Med-Eng Eyes Better Project Management, Reporting Compliance

Manufacturer deploying Lilly Software solution to manage project costs, comply with government, contractual requirements

Manufacturer deploying Lilly Software solution to manage project costs, comply with government, contractual requirements

Hampton, NH — January 7, 2004 — Protective equipment manufacturer Med-Eng Systems is set to implement a solution from Lilly Software to manage project costs and comply with government and contractual reporting.

Med-Eng develops and manufactures personal protective equipment used in explosive ordnance disposal, de-mining, crowd management and personal climate systems. Since 1981, the Canadian company has served military, police and government agencies in more than 130 countries and territories.

The company began small but has undergone significant growth over the past six years. With end-users such as the U.S. Department of Defense, it must follow strict accounting protocols for every project, and with an increasing number of contracts, the company realized that it needed a better way to report actual expenditures and variance from plan rather than manually creating project cost reports through spreadsheets.

"Our internal labor tracking and non-labor tracking was very cumbersome using the spreadsheets," said Craig Thomson, a business analyst for Med-Eng. "It required two to three days of intensive manual data entry every month to produce the desired reports. With the volume of projects, it was obvious that we needed a solution to streamline our project reporting."

Med-Eng originally selected Lilly's VISUAL Enterprise system in 1998 and steadily added key functionality as needed. Now the company is set to move to the provider's VISUAL Enterprise for Project-Based Manufacturers.

Robert Zintel, controller for Med-Eng, explained what attracted the company to the project-based solution: "Primarily, we went with VISUAL Enterprise for Project-Based Manufacturers because we could leverage our existing investment in VISUAL Enterprise and build the desired solution without a large investment in training."

The return on investment from the productivity gain of adding an integrated module was a major reason Med-Eng chose VISUAL, according to Zintel, but he added that this was not the sole driving factor for the solution's selection.

"If we had seen a better solution, we would have chosen it," Zintel said. "After we sat down and looked at what the Project-Based solution offered, we were excited. It met our current requirements and offered a platform that supported growth for the future. So far, VISUAL Enterprise has proven to be scaleable; we have added new modules that provided the functionality for our evolving business needs."

The project management features will enable Med-Eng to avoid spending days preparing data for project accounting, reporting and control, according to Lilly. Managers will be able to track labor, materials, service and travel costs and maintain real-time information about expenditures. The solution also offers reporting modules that mimic the way the U.S. government handles costing, creating an easy learning curve for those familiar with government requirements, Lilly said.

"As we grow, we spend more and more time managing project accounting and reporting," said Thomson. "To handle the increased work load, we would have to hire more employees. Now, we can get the information we need with the resources we have while significantly decreasing the time to perform these tasks. This means we can focus more on overall productivity and profitability. With the Project-Based capabilities, we will be able to load budget forecasts, manage costs, and track contract data requirements lists (CDRLs). We will be able to drill into expenditures and understand what is underlying every project."

The detailed project accounting will help Med-Eng gain a better understanding for the costs of its products and incorporate this data into its financial model, according to Lilly.

"As far as immediate benefits, we expect to accurately track the costs of each project from start to finish and estimate cost-to-completion easier than ever before," said Zintel. "For the complex contracts we are embracing, VISUAL will allow us to pursue our current opportunities and be compliant. Further down the road, as we streamline our tasks, we expect to manage government contracts with increased granularity. For the long term, we want to be able to forecast for improved accuracy and lean performance."

Med-Eng runs version 6.3.8 of VISUAL Enterprise on Oracle 9i and Linux. The company recently started implementing the Project-Based solution and was training its employees on the new software throughout December so that it can go live this month.