Off To The Races

Off To
The Races

How RKL eSolutions helps a legendary NASCAR engine builder track more than 1,000,000 discrete parts – and keep the focus on winning.

NASCAR driver celebration at finish line of a race

We are very fast paced. There are races every weekend, so we need to find competitive advantages to beat the competition. We are consistently striving to be the best.Kevin Reyes, Roush Yates Engines

Each and every week during race season, Roush Yates Engines in Mooresville, North Carolina builds race engines for top-level race teams around the world. Over the course of a season, that equates to more than a million discrete parts that must be tracked, valued, and evaluated for engine builds.

It’s a manufacturing supply chain challenge.

In spring 2015, Roush Yates Engines reached out to RKL eSolutions to help them manage it all. Together, they implemented Sage Enterprise Management (ERP) software package so they could spend less time worrying about inventory management – and focus more on winning at the track.
Here’s how that story unfolded, as told by the people who were there.

For RKL eSolutions

Walter Goodfield
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
Jeff Harman
Solutions Architect
Tom Tobias
Vice President, Sage Enterprise Management Product Manager
Scott Watts
Solutions Architect

PRE-RACE

A Big Supply Chain Challenge

At the time they contacted RKL, Roush Yates Engines (RYE) was using an older Sage 500 ERP program to manage some of their inventory. But they were also still using hand-written paper “build books” – large three-ring binders – to document each engine’s history. We knew there was a better way.

Reyes, RYE: It’s 2015 and we were still recording data on paper. When we were looking at this we knew we needed to evolve the process in order to expand our business. It didn’t lend itself well to reporting. On top of that, the books themselves would move from one room to another, so frequently it was time-consuming to locate the books.

English, RYE: We maxed out with our previous system and were trying to find something to take us to the next level, always looking to find better ways, better processes, better methods. At the end of the day, we were trying to find software that would help us handle the extremely challenging manufacturing environment that we’re in with our engines.

Reyes, RYE: Because we lease our engines – we don’t sell them – and many of the components have a varying lifecycle, we need to track the history of each component as well as the engines and what happens at the racetrack: where the engines go, what teams, what tracks, how many miles are run on the engine, anything that was experienced at the track.

For Roush Yates Engines

Mary Ann Mauldwin
Chief Operations Officer
Todd English
Vice President of Business Development
Kevin Reyes
Director of Information Systems
Erin Gregory
Controller


Engine valves in a fixture being machined.
Group of FR9 Throttle Bodies.

English, RYE: We wanted to find a provider that had experience with Sage Enterprise Management (fka Sage X3) software. Obviously, that’s super important. But we also wanted to find somebody that had experience with Sage 500 ERP. Ideally, we wanted a partner that understood both software packages.

Goodfield, RKL: Roush Yates Engines is very unique. Very few of our customers are in high-profile, performance-driven, win-at-all-costs mode that they’re in every week – and they do so on TV. But when it comes down to how they manage their business, they are very much in line with the manufacturers that we deal with every day.

Tobias, RKL: We have a deep Sage Enterprise Mangement consulting team, so we were pretty well equipped to start the project right away. We have over 60 clients running Sage Enterprise Mangement, so we have a lot of experience implementing the software.

Mauldwin, RYE: When we started contacting Sage as well as other users, the feedback consistently was that RKL was the leader in Sage Enterprise Mangement implementation. So we had them visit Roush Yates Engines, to give them an idea of our physical needs, the flow of material, and what we felt to be a pretty complex project. It was over about a three-month period that we looked at different companies, different software, and came to the conclusion that RKL would be the best fit. They had the resources and experience with Sage Enterprise Mangement we were looking for, along with the mapping tools to put our project together and ensure that we got what we were looking for.

THE
STARTING LINE

Implementing Sage Enterprise Mangement Software

Once Roush Yates Engines selected RKL as their ERP business partner in mid-2015, the teams had about six months to implement the new system. Given the complexity of the project, the amount of data involved, the constraints of the racing season, and the team at RYE, time would not be on their side. This was a very aggressive timeline.

