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kolb cleans data processes to streamline supply chain management

22 05 Cs Kolb Case Study

kolb Cleaning Technology GmbH, Germany, is one of the world´s leading manufacturers for cleaning systems used in the electronics producing industry. Located in Willich, Germany, this owner-managed, medium-sized enterprise has gained international reputation as an innovative powerhouse, known to be the inventor and pioneer of aqueous system cleaning in the electronics industry.

After 30 years, kolb continues to set new benchmarks for machinery engineering, chemistry development, and process design. Fulfilling the high-quality requirements of its customers, the business offers an integrated solution: cleaning systems with most innovative technology. It combines this with process optimized cleaning detergents that correspond to the economic and environmental requirements of today and of the future.

Stuck on Manual Processes

kolb Cleaning Technology prides itself on fast delivery times. As a global leader in the cleaning machinery manufacturing market with 50 employees, the business has a reputation for acting quickly and efficiently. Where competitors maintain a 20-30 week lead time, kolb can deliver in six to eight weeks while producing a high-quality result.

However, the company previously relied on manual processes during month-end and year-end close. In addition to being time consuming for the financial team, the business relied on IT to customize and generate ad hoc reports. Because its IT staff were tasked with other critical duties, they were unable to prioritize finance needs, causing considerable delays to the close process.

Introducing Jet Reports

When Christian Ortmann, CEO of kolb Cleaning Technology, attended finance training with business partner, EC Consulting, Ortmann caught a glimpse of Jet Reports on the screen and knew he had to adopt the software. Ortmann was immediately impressed with the program and asked for more information.

“When we had the finance training, I realized within seconds we needed Jet Reports,” said Ortmann. “I was responsible for monthly and yearly reporting. At the time, we copied data from the ERP to Excel, then checked to make sure the data was in line. From the moment I saw Jet Reports, I knew we needed to integrate a faster solution.”

Ortmann immediately saw that Jet Reports could offered kolb an array of benefits, including:

  • Automating manual processes
  • Working seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Business Central
  • Providing refreshable, up-to-date reports
  • Relieving IT department workload
  • Putting the power to report into the hands of those who manage them

Fostering Strong Business Connections

kolb reached out to EC Consulting to assist with implementing Jet Reports. Throughout the process, the two companies maintained a strong connection as the business grew. Once Jet Reports was implemented, Ortmann knew staff would require extensive training, and he trusted EC Consulting to provide it for the team.

“If there is a problem, they EC Consulting can easily fix it for us,” Ortmann explained. “It’s a great partnership. If we have an issue, we work on it together. On a human side, we also have a very good connection.”

Results

Overall, the automated, refreshable data provided by Jet Reports helps kolb foster greater trust within the business. “In the past, you needed to bring data from the ERP into Excel manually,” said Ortmann. “We couldn’t trust that the data we had was fully accurate. With Jet Reports’ refresh button, we can assure people it’s live data from the database. Now, they trust the data.”

Jet Reports saves kolb a significant amount of time off its formerly manual processes, including:

  • 2 days per month on reporting
  • 1 day per month on supply chain and inventory management
  • 1 day per week using Jet Hub
  • 1.5 days per week by automating report schedules

Putting the Power into Finance’s Hands

Before introducing Jet Reports, kolb’s IT department was unable to prioritize completing critical tasks for its finance and engineering departments, delaying much-needed reports from being run. Jet Reports helped relieve the company’s overtaxed IT department while putting the power to run reports into the hands of those who needed them most.

“We have more people feeling comfortable designing in Jet Repots,” explained Ortmann. “And it’s not IT people, it’s people in finance, engineering, and sales. There are no IT people who program now. Instead, Jet designers in our company run reports because they know precisely what they need. Jet Reports generates accurate numbers for them.”

Automated Report Scheduling with Jet Hub

kolb uses Jet Hub to schedule reports automatically. Overall, the business saves a full day every week on scheduling and administrative tasks with the solution’s automation capabilities. “We have a lot of complex reports that take 45 minutes to an hour to generate,” said Ortmann. “When you report manually, you address tasks to people, but you also have to check the report at the right time because some reports, like inventory, must be generated at the right time.”

Jet Hub helps kolb’s staff run reports on a set schedule so that they no longer need to set reminders or stop in the middle of other critical tasks to shift focus on timely reporting. “There are a lot of things we don’t have to think about now because we use Jet Hub,” Ortmann said. “It saves us a minimum 1.5 days per week. You don’t have to be reminded of which reports to run at the right time because Jet Hub automates that process.”

Inventory and Supply Chain Improvements

Shipping and supply chain delays are a major concern for manufacturing companies worldwide. Delays often run rampant, leaving businesses reprioritizing, rescheduling, and floundering on inventory management. With Jet Reports, kolb maintains a competitive edge. The solution allows the company to keep better track of inventory without requiring in-depth technical knowledge. “If someone comes to us and asks us how many pieces of inventory we have, we can open Jet Reports, refresh the data, and Jet Reports will tell us exactly how much we have,” said Ortmann.

Overall, Jet Reports saves the logistics department hours on critical supply chain management. “In the past, we had a lot of issues with pieces that haven’t been picked up,” Ortman explained. “We’d forward a list to order processing, where they’d check with distributors. Today, we have a report that automatically runs twice a week, and we get a report for the part that hasn’t been picked up.”

Jet Reports enables the business to apply specific filters to match parts it needs, ultimately saving an entire day per month on inventory. By inputting a delivery note number, the user is taken to the corresponding item, which can be forwarded easily to distribution partners.

Building A Strong Data Culture

Since implementing Jet Reports, kolb grew a strong data culture from a blank slate. “We didn’t have a data culture before Jet Reports,” Ortmann said. “In the past, the IT department was responsible for data management. At the time, we had to go to IT and explain what we needed and why we needed it. IT often didn’t have time to run the reports quickly.”

Once the business installed Jet Reports, it was able to shift responsibility for creating and editing reports to finance department, sales, and engineering. “The people who need the reports run them. In Jet Reports, it’s easy to collect, work with, and double check the data.”

Plans for the Future

The world is getting more complex, as are business processes. To stay ahead of the curve, kolb plans to fully leverage Jet Report’s ability to drill down into critical business data. Moving forward, the company plans to:

  • Migrate from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central
  • Focus on more granular analytics
  • Utilize more of Jet’s features

Before adopting Jet Reports, kolb relied heavily on manual processes and its IT department to generate and edit reports. As a result of adopting the solution, those who need reports the most are empowered to easily create and modify reports, and drill down on essential details. From better supply chain monitoring to building a data culture from scratch, kolb has seen strong company-wide improvement.

I’m a big fan of Jet Reports. I tell everybody Jet Reports is the best tool we’ve ever had for the company. If you don’t already have Jet Reports, you need it.” - Christian Ortmann, CEO, kolb Cleaning Technology

Christian Ortmann
CEO

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