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Manufacturer Finds Acquisition Brings Unlimited ERP Seats

Taking over companies can bring IT expense as well as new business opportunities. So an electrical supply manufacturer was delighted that a merger brought unlimited licenses at no extra cost.

As companies expand and acquire new business, it’s crucial that they work to create a cohesive company culture among all branches by installing uniform business processes to ensure a seamless transition. Partnering with an IT solutions provider that not only unifies locations but also enables companies to grow and expand the use of their software platform without added costs is crucial for a financially sound acquisition process.

Kauffman Engineering, an electrical supply manufacturer based in Lebanon, Ind., has rapidly expanded its business through a number of acquisitions. In doing so, the company quickly found itself in need of a new business tool that would enable it to unify its manufacturing and inventory processes without being penalized for adding seats to the platform. For Kauffman, the solution came with the purchase of one of its new companies already running the enterprise resource planning software platform from VAI.

The privately held company supplies electrical wire harnesses, lead wires, jumper wires, twisted pair wires, cable assemblies, molded plugs and thermoform plastics.

In addition to its wire harness/cable assembly manufacturing capabilities, Kauffman also manufactures automated through-hole, BGA, and surface assembly populated circuit boards. As an added service to its customers, it offers manufacturing of instrument panels in thermoform decorative and critical surface finishes built to exact customer specifications.

Since its inception in 1973, Kauffman has grown from a single-site wiring harness operation into a multi-location company.

Kauffman serves a diverse group of industries, including lawn and garden, transportation, material handling, industrial controls, medical equipment, off-highway vehicles, HVAC, agriculture, marine, aerospace, and many others, according to Scott Hite, company chief financial officer.

While its acquisitions have enhanced market growth, they are not without certain growing pains. With three newly acquired companies, Kauffman Engineering was up against the clock to implement an ERP solution that would not only unify processes across all locations but also keep the company up to date with the latest supply chain technologies, allowing Kauffman to cost-effectively add employees onto the platform well into the foreseeable future. Many mergers are stymied by the need to add hundreds of additional user licenses, which can immediately erode chances for ROI, Hite says. Kauffman’s growth potential hinges on the ability to avoid that unnecessary added cost.

The answer to Kauffman’s challenge nearly fell into its lap: one of the companies that Kauffman acquired, M&G Electronics, had been efficiently operating with VAI’s S2K Enterprise Management software since 2003. When the Kauffman team acquired M&G in 2015 it immediately recognized both the performance benefits of the solution and, just as importantly, the option for unlimited user licenses. That scalability would enable Kauffman to expand its team across a single, powerful platform without additional IT spend.

Many mid-sized companies, such as M&G Electronics, experience difficulty being able to bring on the technology skills to allow them to compete with larger competitors. Mid-market companies need solutions that can provide end-to-end capabilities rather than having to buy and implement all the hardware and applications themselves. The same is true for larger enterprises, such as Kauffman Engineering.

VAI’s cloud-based S2K Enterprise solution is designed to give mid-sized growth companies the advanced technology they need to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and grow, in an easy-to-deploy and support environment.

The ERP solution comes with built-in analytics and intelligence, which provide companies with the ability to make smarter decisions that better address their real-time business imperatives.

Since a series of successful acquisitions, Kauffman has continued to onboard its employees to VAI’s platform. As the company continues to grow its business, VAI’s unlimited user license will grow with it, allowing the manufacturer to continuously add new users to the platform with no additional fees.

“VAI’s unlimited user license has played an intricate role in the success of our recent acquisitions,” Hite says. “The unlimited user license has enabled us to onboard as many employees as needed to ensure a successful transition without cost-prohibitive fees.”

Hite says that Kauffman has only just begun its expansion process, and company executives see no end in sight for market growth — and no end to its partnership with VAI. “Beyond the unlimited user license, the customer service that accompanies the software makes choosing VAI a no-brainer. We feel confident in the partnership that we have developed with VAI, and we trust they will continue to support us as our business grows, well into the foreseeable future.”

Moreover, by integrating VAI’s manufacturing requirement planning solution, Kauffman has been able to digitize its day-to-day activities, cutting out the labor and human error associated with manual document management. Hite says that makes the company more environmentally friendly, efficient and profitable.

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