English, RYE: We operate at a fast pace. That’s the nature of our particular racing business. If you look at other implementations, that’s a pretty short timeframe. But we felt that with the team at RKL and our combined effort we could do it.

Tobias, RKL: Roush Yates Engines had alerted us that they were going to have some very specific costing needs with the Sage Enterprise Mangement application, something their current system wasn’t capable of doing. The complexity had to do with the different ways that parts needed to be costed in the engine versus what kind of track they went to, the engine life cycle, the distance, and the number of miles raced on the parts.

English, RYE: Some components are used once, some components are used 15 times. Some components, we keep track of mileage; some components, we keep track of the number of laps. We wanted to capture as much detail as we could about the particular engine and the components that are in that engine so we can make better decisions, and push the envelope of engine design and development.

Goodfield, RKL: The vision of Doug Yates [President and CEO of RYE] for the project was very clear. He wanted his team to have at their fingertips the ability to trace the engine components down to the individual lot and serialized components to identify the root cause if needed. He wanted to be able to say, “OK, this engine had a concern from a supplier. How many other engines do I have at the track this weekend that may be using that same supplier lot or a similar serial code that were in that batch?”

Roush Yates Engine Technician examining data.

Tobias, RKL: Prior to Sage Enterprise Mangement, Roush Yates Engines was using Sage 500 ERP, which is a very solid piece of software, but it was written on a very old technology platform. They needed to move onto something that not only would be supported long-term but more importantly, as RYE continued to grow, they needed something that was scalable to serve many more users and business requirements.
Reyes, RYE: RKL sent over a team of people: a project manager, a developer, a finance person, and a manufacturing specialist. They spent at least one full week on-site here, going through the different processes and different operations, interviewing personnel from different functional areas to get a full understanding of our business process.
Gregory, RYE: I was impressed with how organized they were. We knew it was going to be a daunting task. They really found a way to understand what we do and how to help us with this software. They really entrenched themselves to understand our company and our business needs.

The solution: Sage Enterprise Mangement software For Discrete Manufacturing

Industries

High Tech

Automotive & components

Industrial Machinery & Equipment

Business Processes

Assemble to order

Make to order

Make to stock

Business Challenges

Innovation and reduce time to market

Increase production efficiency & reduce costs

Enhance customer service

Improve internal & external collaboration

BUMPS IN
THE ROAD

Overcoming Challenges

Most manufacturers are not in the business of tearing products down after they’re built – but that’s what Roush Yates Engines does every week. And it’s a rare ERP system that is built to handle this “reverse bill of material” functionality, as Sage Enterprise Mangement does. Another challenge was a massive amount of data – some that required reformatting – that would need to migrate before the new system could be implemented.

Goodfield, RKL: After a race ends, they need a clean process to basically reverse engineer these engines, and to be able to trace back to individual components, both by serial and lot traceability, to identify which items were good for reuse, which items needed to be remanufactured, and which items, based on wear, had to be scrapped or downgraded as a lost item.

Harman, RKL: That was a big challenge that we had to address, keeping track of some of those additional attributes. What track was it run on? What was the mileage? Then to be able to properly value that inventory based on usage quite frankly was pretty awesome.

Reyes, RYE: One difficult thing is we don’t always tear down the engine to the same level as it went into the engine. If we built, let’s say, an oil pump from scratch from individual components, after that engine is used, we may not tear that oil pump back down to the individual components. It may stay as an assembly.

There’s not a finished good per se. It’s not like a product and turn around and sell it to an end consumer. These Ford F9 engines are always in our possession, and they’re always changingKevin Reyes, Roush Yates Engines

Gregory, RYE: Data imports were also a bit of a hurdle. It was a frustration at the time, but now, because we were all so involved, we all learned the system a lot better.

Tobias, RKL: One challenge was determining what data should and should not come over to the new system. They had a lot of old items, some of which could be inactivated. Secondarily, the two systems had different data requirements. You could have one item in the Sage 500 ERP system that maybe had an ampersand or a semicolon in the product ID, which Sage Enterprise Managment doesn’t allow. Or perhaps there were too many characters.

