Sim-Tex Uses BIO for Microsoft Dynamics Consolidations and FRx Replacement

Sim-Tex is an industry leading wholesaler of pipes and tubing for the oil and gas industry around the globe.  Sim-Tex also provides related services to the industry including milling, heat treatment, hydrostatic testing, and threading.

The Problem

The Sim-Tex executive management teams are leaders in the industry.  Although they had a good understanding on their internal operations, they wanted data-backed analyses for themselves and role based insight for their middle managers.

For themselves the executives wanted:

  • Insight into where they stood in comparison to the industry and their competitors.

For middle management they wanted:

  • Employees to be able to get involved in answering their own questions.

Sim-Tex did an exhaustive evaluation of BI tools before selecting BIO from BIO Analytics Corp. The CFO came from a mega-multinational and was used to “big” analytics tools.  He wanted comparable flexibility. Sim-Tex narrowed down the short list of BI solutions to SAP and BIO.  BIO offered them the flexibility they required to integrate with other systems.  Other key factors in their selection included the depth and breadth of BIO’s out-of-the-box Dynamics connector and its time and cost to value.

Sim-Tex also recognized the value the BIO Analytics team provided with their situational fluency experience and knowledge beyond their own product solution.   They liked that BIO’s included viewer was designed with both analysts and non-technical users in mind and they liked that BIO could be used with other viewers as well.  With guidance from BIO Analytics Corp., they extended their visualization options system with several copies of Tableau for advanced visual analytics.

The Solution

Sim-Tex implemented a total solution that includes Microsoft Dynamics SL, BIO, Tableau, and JAMS, a manufacturing module for product bills of material, materials requirements planning (MRP), and capacity planning.  They use the system to consolidate multiple companies, some of which are not pipe companies, but property companies.  Because of the nature of Sim-Tex’s business, the end system required lots of customizations.  For example, Sim-Tex buys pipe in tons, they manufacture in joints, and they sell in feet.  BIO consultant John DiMattia customized the data cubes to calculate the values directly in the cubes, enabling users to work with the data without having to make these conversions.

BIO is now the FRx replacement for monthly financial reporting and is used for dashboards for executives and front-line managers and workers.  With the new system, sales reps have a better understanding of what they can sell next month and the inventory manager can determine on-hand value as well as exactly what is needed to meet next month’s sales.   The system is used by the MRP manager to create a timeline view.  Sim-Tex’s products are often sold very far into the future for large construction projects and the MRP functions enable the accurate production of blanket orders and sales order for these projects.  And the system is also used by product managers to track expected builds and materials requisitions.

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The Result

The system has had a huge impact on organizational effectiveness.  The direct and specific impact where BIO provides value are:

  1. Enabling the MRP group to move to a just-in-time manufacturing model in lieu of stockpiling inventory, improving profitability
  2. Providing more precise capacity planning, allowing Sim-Tex to take advantage of “the next big thing” without interrupting daily operations
  3. Giving sales managers a true picture of what is going on, which enables them to deliver faster thereby improving forecasting, eliminating over-production, and reducing waste

“BIO is exactly what we needed and the results are exactly what we were hoping for.  Even better,” remarked Sim-Tex Director of Information Technology, Jerry Clarke.

What’s Next?

Jerry says that there is plenty more to come using BIO and the new system.  For one, Sim-Tex has plenty more to explore in their data—comparing actual to planned performance for number of joints capacity, levels of reject and rework, and yield loss.  Tracking of advance selling of items “on the boat” will be moved from Excel spreadsheets to the new system to improve reliability.  Tablets have recently been issued to all employees and they will be able to access the BIO data through Tableau.  And using tablets to access the system will ultimately enable Sim-Tex to stop printing paper reports.  “It will all be right there for users to access from wherever they are,” says Clarke.  “BIO and this system have been really great for Sim-Tex and we’re expecting it to take us even further in the future.”