Odoo’s platform laid the foundation for ICS — an industrial manufacturing company — to seamlessly integrate financial management tools into their ETO and MTO workflows.
InLine Cleaning Systems (ICS)
Inline Cleaning Systems is a manufacturer of parts washers that has been in business for over 40 years. It is a privately owned company that specializes in manufacturing conveyor or pass through washers and cleaning systems that are built to the unique specifications of each customer. ICS is part of a family of industrial manufacturing brands that includes EIS Machine & Automation and Rando Machines. ICS and its family of brands specialize in custom built machinery that is either completely customized or highly customized for the following industries:
Disjointed accounting and payroll systems as well as having inefficient time clocking creates complexity for tracking and managing labor costs.
Build a custom clocking application that manages employee billable time for payroll with project mapping for client invoicing.
Limited integration between manufacturing and the BOM results in manual calculation for updates to material costs and inventory with design changes.
Create a custom job report to automatically generate the total cost of an ETO project that updates costs and inventory in real time with design changes.
"One of the things from our engagement with Novobi that has become apparent in terms of its value is the importance of having a good CPA on the development team. That's been invaluable for us especially as we've integrated payroll and engineering-to-order in terms of the accounting moves."
- Andy Wilcox | President ICS
ICS specializes in industrial washers that are built to the specifications of each commercial customer. Most of the challenges they have faced in their processes are due to a disjointed, 20+ year-old legacy system.
Payroll & Accounting
Integrate Time Tracking with Manufacturing Workflows for Labor Costing and Payroll
With a legacy system that dated back more than 20 years, many of the processes for tracking, managing, and calculating labor costs required manual entry and analysis. Not only is a digital solution required for employees to log their time on the plant floor, a centralized system is also necessary to translate work logs to specific jobs for invoicing clients as well as to a payroll system for employee compensation. Ideally, this would need to be integrated in a manner that performs these tasks automatically.
ICS' dated system required manual billable time entry, manual mapping to specific client jobs, and manual payroll processes. This resulted in increased potential for error but also required a great deal of effort, especially with complex jobs that spanned months of production.
A Custom Job Report to Compute the Total Cost of an ETO Project
With limited integration between ICS' CAD software SOLIDWORKS and their manufacturing systems, it was difficult to gauge the material costs of specific projects both in the quotation phase and during the early phases of production. For quotations, manual analysis of prior jobs was required to determine sales quotes based on similar jobs. These quotes translated to the BOM for a project. As was the case with many ICS customers, frequent updates to the BOM for a specific project resulted in changes to the material costs which had to be manually recalculated for each design change. In addition, these BOM updates also needed to be recorded in inventory.
As a result, calculating material, labor, and overhead in costing reports was tedious, time consuming, and subject to error.
"It's very important to have a CPA involved, and Novobi was able to successfully make a lot of those changes both in the out-of-the-box Odoo as well as in some of the apps they developed."
- Andy Wilcox | President ICS
- Andy Wilcox | President ICS
The Novobi Solution
Novobi was tasked with building a modern, powerful enterprise software platform to integrate engineer-to-order processes with payroll, accounting, and other financial functions. By combining software with cloud-based technology and data analytics, they created an innovative, efficient, and most importantly scalable solution for the client.
Novobi built upon the open source framework of Odoo, an enterprise software platform that can be expanded with custom feature development aligned to the unique needs of the client. Development encompassed several key features for a powerful, single solution.
Custom Time Tracking with Project Mapping and Automatic Payroll
Novobi built and implemented a custom clock in/out attendance application that suited the work centers set up on ICS' plant floors. With a seamless integration to payroll and accounting, logged work time could be mapped to specific projects for client invoicing and processed for payroll.
Integration with Novobi's custom built payroll and accounting application supports complex US payroll requirements and has several improvements to UI, reports, and functions for manufacturing companies. Using Novobi's solution also lowers the total cost of ownership for the system by reducing dependency on third party application.
Automatic Material Costing Reports
With a streamlined ability to import SOLIDWORKS designs into the Odoo system and advanced traceability through the manufacturing process, Novobi improved ICS' ability to track, manage, and report material costing during projects. In addition, this integration improved the quotation process making it easier to view historical designs as references for new job cost reports.
Novobi's improvements to BOM management and job costing included automatic recalculation of material costs in real time with uploaded design changes. This also updated inventory requirements for specific projects.
"When we started this project, the goal was to allow ICS to manage everything in Odoo: from a custom integration with SOLIDWORKS to configuring their CRM and running their manufacturing and financial tools. We wanted to bring everything together in one place."
The Novobi Approach
Novobi follows a strict implementation schedule following CMMI and Scrum frameworks with weekly sprints, ensuring that clients can expect demos and workable solutions weekly or biweekly. Novobi also follows best practices in configuration and customization to ensure the system functions correctly and protects client's intellectual property. This approach makes it easier and more cost-effective to upgrade in the future.
First, Novobi established the main goals of the client for a new system based on the shortfalls of their legacy system. After performing a GAP analysis to determine what out-of-box Odoo functions would satisfy the needs of the client, Novobi determined necessary customizations that would improve the end system and provide the client with their exact needs.
With a high-level solution plan in place and approved by the client, Novobi proceeded with preparing a timeline, detailed user stories, and mock-ups to identify the main and supporting features to ensure a seamless user experience.
Implementation included migration of legacy data, centralization of processes into a new Odoo system, and build out of custom modules. The process was structured with development sprints tracked and managed through JIRA with weekly updates and feedback sessions.
The system underwent extensive testing prior to launch. Following initial internal testing, the product owner reviewed the system to confirm the design and ensure that the system worked as expected. After final approval, the system was launched and closely monitored for an additional month to ensure any issues could be addressed immediately.
Novobi provided extensive user training to ensure the client was comfortable and confident on the new system. This included training on Odoo itself as well as on the portions Novobi customized such as payroll. Training was offered via Zoom, written documentation, and video content from Odoo for supporting modules.
Novobi has provided ongoing maintenance to the system to ensure 99.9% uptime with minimal timeouts or disruption of service. Novobi also provides support and assistance to the client for any troubleshooting issues as well as for upgrades that the system may need to scale as their business continues to grow.
Novobi's Methodology & Certifications
Novobi's approach included migration of legacy data for the client and comprehensive training both before and after go-live of the new system. The implementation strategy utilized a standard SCRUM methodology to keep the process paced and transparent for the client with risk mitigation. A go-live checklist was created and delivered to ensure that all parts of the implementation process and project scope were addressed prior to or concurrently with roll out.
For accurate labor costing and invoicing
With payroll integrated into the ETO workflow, logged employee time can be mapped to specific projects and billed to the client. In addition, complicated tax calculation and running payroll is automated.
Custom Timeclock Tool
For digital clock in/out on the plant floor
A custom built attendance application allows employees to log time by clocking in and out on plant floor work stations as opposed to manually tracking job hours.
Accurate Materials Costing
For quotations and manufacturing orders
With improvements to the BOM and a custom job report, material costs for quotations and in-progress designs are automatically generated and updated in real time with imported design changes.