METALFORMING INDUSTRY -
Acuity Capital Group is a privately funded, independent firm focused on operational expertise. In its portfolio, Acuity Capital Group includes four leaders in the metal industry:
- ABC Metals Group, specializing in distributing precision slit metal products
- Sparta Metal Processing, a leader in insulated wire and cable recycling/metal recovery
- Sumco Group, which provides precision electroplating
- AmeriPlate, which also provides precision electroplating
Acuity Capital Group serves as a vertical metals company with multiple operating companies, each with different requirements and business processes for receiving, production, purchasing and more.
The four metal businesses under the Acuity Capital Group umbrella require various levels of applications and features to streamline operations as the companies grow, specifically for receiving, shipping, production reporting and barcode labeling. Extensibility was a critical component of the requirements.
Sparta Metal Processing, which recycles and recovers metals from wire and cable, has receiving processes unlike other companies and needed an application to streamline receiving. It receives hundreds of thousands of pounds of materials in a wide variety of packaging — bales, bins, containers — all with a different recovery percentage. Each unit must be tagged when it is received. Staff members need to predict what can be recovered against what is actually recovered, which could result in price renegotiation. Standard ERP processes are not sufficient. Serial tracking in this case is quite difficult.
ABC Metals Group buys metal in large coils and slits it down to the required sizes to sell throughout the U.S. and Mexico from its four plants. It is already utilizing components of the Fuuz Platform for producing barcode labels and other shipping documents.
Sumco Group and AmeriPlate — both leaders in precision electroplating — will be adding Fuuz applications throughout 2023 as the Acuity IT team replaces legacy applications currently in use.
For Sparta Metal Processing, team members first set up a receiving application on the Fuuz applications platform to fit its unique receiving requirements.
“With Fuuz, we can set up one screen for receiving and serial tracking and pull all the data from the supplier PO from the ERP [in this case, MS Business Central 365], and then once the receipt is complete, push the data into the ERP and purchasing data tables. This is critical, as the serial number [container ID] is created uniquely based on criteria such as expected recovery percentage, quality of incoming materials, and container gross and tare weight — all of which are unique to each container,” Bierwagen said. “That data is also carried to the raw material barcode tags, which are automatically created during the receiving process with both Code 39 and 2D identifiers — the 2D allowing for longer read distance for our barcode scanners.”
Receiving and serial tracking are now more efficient for Sparta Metal Processing, with fewer steps. Operators can use one intuitive screen. The Acuity team is also developing shipping and production reporting apps to meet shop floor requirements.
“Fuuz allows us to optimize the process for the operator on the shop floor while maintaining the financial integrity of the data records for production tracking and reporting,” Bierwagen added. “As we recently added toll processing for customers, we have even been able to add specific customer labels for finished goods and shipping documents that incorporate client specific logos — ensuring customer product is easily identified and confirmed through all phases of operations — functionality that we rolled out in a matter of days.”
Bierwagen went on to say that Fuuz enables companies to:
- Go the last mile to get a 100% solution in place to meet requirements
- Work with business analysts as opposed to pure developers or consultants, who often need 50% of an engagement to understand the nature of the business
- Tie things together in the cloud and add extensibility to the data structure without affecting the underlying data sets of standard cloud products
- Work with a platform that is ERP agnostic, which is critical as Acuity operating companies are currently using several ERP platforms for supporting finance and operations
“I saw the first demo of Fuuz and was very excited about the potential. And that potential is paying off in a very big way,” Bierwagen said. “I have spent my career in building, deploying and supporting software for manufacturing on many platforms — including work in the last several years with BI platforms and IIoT integration with the shop floor. Fuuz is the best enabler of achieving critical functionality and integration across all the products we use — and is the key to adding the special sauce we need for each of our operating companies to be successful.
“It provides a solid platform for low-code applications development, enabling the businesspeople, SMEs and business analysts to design the majority of our desired solution. They’re designing apps, screens, the logic flow, business decision rules and built-in parameters,” continued Bierwagen. “That’s a huge crossover for us, allowing us to leverage our full team. We believe it provides us the unique capabilities that are not available anywhere else, while being backed by MFGx, one of the strongest IT partners and teams we work with.”