Dennen Steel

Dennen Steel is a steel assembly, welding and stamping manufacturer with three US-based warehouses. With Microsoft Dynamics AX and RF-SMART, Dennen Steel decreased inventory count duration from two weeks to two days.

When two brothers from Grand Rapids, Michigan joined together to buy and sell scrap steel from World War II in 1947, they laid the foundation for the steel stamping manufacturer known today as Dennen Steel Corp. Since that time, Dennen Steel Corp. has changed significantly, including stamping, welding and assembly processes.

The Need for Automated Data Collection

As a result of the many changes, Dennen Steel recognized the need for an ERP and Automated Data Collection (ADC) solution to support their changing business. Dennen Steel went live with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 and immediately selected RF-SMART as part of their AX implementation.  “As we grew, we knew we needed to integrate all of our operations into a more seamless supply chain for customers,” recalls Trent Bremer, Vice President of Finance for Dennen Steel. “We had limited visibility and very little data collection, and that needed to be fixed.”

Implementation Results

One of the first areas that noticed a change was the receiving department. Before AX, as coils were brought in, receiving personnel would take the invoice receipt and enter it in to their system by hand. This resulted in inaccuracy and lack of visibility to the raw material that was in inventory. With RF-SMART’s ADC workflows, the receiving personnel can now enter the coils into the system using handheld devices and the inventory is update immediately.

Prior to implementing RF-SMART, the Dennen team had zero traceability, with no real ability to know how many operations were completed or finished goods produced at a given point. Now, Dennen Steel is able to track the operations completed through the process and update Dynamics AX with the number of finished goods in real time.

“A year into using RF-SMART, we reported an approximated 30% increase in productivity on the shop floor directly as a result of our implementation to AX with the RF-SMART solution,” Trent said. “Our workers weren’t spending time chasing down tags or wasting time on paper processes, instead they were freed to run presses and make product. This has been a huge gain for us.”

This efficiency has also been seen in the company’s physical inventory count at the end of the year. Historically, Dennen Steel would spend two days placing tags on each piece of inventory by hand,a process that could take up to two weeks. With RF-SMART’s, Dennen Steel is now able to scan the barcoded tags on each item and reconcile the count in just two days – reducing their total time to what it used to take just to count the inventory!

Confidence in the Future

Overall, Trent has found that the early recommended reasons to implement RF-SMART have been true. Because of its seamless integration into AX, they had no reservations about introducing the ADC solution into its newest manufacturing facility. RF-SMART’s user-friendly interface and ease to adjusting AX workflows was critical in the start of the new center, Trent said. Dennen Steel was able to roll out the new facility without any issues.

“I am pleased that we don’t have to worry about any data translation issues across our different warehouses – what we enter into the system is what is being recognized,” Trent said. “There are always horror stories of integrating ADC to ERP systems, but ours was incredibly seamless.”

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