Argent International streamlines operations with Plex Online

Argent International is a manufacturer of specialty-cut, self-adhesive components made from primarily non-metallic materials and adhesive tapes from a wide variety of manufacturers. It supplies the automotive, industrial, marine, medical, label, and automotive aftermarket industries.

The company was founded in 1977 by businessman and entrepreneur, Fred Perenic, who collaborated with 3M™ on a breakthrough opportunity to die-cut their first generation nameplate tapes. Argent’s headquarters and manufacturing facility are located in Plymouth, Michigan. In addition, the company has strategic regional sales offices in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mexico.

The business challenge

Argent had been using QAD MFG/PRO as their primary business application and needed to upgrade to a newer version of QAD or replace it with a new business system altogether. In exploring the options, Argent was focused on their primary goal: to implement a fully integrated manufacturing business system, which would allow them to:

  • Streamline and standardize daily operations
  • Capture real-time, shop floor manufacturing data
  • Increase inventory visibility and control throughout all operations
  • Become more proactive to current operational needs
  • Transform manual processes into automated processes wherever possible
  • Eliminate various spreadsheets, offline databases, and secondary applications
  • Instill discipline and procedural control within manufacturing operations

Argent selected Plex Online to replace QAD MFG/PRO. Their decision was based on the breadth and depth of functionality built specifically for manufacturing companies. The Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model employed by Plex Online was an added bonus on top of meeting all of their primary objectives.

The Baker Tilly solution

The Plex Online implementation project began with a series of interviews of key Argent personnel. Through this step, Baker Tilly Plex Online specialists gained an understanding of current business processes, documented current "pain points," and uncovered opportunities for improvement that could be realized through Plex Online functionality and process reengineering.

Using their Plex Implementation Methodology, the Baker Tilly team led Argent through targeted training, configuration, and testing workshops designed to tailor the system’s many options into a solution that met the company’s operational objectives. Baker Tilly worked closely with the Argent team throughout the workshops to evaluate and redesign many business processes. This enabled Plex Online to serve as the main tool in helping them realize their objectives.

A “big bang" approach was used to implement Plex Online, completely replacing the QAD MFG/PRO and secondary applications at the start of the new year.

Business results

The highly configured Plex Online solution jointly designed and deployed by Argent and Baker Tilly allowed the company to meet their objectives and realize many operational improvements, without requiring customization of the software.

Notable improvements included:

  • Streamlined and standardized configuration of parts, manufacturing operations, and bills of materials, which drastically reduced the setup and maintenance of manufactured products
  • Improved inventory control, traceability, and visibility through serialization
  • Improved alignment of quality data to actual production processes resulting in more meaningful and usable quality data
  • Transformation of manual, undocumented production processes into automated, well defined production processes
  • Increased discipline to follow standard manufacturing processes
  • System functional knowledge distributed more evenly among Argent staff.

Baker Tilly offers a specialized consulting team with deep vertical knowledge and exceptional Plex Online implementation and optimization skills. The firm’s Consulting Practice applies best practice methodologies to organizational needs and successfully implements Software as a Service (SaaS) business solutions. Baker Tilly helps take out the complexity and risk of challenging software deployments.