by Joseph Kloecker, Lakeview Consulting Services

Weller photo
Cross IT employee, Todd Weller, using an iPhone to record an inventory transaction.

Many companies are rightfully concerned about the effort and financial commitment required to make the transition from QuickBooks and Excel spreadsheets to a full function ERP System. Stories of expensive and time consuming package implementations often combined with less than desired results present a worrisome picture. Reynolds Services, Inc. (RSI), a metal service center located in Greenville PA, chose an alternate approach that has proven to be very effective for them.  RSI started in 1990 with one factory and $4 million in sales.  The company has cut to length and slitting operations which distribute steel, aluminum, and various raw material specifications across the United States and internationally.  Their customers use these products to produce finished goods – everything from decorative tins and food cans to electronics and automotive parts. Since their beginning, RSI has grown to three locations with revenues in excess of $100 million.

Even though metals may seem like the ultimate commodity, RSI has found a way to stand out from the crowd through automation provided by their use of a custom fit information technology solution built on the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker consists of software tools used to create programs that run on iOS , Windows, Mac and FileMaker WebDirect.

“While many might consider RSI an old-style manufacturing business, we constantly re-engineer our processes. Our goal is to grow our customer base and expand into new product lines, and we rely on the FileMaker Platform to achieve this” says John Frangakis, Chairman and CEO.

The FileMaker platform solution covers every segment of RSI’s operations including guest registration in the main lobby, inventory tracking, production scheduling, product ticketing and real time order status, ISO 9001 compliance audits, CRM, and Human Resource performance evaluations.  Shipping and receiving are also part of the overall system through the use of an iPhone or iPad.

Frangakis photo
John R. Frangakis reviews real-time inventory status as part of the FileMaker platform solution.

Customers also benefit from the integration of a FileMaker solution through quick response to their requests. For example, if a customer wants a specific metal coil or sheet checked to specifications, the request is sent to an RSI employee’s iPad.  Instead of waiting hours or even days for a quality inspection, the results of completed QA tests are reported back to the sales team for discussion and communication with the client within minutes through the paperless processes.

Years ago, Frangakis started developing the FileMaker-based system on his own when RSI’s inventory tracking outgrew traditional spreadsheets. Spurred by rapid company growth, he formed an internal development team called Cross IT, headed by Todd Weller, Senior Data Systems Architect.  Cross IT evolved the solution that now automates nearly every aspect of RSI’s business.

The RSI solution has become so successful that Cross IT is developing custom solutions for clients based on their specific needs, thus forming an independent spin-off software development business independent from RSI.

For more information, please contact your NWIRC Business Advisor on ways NWIRC can help with your IT projects.

Joe Kloecker, Owner of Lakeview Consulting Services, has over thirty years’ experience advising a range of organizations, from small start-up businesses to large international manufacturing companies, in selecting appropriate software and planning for disaster recovery and business continuity.