Find out how AIT Business Services partnered with Collagen Matrix, a biomedical device manufacturer based in New Jersey, to implement new SureShip software improving their shipping processes, while also meeting the compliance standards required by the FDA. The software allows for end-to-end visibility and seamless integration into Infor CloudSuite. From improved shipping and tracking to automated reporting, the results of this partnership speak for themselves.
Overview: About Collagen Matrix
Collagen Matrix, Inc. is a developer and manufacturer of collagen-based medical products used for tissue, bone repair, and regeneration. The biomedical device manufacturer has been validated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) company. The FDA requires biomedical device manufacturers to keep detailed records throughout the manufacturing and distribution process. Therefore, it’s essential for Collagen Matrix to track product shipments by lot number in order to meet these requirements.
The Problem: Lack of Visibility and Increased Shipping Labor
Three years after Collagen Matrix implemented Infor CloudSuite Industrial (SyteLine) as its ERP solution, the company still tracked customer shipments manually because of Infor’s lack of direct integration to third-party shipping applications like FedEx and UPS.
During busy periods, manual tracking created a significant strain on internal resources due to the following inefficiencies:
Customer service lacked visibility of tracking information and were unable to easily communicate with customers about orders.
The accounting team was frustrated because they didn’t have the freight cost information necessary for billing.
The shipping team needed to do a lot of manual work to organize and manage outbound shipments.
Last year, leaders from Collagen Matrix attended the Syteline User Network (SUN) Annual Conference to seek out a seamless alternative to this cumbersome process. In attendance were Marc Gelefsky, Manager of IT and Amria Mohamed, Business Analyst and ERP Supervisor. Once Gelefsky and Mohamed saw a demo of AIT’s SureShip, they were immediately drawn in by SureShip’s single-point interface for integrating CSI/Syteline directly with UPS, FedEx, and USPS. They were sure that this would be the right solution for them.
The Implementation Process: AIT Supports Team with Personalized Features, Weekly Calls, and Onsite Training
After the conference, Collagen Matrix was excited to begin the implementation process. It took about six months for the new SureShip software to go-live from start to finish. Development was completed and pilot servers were set up in preparation for the launch during this time. In her role as subject matter expert of Collagen Matrix’s ERP system, Mohamed’s charter included documenting and extensively testing and validating SureShip procedures in accordance with regulatory compliance. She also analyzed how the changes would affect departments throughout the company including finance and customer service.
Very few aspects of SureShip needed to be personalized. To meet FDA compliance, the following features were added:
The addition of traceability of specific data that is maintained through audit logging and electronic signatures. This also included a function to generate this information for regulatory auditors who may request records. It runs native within the CSI/Syteline application, so it’s easy to track any deviations to the process.
The personalization also included allowing the system to pick only the lot numbers that apply to the current item and creating reports to present the information in an easy-to-read format that customers and employees would recognize (so that they didn’t have to retrain from scratch).
AIT’s Director of Business Development Lesley Ransley and Application Developer Edd Fletcher conducted weekly calls with Mohamed. At times, Fletcher went on site to provide productive training sessions in concert with Mohamed, who filled in with custom functionality to explain what it does, where it could go wrong, and what to do if error messages popped up. “Our team was thrilled to try it because it appeared to be capable of whatever they wanted. They were frustrated after dealing with so many problems with the manual system,” Mohamed said.
The team at AIT made themselves available for weekly calls, helping Collagen Matrix identify potential roadblocks and determine what decisions needed to be made. Gelefsky and Mohamed agree that implementing SureShip was the best deployment either of them have experienced.
“AIT was very receptive to our ideas. The back and forth brainstorming was very helpful in setting up the system.”
-Amria Mohamed, Business Analyst and ERP Supervisor, Collagen Matrix
As with any new system, the first few weeks of an implementation go-live can create dynamic changes. “AIT’s response time was phenomenal – before the end of the day. Our previous partner would have taken weeks,” says Mohamed. “Lesley and Edd highly prioritized us. Once we were further along, it was easier to manage issues ourselves.”
The Results: Improved Productivity and Streamlined Shipping Processes
Using the SureShip software, Collagen Matrix can pre-pick lots ahead of time and save them in a suspended state until they are ready to ship. The company’s old system did not allow for this functionality. If an order was picked and processed on Monday, it would show up as ready to invoice, even though the order didn’t ship yet. This also meant that on lighter days, team members couldn’t pre-pick lots in order to disperse the workload throughout the week. Allowing the shipping team to pre-pick inventory on lighter days has made a significant improvement in managing labor, which has helped reduce the overwhelming workload for the team. SureShip has also eliminated the labor involved in generating reports and inquiries from invoicing. Previously, responding to these requests could take 30 to 60 minutes each.
Mohamed said SureShip’s tracking feature has made it easy to link a tracking number back to an order. The customer service team can now auto-notify customers with packing slip and order information. Previously, the company had to manually send the information in an email to the customer and ensure it was accurate. SureShip also provides real-time information on the status of a shipment, which reduces the amount of back and forth communication required to complete a transaction. When there is a shipping error, it's straightforward to find the point of failure. The old system left the staff without a clear way to investigate problems and find solutions in an efficient manner.
Overall, SureShip has increased productivity and improved the credibility of an ERP system that employees had lost confidence in over the years. The shipping functions are now in one, easy-to-manage system. These improvements have provided great visibility and simplified the shipping and tracking process for Collagen Matrix employees, customers, and shippers alike. Gelefsky and Mohamed are very pleased with SureShip as a product and AIT as a partner. “They are extremely responsive as a company and take a genuine interest in our business and satisfaction. They really worked hard to please us and never dropped the ball.”