, service and value to its customers. The company has 13 facilities throughout the United States and currently employs more than 1,000 people. Spring Air also has licensees in North and South Carolina, Michigan, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Ireland, Australia and the Middle East.
Following the merger, the new company found itself managing six different ERP applications, none of which met the needs of a growing enterprise. Some applications did not incorporate manufacturing or financial reporting functions and did not integrate with the Microsoft Office system tools that the executive team needed. Moreover, the systems were difficult to use and the company did not own the source code, so its IT department was unable to design and implement its own changes. Most of the software had been developed for the company’s needs before the merger and now was outdated. As a result, the older systems held back the new company’s growth because they were not scalable.
“We have to be sure we can receive orders, manufacture the product, and get it to our customers on time, and Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 was the best ERP manufacturing application available to us,” said Paul Davis, vice president of Information Technology at Spring Air. “Overall, it matched what we needed and we liked the technology behind it. We knew Microsoft would support it long term.”
Spring Air had looked at 10 possible ERP applications, narrowing the contenders to Microsoft and Oracle J.D. Edwards & Co. More than two dozen Spring Air team members from finance, manufacturing, operations and customer relationship management scored presentations and demonstrations against Oracle. Microsoft Dynamics AX scored the highest, so Spring Air purchased the Microsoft technology and chose Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Tribridge of Tampa as its implementation partner.
“With its great history and performance in this area, we knew Tribridge would do an incredible job helping us drive this project,” Davis said. “Spring Air also is in the process of integrating Microsoft Dynamics AX with RF-Smart software from ICS, EDI and other solutions.”
Microsoft Dynamics AX will benefit the company in several ways, including the following:
Companywide integration. Previously, the company had trucks overlapping their deliveries because route logistics were handled by individual plants. Now logistics can be centralized to determine the best shipping-origination point and the most expeditious routing. Also, financial analysis can be carried out all month long rather than waiting for end-of-month reporting to see where problems may exist.
Improved reporting. Financial reporting is much easier with Microsoft Dynamics AX, requiring much less time to develop reports and providing information faster to allow issues to be identified earlier, leading to cost-saving corrections.
Scalability. The company expects to grow rapidly and is confident that Microsoft Dynamics AX will be highly scalable.
Cost savings. By improving its manufacturing processes, Spring Air anticipates cost savings on raw materials. It will be able to go to a single-point ordering and pricing system nationally, instead of requiring each plant to buy individually at different prices. Furthermore, the manufacturing process will be streamlined by automating processes such as production scheduling that previously were done manually. Delivery costs will be lower as well because the company will be able to determine the most efficient routes and plant-origination sites.
Time savings. Spring Air operates on tight deadlines; it may need to manufacture 300 beds overnight to meet an order. Improved scheduling should reduce delivery times, and the integrated and intuitive nature of Microsoft Dynamics AX requires a lower level of effort by company staff than previously was demanded.
Data accuracy. The improved level of accuracy provided by the Microsoft technology is very important to Spring Air, especially for cost accounting. It will allow the company to calculate the actual costs of manufacturing its product, rather than the standard costs, enabling efficiency improvements in areas such as labor and materials.
Revenue improvement. Sales staff will have more information available, including, for the first time, historic sales data and a lead-tracking database, to help them generate more revenue. Moreover, faster back-office operations will reduce costs and support improved decision-making.
Better planning. The Microsoft forecasting tool will be used for budgeting and will provide the information needed to leverage prices with vendors. Its strong predictive and forecasting capability supports the planning process for manufacturing and financial decisions.
Easier IT support. Now the Spring Air IT department will be supporting only one application to service all plants, instead of the previous half-dozen.
“Microsoft Dynamics AX will allow us to have information on a real-time basis to help us monitor and drive the business,” Davis said. “It provides us the ability to drive processes throughout the organization to make us more efficient, from accounting to manufacturing to IT.”
“With Microsoft Dynamics AX, the Spring Air Company will significantly improve the efficiency of its manufacturing and delivery operations, as well as the performance of its back office,” said Michael Park, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s U.S. Dynamics business. “For a nationwide manufacturer like Spring Air, Microsoft Dynamics AX is the perfect way to integrate information from many facilities to produce cost savings and better products for consumers.”
About Spring Air
Founded in 1926, The Spring Air Company is one of the world’s largest mattress manufacturing companies with more than 1,000 employees in 13 locations. Its well-known consumer brands include: Back Supporter; Nature’s Rest; Four Seasons and Chattam & Wells.
Tribridge is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, recognized as one of the top 1% of partners across the globe. Tribridge implements, secures and supports business applications and was named Microsoft Dynamics U.S. Partner of the Year. We deliver services across the South, bringing together experienced professionals and Big 4 methodologies to generate practical results. Tribridge has a 100% “go live” rate on business application implementations. For more information, visit www.tribridge.com.
About Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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