VKI Technologies Brews Potential for Business Expansion with Enterprise Technology

Coffee-brewing equipment maker implements QAD software for advanced manufacturing

Coffee-brewing equipment maker implements QAD software for advanced manufacturing

Quebec — April 17, 2006 — VKI Technologies, a manufacturer of coffee-making equipment and related products, is taking steps to drive more cost out of its supply chain and manufacturing operations and establish a foundation for building its business in new markets, the company has announced.

Quebec-based VKI is deploying QAD MFG/PRO eB2 technology from California-based enterprise software provider QAD Inc. to support the company's "lean" manufacturing initiatives and related advanced production techniques.

VKI Technologies produces coffee-brewing equipment for the North American market and licenses its technology to equipment manufacturers in Europe and Japan. According to Robert Primeau, director of business strategies and customer support, VKI is focused on eliminating parallel systems and expanding use of QAD software to ensure a consistent standard for enterprise operations — from finance to the factory floor and supply chain and, in the future, customer self-service.

VKI's manufacturing facilities encompass several operational processes and just-in-time (JIT) techniques such as mix model assembly lines, point-of-use storage, cellular manufacturing in its sheet metal department and Kanban card-controlled production, all of which have increased the company's manufacturing flexibility and reduced its response time for specific customer orders.

"VKI Technologies is committed to leading-edge manufacturing methods, and QAD MFG/PRO provides a solid foundation for our lean manufacturing and 'continuous improvement' initiatives," said Primeau. "QAD software has provided VKI Technologies with the [enterprise resource planning (ERP)] and manufacturing data we need to make strategic decisions for 15 years, and we anticipate the technology will continue to be integral to our success as our business advances."

A Platform for the Future

Timely information from its QAD system has enabled VKI Technologies to implement business scorecards that comprise nearly 30 key performance indicators (KPIs) — including financial, technical and customer support information — on a daily basis. This insight enables executives to adjust manufacturing processes to address issues and improve product quality. To that end, QAD technology will help the manufacturer with product lot and model tracking, which are important to warranty and customer service, and even to the development of successful new products.

VKI has a global clientele, serving customers of its parent company, Canada-based coffee roaster Van Houtte Cafe, and working directly with companies primarily located in North America. As VKI seeks to expand its direct business in Europe, Primeau anticipates QAD MFG/PRO software will help control internal procedures.

Looking ahead, VKI will use data in its QAD system to facilitate customer self-service via the Internet. The manufacturer also will evaluate QAD Supply Visualization to automate its Kanban system and specific events, such as signaling stock minimums and providing up-to-date Kanban status to suppliers. Primeau said manual and signal-based systems, in combination with automation, will help VKI meet on-time delivery targets and production planning needs.

"Companies such as VKI Technologies are taking advantage of the flexibility of their QAD investments in order to support the advanced manufacturing techniques that will give them a competitive edge now and into the future," said Pamela Lopker, chairman and president at QAD.

Additional Articles of Interest

— How do you avoid losing a limb as you're working with new technologies? A supply chain icon offers his take on this conundrum. Read more in "Executive Memo: Stepping into the Deep Water," in the February/March 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— To build a competency in supply network design, this consumer products company first had to build confidence. Read more in "Designing the Best Supply Chain Gillette Can Get," in the February/March 2006 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.