By Joe Kloecker, Lakeview Consulting Services

If you happen to see a large piece of construction equipment being hauled down the highway, there is a good chance it is riding on a “lowbed” trailer manufactured by Rogers Brothers Corporation (Rogers), located in Albion PA. Since 1905, the company has built over 44,000 trailers for use in the construction and mining industries along with trailers designed for other dedicated uses. You can find their logo on trailers throughout the 50 states and across 65 countries.

With a heritage as bridge builders, Rogers continues to focus on quality and long term performance in their manufacturing process and end product. A key ingredient in the company’s attention to detail is their historical use of technology. Lawrence Kulyk, Board Chairman, represents the third generation of family management at Rogers. He has witnessed the ongoing advancement of technology, including information systems used within the company. A computer-aided design (CAD) system was introduced in the 1970’s, along with accounting systems written in RPG II (report program generated, an IBM programming language). In later years, a company database using packaged software from IBM was developed. Initially titled MMAS (materials management and accounting systems), the package later grew into MAPICS (manufacturing accounting and production information control systems). In 2005, MAPICS was acquired by the international software company Infor and renamed Infor XA. Today, almost 40 years later, these software modules are still operating and evolving at Rogers. From his position, Kulyk recognizes that manufacturing information systems have enabled them to develop an institutional memory containing many years of detailed product data. “This information is the starting point for everything we do,” he said. “It has cut down design time, engineering time, and time to quote.”

David Hough, Production Control Manager, also relies heavily on their IT systems. Since the average trailer requires an overall 8-12 week build cycle with a 10-12 week level bill of material, David counts on the systems to improve feedback and overall communication throughout the company’s operations.

Several key ingredients have led to the success of Rogers’ enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems throughout the past 15 years, including:

  • acquisition of software designed specifically for manufacturing;
  • development of a local relationship with Moldrich Solutions, a MAPICS knowledgeable consultant;
  • daily work processes were merged into software system functionality, and vice versa;
  • trusted information contained in their MAPICS data base.

iPhone and ComputersThe past generations of Rogers’ management created several successful advertising slogans to represent their company. One of them, “Designed to Perform…Built to Last”, is also representative of their commitment to using their information systems.

To learn more about planning or transitioning ERP systems, please contact your NWIRC Business Advisor for information on IT assistance services. You may also qualify for an IT KickStart Mini Grant. Pre-ERP Planning will be the topic of the NWIRC Morning Huddle on October 6 from 8:30-10:00am at Knowledge Center in Erie, PA.

Click here for more information or to register.