Case Study

Hiawatha Rubber bounces performance upward with Plex Online

Hiawatha Rubber Company (Hiawatha) is a manufacturer of rubber molded, high precision parts for every major industry including medical, aerospace, printing, and fluid power.

The company's primary manufacturing operations include compounding, milling, bonding, molding, grinding, and trimming. Hiawatha’s products include seals, protective covers, close tolerance rollers, and a variety of custom over-mold applications. In addition, Hiawatha provides in-house chemistry expertise allowing the company to customize rubber formulations for critical customer applications.

Notably, Hiawatha Rubber supplies parts that are non-automotive and non-metal fabrication, which demonstrates Plex Online’s ability to support a wide range of manufacturing companies.

The business challenge

The company’s primary goal was to implement an integrated manufacturing business system that would help them streamline daily operations, capture shop floor data in real time, and gain visibility throughout operations. The new system would need to meet the following objectives:

  • Replace an antiquated, difficult to support, legacy AS/400 application
  • Eliminate various spreadsheets, offline databases, and paper files
  • Institute redesigned and ERP-driven production, scheduling, purchasing, and shipping processes
  • Overhaul the approach to product costing to better understand cost drivers and variable
  • contribution margin

The company selected Plex Online to improve inventory control, scheduling, shipping, and costing. The cloud-based ERP solution would support the following Hiawatha business processes:

  • Sales quotation and order management
  • Manufacturing planning and scheduling
  • Purchasing
  • Inventory management
  • Quality management
  • Finance/accounting
  • Shipping/receiving
  • Human resources

The Baker Tilly solution

The consulting specialists at Baker Tilly employed their Plex Online Implementation Methodology to understand Hiawatha’s business and assess the organization’s ability to adopt change. The consultants leveraged their perspectives from other implementation and optimization projects to guide Hiawatha on configuring and utilizing Plex Online to best meet the company’s unique requirements. In addition, the Baker Tilly team worked closely with the company to drive efficiencies into operating processes and to transfer knowledge to the core Hiawatha implementation team. This would help prepare the company to manage the business system going forward and to implement new system modules and configuration settings with minimal external guidance.

With Baker Tilly guiding the implementation, Hiawatha was able to meet their Plex Online and operational goals. Throughout the project, Baker Tilly gained an understanding of Hiawatha’s unique manufacturing processes, and were able to make recommendations for improvement by leveraging standard Plex Online functionality. Hiawatha was able to strengthen key aspects of the business that create a competitive advantage in the marketplace.