Key to Successful ERP System: Knowing How to Use It

With over 30 years' experience, Sekisui Aerospace is recognized as a leader in supplying quality products to airlines and OEMs worldwide. Over the past decade, the company has implemented a variety of ERP systems in three separate manufacturing facilities in the greater Puget Sound region. And over that time, they've learned the secret to success.

SEKISUI Aerospace designs and manufactures lavatories, closets, crew rests, overhead stow compartments, class dividers, sidewalls, ceiling panels, and much more. The company is especially known for its manufacturing excellence in aerospace structural composites, ducting, and interiors.

Sekisui Aerospace has a long track record of manufacturing primary structural aerospace components for the general aviation, commercial aerospace, unmanned aerial vehicles, and defense markets.





Offering an extensive selection of tooling and technical services, SEKISUI Aerospace also operates an FAA certified flammability test lab and an FAA approved repair station. The company prides itself on working with customers from concept to certification and delivering quality products on schedule.

Over the years, SEKISUI has invested in ERP to gain new capabilities to support its high-volume make-to-order manufacturing operation. The company went live on the Epicor Vantage solution back in 2009 across its Auburn, Washington manufacturing location. They converted to Epicor ERP version 9 in early 2011, then went live in the Renton location. The Sumner, Washington, location went live in May 2015.

One of the biggest secrets to its string of successful implementations was the company's investment in training. Poor or insufficient training is a major reason why large-scale ERP implementations can fail. Organizations can spend millions of dollars on ERP software and professional services, only to find their ERP system "isn't working" to support its key business goals, because employees either aren't using it or don't understand how to use the system.

Sekisui Aerospace is embracing the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and implementing it through the 4 Centers of Excellence.



To ensure training wasn't the weak link when it comes to realizing the full potential of its Epicor ERP implementation, SEKISUI invested in a number of Epicor University offerings for both new and "refresher" training to make sure it's workforce could get up to speed on the system quickly.

SEKISUI selected the Epicor Knowledge Mentor and Epicor Embedded Education offerings to support effective role-based and interactive employee training. Epicor Knowledge Mentor enabled SEKISUI to easily create, deploy, and manage custom training content and documentation unique to its Epicor implementation.

Much like Navy F-18 pilots who log thousands of hours behind sophisticated F-18 trainers that replicate the actual flying experience, Epicor Knowledge Mentor training content showed SEKISUI employees how to use the system exactly as it is configured in their own work environment.

Sekisui officials believe effective role-based employee training has created a savvy workforce that is proficient in using the software.



Additional self-paced education for SEKISUI employees was facilitated through Epicor ERP Embedded Courses. With Epicor ERP Embedded Courses, SEKISUI employees have access to over 100 courses right from the Epicor ERP software, and can easily navigate between courses and the related application, including real-life business data through an Epicor education database.

The training has helped with morale and user adoption, says Sharon Woodall, ERP Systems Program Manager, for SEKISUI Aerospace. "It's greatly assisted in getting employee buy-in," she said. "Well trained employees are empowered to use the system to do their jobs more effectively, and this becomes a testament to its ease of use and effectiveness. When employees from sites yet to go live tour post-implementation sites, even the biggest detractors become the biggest supporters. Change is hard, but proven success makes change easier for other locations."

Woodall says that in addition to shop-floor employees and managers, SEKISUI's IT department also has found the training helpful to support the creation of dashboards for improved visibility and reporting.

Through the use of smart automation and operational excellence, Sekisui Aerospace is able to provide its customers with complex parts and assemblies while maintaining gold-standard quality and delivery performance.





SEKISUI's investment in training puts it in the category of Best-in-Class organizations, according to industry analyst firm Aberdeen Group.

"ERP is the essential tool that organizations need to run effectively and efficiently from end to end. The solution can lead to great benefits in performance metrics such as profit margins, inventory accuracy, complete and on-time delivery, and many others. But just implementing an ERP solution does not ensure that these benefits will be received. Instead, organizations must actively strive for ERP success by committing to employee training," says Aberdeen analyst Nick Castellina.

The report sought to compare the commitment to training of Best-in- Class organizations in comparison to All Others, and found the Best-in-Class organizations are 82% more likely than All Others to properly train new employees after the initial stages of implementation. Further, the Best-in-Class are 80% more likely than All Others to have a formal onboarding process to train all new users.

SEKISUI's investment in training has enabled all users to leverage almost every facet of Epicor functionality-from sales orders to engineering, part master, advanced scheduling, and MRP -- helping SEKISUI reap the full benefits of its ERP investment.

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SEKISUI Aerospace

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