why I selected Altheasuite…..
Whilst I was working for a fabric manufacturing company called Tietex International, as Director of Development, in 2019/2021 they decided that they needed to upgrade their entire ERP system for the company. Tietex at the time has two plants, one in South Carolina and one in Thailand, with a total of approximately 600 employees. In their activity in finding a new ERP system, they attracted bids from a number of ERP designers/companies – Althea was not one of them invited to bid. Tietex eventually selected a company known as IFS and signed the respective contract. During the “courtship” from IFS, in order to get the contract, IFS promised all kinds of flexibility in modifications of their system to suit Tietex’s needs. The deal was signed and they came in. It became very apparent that they were not up to changing too much and that Tietex was going to have to adapt to the way it does things, in order to get the system to work for them. The training sessions from the IFS staff were frustrating as they did not do their homework to understand what Tietex made and used crap that they had in a database for training purposes……when they tried to show a group of my staff how to make jet propulsion engines with jars of olives, I lost my patience and stopped the training and gave the training officer from IFS one of our specs, BOMs, Routes etc for a fabric and told them to use this for training. Tietex, I believe, has now integrated this software but it required a large team of people on their side to make it work. Integration took over a year and although they are live with their system, they still have a team fixing problems with the IFS owned system every day.
In 2020, a friend of mine who is CEO of Eeonyx, based in California, begged me to come and help him sort out the company he was running. Eeonyx specialises in the coating of textile products with conductive polymers for a number of different electronic and EM absorbing applications including, but not restricted to, stealth technology, naval antennas, artificial horizon components, sensor technologies and heating fabrics. Eeonyx is a small privately held company with only 6 employees but a high revenue per capita, probably very similar to Elftmann Tactical.
I left Tietex on very good terms and took on the position of COO/VP R&D at Eeonyx in January 2021. From the outset of this endeavor, I discovered that the systems and paperwork and the basic ways of doing things at Eeonyx needed better controls and organization. It was clear that Eeonyx needed an ERP system but, after having bad experiences with IFS in the past whilst I was working for Tietex, I was very skeptical and mistrusting of ERP system providers.
I put out the word that I was interested in such a system and received calls from many salespersons from many different companies, large and small. All threw the same pitch at me, as I had experienced in the past, which was not to their benefit. All except one, Deepa Khatri at Altheasuite. With Deepa it was different. When she called me I was not very open to discussions at all. She listened to what I had to say and asked me to give them a chance to prove that they were different. She showed me a demo of their system and took me though it at a pace and with a pitch that was easy to understand.
We agreed to set up a contract with them and started working with them to implement the system. I have been working on the system with them for just over a year. Unlike past experiences with past ERP producers, Althea allowed me the ability to “unpack” a module one at a time, once I had managed to customize it to suit our needs. I decided on using such a strategy in the implementation of the Altheasuite (“going live”) as it was the least disruptive way that I could bring in a system to a company that has never had one, and allow it to run side by side with the current ways we do things, until at each stage, I could switch them to using the Altheasuite modules only. This is providing to be a very successful strategy. (I believe that this answers your second question).
I currently have 257 different items in the Althea suite, from such a total of 56 are finished products each with BOMs (Bill of Materials) for the finished product and converted components used for such (a further 76 BOMs), with work instruction processes for each of them. During the period of working with Althea, I have found them very responsive and flexible in modifying their software to truly suit my needs. The team at Altheasuite and I have regular conference calls where I point out the changes that I would like to the system, in order to it to follow our true work flow and these changes are done in a matter of a day or two, which is an outstanding response time versus my past experiences with other providers. Within the first two months from introduction to the system, I was using the system to provide accurate costings of our products and as a tool in providing estimates for new products to be made.
Deepa and her team have listened to everything that I have requested, sought further information if needed to truly understand what I need, and responded very effectively in delivering such (I believe this answers your third question). Any delays in time taken in launching modules has never been down to Althea but always been due to delays on my side, as I am trying to implement this system on my own for Eeonyx to ultimately suit my staff here who have limited understanding and capabilities in any computer driven work, surprisingly, and 50% of them have English as a second language. Since I have introduced Althea into Eeonyx, I have managed to use the ERP System to save significant time with any kind of paperwork required in ensuring raw material availability, work instructions, costings and production monitoring. From the latter, I can assess the current production stages and see where the bottlenecks exist in the processes that I have inherited, and adjust them accordingly. Consequently, the use of Altheasuite has helped me not only save a lot of my time, but also refine production processes. From the assistance of Altheasuite, and other activity that I have done, I have managed to cut the production time taken for selected products from 3 weeks to 3 days. (I believe that this answers your first question).
As we handle hazardous materials, I have used the system as a means to maintain a check on where these HMs are in the factory at any given moment in time. I have shown this system to both Contra Costa County and West County Wastewater during their periodic inspections and they have been very impressed. I have also shown the system to external auditors for ISO 9001:2015 renewal certifications and yearly audits and they are also impressed with Altheasuite and how we are using it. During the latter audit, I showed the auditor the modifications that Althea has made for me to the suite that allow for the enforcement of our QMS.
During the process of implementation, I found that, due to the way that we make our products, we use “temporary reaction mixes”. Each requires their own BOMs and sets of instructions. Furthermore, we can have many different processes going on at the same time, in order to make one final product. This requires extensive “family trees” (nesting) of BOMs and multiple processes. In the initial set up of the items from such, it was clear that the software had some limitations in tracking the materials how we needed them to be tracked. This led to discrepancies in the usage and costing of the raw materials between the inputted BOMs in the BOM module and the “mini-BOMs” in the process module. This was explained to the team at Althea and they worked to provide multiple modifications to their system which allowed such to work as it should. Again, their response time to such was exceptionally good. (I believe this answers your fourth question)
Furthermore, as some of our reactions can take days to complete and some of the orders from our customers place bulk orders which require multiple reactions (due to limited batch sizes), the requirement for tracking of each is just as important. For example, a customer may place an order and ship a container of 617 rolls for treatment…this is one order. We treat 3 rolls per reaction. Every finished roll needs to be traceable down to the specific reaction. Through requested modifications to the work order system, and the addition of algorithms into the ERP system to allow for minimum and maximum work orders, and a number of other adjustments, all carried out by the team at Althea, I have managed to simplify the user interface of the system whereby the CEO can input a customer order into the system then with two mouse clicks can generate, say in this case, 200 work orders (reflecting the number of reactions required) which can then each be individually scanned with a bar code scanner when the reaction is carried out. This allows for the total replacement of hand written traveller sheets (as required in the past for traceability). With the Altheasuite I have managed to remove the need for operators to fill in paperwork almost completely – this was an improvement that I asked to be made with the Altheasuite, that they responded to and, I believe that this answers your fifth question.
I think that this covers everything. I apologize for the lengthy response but felt that I needed to provide context and true examples for you, as you were seeking information to help you make your decisions.
In summary, I am thoroughly impressed with the responsiveness of the team at Althea and, from experience, know that their willingness to work with me has help customize their ERP software to one which truly suits my needs. Therefore, I am happy to recommend them to other potential users.
COO/ VP R&D
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