Silver Forest Jewelers
Silver Forest jewelry has been handcrafted in the USA for more than 40 years. They design create and distribute their enchanting wearable art to more than 5,000 retailers.
Silver Forest has been using MISys with sage 300 since 2012. They rely on Advanced Purchasing, Advanced Production and MRP.
How did Silver Forest get its start?
My parents started the company as hippie crafters in the 70s. So they met at New Paltz college and moved up to Vermont and when they got to the first town, Brattleboro, and they decided okay we're here! They started doing craft shows basically.
What does it take to build and maintain a successful jewelry manufacturing business?
So we try to make to forecast. We don't have the staffing or the bandwidth to be doing a lot of expediting and building for order. So we'll run a pretty long forecast period, like a six-month forecast period, where we're buying raw materials. My sales plan and my forecast should match up really closely at the unit level. If we're executing we're coming in at like 95 to 105 percent of our plan. So we're basically building to the forecast schedule, completing that and moving on to the next one.
How do you plan and manage your process?
Every step of the way is carefully planned out and implemented each month. I'm running five discrete schedules. The first schedule is just raw materials. This is my demand for six months of raw materials, then MISys is going to tell us what we have on hand at raw and all the way step, and say this is what you're going to need for raw materials.
I'm going to give my subcontractors or my suppliers two months basically to get those raw materials to us. Then we're creating a schedule for all of our subcontractors that are taking those raw materials and they're plating them they're soldering them they're gluing them right and they're doing a few steps.
Then I'm going to create another schedule of work in process, schedule for what we do ourselves, which is all the painting all the final assembly and some other very special processes.
Since margins are so low and competition from countries like China is fierce, how does MISys help Silver Forest compete?
I find MISys to be incredibly accurate. That's the most important thing. I have used MISys in a way that fits my business and the cycles that I've done which has to be very efficient. So I move everything in monthly buckets. Whatever's not completed or initiated I'm able to throw away and start again. Because of the accuracy of MISys and because I find once it's set up properly, it's really easy to execute on. We burn all our old MOs, we create a whole new set of net requirements, and what's not completed in the month we run our fresh schedules again.
I can only do that with accuracy.
What are a couple things that you really like about MISys and how it helps you manage your business?
There's two things that I really like about MISys. I mean, there's many things but two of the things I like is the ability to export the master files to get out of Bill of Material and just kind of look at it the way I like to look at it in an Excel spreadsheet or to capture inventory value over a period of time and just continually do a routine that downloads the raw data. I find that really useful. Another thing I really like is what we call "Test Co". This ability to replicate our company and then to play in the sandbox and say what's going to happen if I do this to my schedule. Or what's going to happen to my capacity if I do this and to actually replicate my schedules in a sandbox but using the data that I had this morning. For me, that's great and I do that all the time. Test Co's really an excellent tool for management to decide if we're going to take a project on or how we're going to proceed with something.
With so many items in motion, could you talk about how you use MISys to keep everyone clear on what to build and how to build it?
I think when it comes out of design they call it a recipe. If it's not being done well it's called the laundry list. But ultimately it's supposed to become a bill of material... which defines every single item in that part. And for us, our earrings are wholesaling for less than ten dollars and they can have 30 different parts and we don't just sell one we sell a pair. So we got a pair with all those different parts and processes so it's really very important that we we know what we're building and how we're building it. And it's somewhat on autopilot every month with millions of items in stock over years of time. MISys provides a convenient repository to keep data stored and organized which provides a way to keep everyone, staff and vendors, on the same page.
Another thing that I find really helpful is at the item level being able have a spec sheet PDF attached but also an image attached. Sometimes a spec sheet is not going to give a visual cue that we need. To be able to go to the item and we can see what we're talking about and look at our whole configuration and say "hey those two things aren't matching up" and figure out we can quickly get to an issue. Versus having to pull all these old spec books and get the dust off of them. It's such a great tool. If I'm ever having a conversation with a vendor, I don't have to go to engineering and say, "can you pull me all this?". I can just pull it myself or I can just put it into a little folder and email it off. That's another part where I have all these pieces of data built into the system and if I want to pull it out to do something, I surely can send a vendor a bunch of PDFs that are sitting all there in a way that works for me.
How is the MISys Manufacturing integration with Sage 300?
The seamless integration with Sage 300 - as complex as this is, manufacturing is at the heart of what we do. But we're also selling to thousands and thousands of customers and I run financials every month. I have to have my invoicing. I have to have my SKU management. My UPCs. And so that integration with Sage 300 has been tremendous. And the fact that it's so seamlessly integrated, that once I get my month closed, and that happens the night of the final night of the month, and in about two or three days I can pick out my financials. So that's really remarkable.
In general, how does MISys help to keep your finances straight?
My inventory is really accurate. The value, not not just what I have - and what I have has to be accurate - but also the value of what I have could be squirrely, but that's also very accurate.