Reyes, RYE: There was also a lot of customization that we still needed to do out-of-the-box with Sage Enterprise, which was identified, planned out, and carried out by RKL. There were plenty of times when we came up against a new challenge and had reasons why an out-of-the-box solution wouldn’t work, that RKL came through and showed us, “Hey, Sage Enterprise Management has this unique feature. If we just customize it slightly it will get you where you want to be.” That happened many times throughout the process.

Harman, RKL: We got to be a real team, no ifs ands or buts about it. I stayed at Roush Yates Engines for two weeks straight when we went live.

Tobias, RKL: We’re heavily, heavily invested in every single software sale that we make. We do everything in our power to make it right.

CHECKERED FLAG

Bottom-line Benefits of a Winning ERP System

The launch date was approaching fast. A new race season – and the season-opening Daytona 500 – was just around the next turn. With a hard deadline bearing down on them, both teams worked hard to iron out the remaining details and get the new system up and running quickly.

English, RYE: In the end, it was a very easy program to get up to speed. RKL should get a lot of credit for that because they worked with our employees hand-in-hand and did a fantastic job of educating our employees so we could hit the road running on day one.

Reyes, RYE: What we have now is a very solid ERP system that is super flexible, with a lot of configurability built into it. We can do a lot more things. We can change our business and it can accommodate those changes very well.

Gregory, RYE: We also have other employees, who may have never used our prior system Sage 500 ERP, who now have a much better understanding of the system. That’s been extremely helpful for all departments. For instance, when we’re trying to investigate an accounting variance, I can now go to the software and work with the people who were there to find out what happened.

Watts, RKL: It’s giving them better visibility into their data and a faster pace than what they had previously been used to, which helps them streamline their operations.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion won his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Gregory, RYE: There are things that we’re doing differently with inventory. We can get down to serial numbers, costs for specific items, and all of that has been helpful. But the greatest impact has been that cost.

Mauldwin, RYE: Our month end close used to take two to three weeks because we were always chasing variances before we’d close the month. We now close each month in one to two days after the end of the month. That frees up a lot of time and builds confidence in our information.

English, RYE: You hear a lot of horror stories. When you move into another new software or some type of implementation, it shuts your business down. But we didn’t have any of that. For us, it was a great transition into Sage Enterprise Management, and the RKL team did a fantastic job. It’s a lot easier because Sage Enterprise Management has given us the right tools.

RACING AHEAD

The Future of ERP Manufacturing

Just like the world-class race engines, Roush Yates Engines builds for race teams around the world, the opportunities with the Sage Enterprise Management system are never really finished. The teams at RYE and RKL are continually looking for ways to make it faster, more powerful, and more efficient – with the ultimate goal being more wins on the racetrack.

Reyes, RYE: One of the things that has been instrumental in our success with Sage Enterprise Management and our relationship with RKL is they’re more than just software experts. They also help us to identify best practices in our business and how we can utilize the software to implement them. They’ve challenged us to consider new and better ways of doing things that we might never have considered.

Goodfield, RKL: And Roush Yates Engines has been instrumental in helping us to improve the product and identify areas where we can either improve the customer experience or expand some of the capabilities. Our vision is to continue to help them use the software to optimize their processes.

English, RYE: Ultimately, we want our engineers to be at the track, in front of their laptops, on their cell phones, able to pull up a particular engine and really see the components that are inside of it and it’s history. That’s a pretty huge project, but that’s the hope, that’s the intention. It will take a tremendous amount of support from RKL and Sage Enterprise Management.

Reyes, RYE: In the end, the less we have to worry about things like software or daily data acquisition and reporting, the more we can focus on building a better engine, supplying our customers with what they need as quickly as possible, and winning races.

Goodfield, RKL: The Roush Yates Engines ERP solution was a unique project in a lot of ways. It was fast-paced, high-profile, and very complex – in a highly visible industry. But in other ways, it was very conventional. The principles we applied and the tools we used to get Roush Yates Engines to the finish line are applicable in any manufacturing industry. If we can do it for them, we can do it for any business.

Nascar driver performing burnout celebration after finishing

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