Marine Hardware, Inc.
Prop shafts, struts, & rudders
for marine industry
Size: $15-20 million
Users on Sage Accpac: 29
Automate fast-growing manufacturing company, with operations in many time zones
Sage Accpac ERP with complete suite of financial and operations modules; INFOMAN as business partner for support and customizations
Company could double its business with only 10% more people; the right systems are in place.
- John Pugh, Owner, Marine Hardware, Inc.
The advent of fiberglass boats transformed the entire marine manufacturing world in the 1970s. John Pugh recognized a golden opportunity, and designed and built the first outboard transom-mounted rudder assembly for fiberglass vessels. Bayliner quickly adopted his revolutionary rudder for its motor yachts, and Pugh’s company, Marine Hardware, was on a course for success.
Today Marine Hardware is a world leader in marine prop shafts, struts, and rudders. With numerous patents to its credit, the company operates a domestic foundry and state-of-the-art machine shop, and has joint ventures with a manufacturer in China and a precision ground boat shafting firm.
When Marine Hardware incorporated in 1981, Pugh invested in a basic computer from Sears – plus a DOS version of Sage Accpac. “The software was on 5” floppies. I still have one as a souvenir,” he says.
Pugh ran into problems, however, finding support for his software. “I called the manufacturer, and asked a woman there who she would recommend as a reseller for her own father. She finally gave me three names. All three were John Burgess of INFOMAN. He helped us with integration, and we haven’t let anyone touch our system without his involvement since.”
INFOMAN’s Sage Accpac solution has automated practically everything. Originally, the system managed only accounting functions. In the early 1990s, the company added an invoicing module based on part numbers, tracking items on order, inventory quantities and finished parts. By the late 1990s, Accpac was being used to perform inventory control, order entry, and purchase orders, eventually providing real-time inventory.
Marine Hardware struggled with converting raw part numbers into finished part numbers, and justifying discrepancies in physical inventory counts. In 2001, the company adopted bills of material capabilities to prepare work orders on the shop floor, for accurate tracking and costing, and has also streamlined operations with barcodes.
“INFOMAN designed a remarkable custom program for us called MH Draw,” says Pugh. “We use computer-aided drawing, or CAD, to design parts, and assign a part number to each drawing. But CAD numbers are formatted differently than Accpac numbers. So INFOMAN wrote a program that transfers CAD numbers across to Accpac. Any salesperson can now call up a drawing by part number, and email a PDF to their customer for review.”
INFOMAN has prepared hundreds of custom reports for Marine Hardware over the years, all stored in an enormous spiral binder. An automatic Crystal Report generator now creates reports at night and emails them directly to management, eliminating the headaches of requesting data.
By using a remote Terminal Server, Marine Hardware’s system is available to its sales reps in the field, no matter where they might be. “Our people in Florida are three hours earlier than headquarters, and our office in China is 12 hours out of sync,” explains Pugh. “That isn’t a problem, however, because we run Accpac on our Terminal Server. A sales rep can log in to Accpac 24/7. They don’t have to call our office for information. They have total accessibility, just as if they were here in Washington State.”
Pugh says that INFOMAN has become much more than just a reseller. “We trust INFOMAN as true advisors, primarily because of their integrity. If we describe the scope of a project, we know they’ll find the most efficient way to get the job done. They’re not trying to sell extra services, and they never pad their bills,” he notes.
“Also, they’re great teachers. They are extremely patient, and can answer technical questions in such a way that our least technical people can understand.”
Pugh adds a humorous story. “Here’s how intent John Burgess is when he works. In the 1990s, he was here working on a custom report for us when everybody else went home at 5:30. I was the last to leave, and locked the front door. Then I saw John’s car in the parking lot, and realized he was still inside. Sure enough, there he was at a workstation, plugging away. He never even noticed he was all alone and had been locked inside the building!” he says.
“If we didn’t have INFOMAN and Sage Accpac, we’d need four times as many meetings. Now we could double in size and only have to add 10 percent more people because we have the right business systems in place.”