Since 1958 VMP has manufactured a variety of parts for multiple industries. Throughout the decades there have been several partners, multiple locations and even a subtle name change, but the “VMP Inc. inserts for industry” on the front of their Valencia, Ca 25,000 sq.ft. manufacturing facility best sums thing up. “People ask what I make,” laughs Robert (Bob) Schreiner Jr. “I used to try and explain, but now I just tell them funny looking nuts and bolts.”
Bob Sr. went to work for V&P in 1958 as a machinist, but in 1960 they incorporated as VMP and took on a 3rd partner. “By 1967 the last of the partners was ready to retire and dad and the secretary purchased the company in 1968,” tells VMP vice president/general manager Bob Jr. “My Brother Steve joined us in 1980 and my sister Sue came on board in 81. Dad bought out his partner in 1982 and it has been family ever since. Things have changed over the years for sure. Dad passed away in 1991, we moved into this building in 1996, the parts we make now are different from what was made in the 60’s. We’ve grown and changed with the world around us and the last few years I’ve dropped the junior and just go by Bob now.”
Early on the company was known for their electrical terminals, but over the years their product line has evolved. “We don’t make many terminals anymore,” explains Bob. “Now, it is mostly inserts for rotational molding and plastic injection molding. If you ever rode a dirt bike, or motorcycle, sat in a jacuzzi you’ve seen our parts. We make the little metal insert that they mold into the plastic that allows you to attach it to something with screws. We work with aftermarket and OEM suppliers, our parts are everywhere, but the general public never sees them.” Twenty plus machines pump out parts seven days a week mostly made from brass, aluminum and stainless.
“VMP can produce 500 parts a minute when they need to and have 100 million parts in inventory on any given day. For decades, keeping track of everything was a chore at best. “We’ve been a user of Henning Software for 21 years now,” details Bob. “In fact, I know the exact month we started with them, January 2000.” Y2K turned out to be just a blip for most, but companies across the world like VMP took no chances. The implementation of more sophisticated systems to ensure the new century did not bring doom and destruction seems like an old wives’ tale now, but back then, no one knew for sure what would happen. “We chose Henning because it was a system designed for manufacturing,” details Bob. “I couldn’t afford to take a chance on generic software that was adapted for this industry and the Henning’s Visual EstiTrack and Visual Books fit the bill. A lot of thought went into the features of these systems even back then. Features like traceability, tracking, travelers, and raw inventory in/out caught our attention. For example, I get 1000 lbs. of material in and add in into the Visual EstiTrack system. All the information is there. I can see if the material was previously ordered, if not I can add it into the system at that time. I can see pounds, number of bars, even how many parts I can make with the 1000-pound order quantity I just placed. I can define the unit of measure by which I wish to measure my inventory. As we make parts, the inventory is back-flushed out of the system. Material usages and lot tracking is all linked to our shop order numbers. Once I enter something into EstiTrack it goes to Steve to add into Visual Books, the accounting part of the system.”
Henning Software’s Visual EstiTrack Inventory Management system tracks raw material and finished goods inventory at the lot level. When raw material is purchased and received, raw material heat numbers and certification documents are scanned and attached to incoming raw material inventory lots. When a customer requires raw material certifications with their shipments, Visual EstiTrack tracks the raw material lots issued to shop orders. With this level of traceability, it is easy for users to track which raw material heats were used on shop orders. Then when required, the system will automatically print out associated material certification documents linked to produced finished good lots when finished good lots are shipped via EstiTrack’s document management system.
Visual Books is the name of Henning Software’s fully integrated Accounting System. Steve, VMP’s senior financial officer, uses Visual Books in his daily routine. “Henning Software Rocks,” describes Steve. “I know that isn’t very specific, but it does.” When pressed for a better answer “user friendly” and “intuitive” topped the descriptions. “We are nowhere near being power users,” continues Steve. “We probably just scratch the surface of the capabilities, but for us it just works and does exactly what we need it to. We rely on it for AR, AP as well as the estimating, inventory control and shop management features. We do not cut payroll checks from Visual Books, but you can. We track employee hours but then use an outside payroll service. Payroll is the only module we do not use.”
Visual EstiTrack’s Touch Scheduling Board has yet to be implemented at VMP, but Richard Henning, president of Henning Software thinks it is a great tool for companies like VMP who run a ton of parts on a shop full of machines. “The intuitive drag-and-drop touch screen interface of the Scheduling Board enables users to schedule and monitor shop order operations, represented as cards, within and between work centers represented as swim-columns,” describes Richard Henning. “The Touch Scheduling Board™ is designed to emulate and replace the magnetic scheduling boards often found in shops. This scheduling tool is designed to be deployed on large touch-screen monitors on the shop floor and is fully integrated into Visual EstiTrack™ ERP. The Scheduling Board makes it easier for shop floor personnel to prioritize operations, view/set statuses, move operations from one work center to another and allow employees to clock in and out of shop order operations from the Scheduling Board.”
Henning Software holds annual user conferences to present enhancements they made to their product line and to get constructive feedback and recommendations from their customers. “VMP has attended and participated in many of our user conferences over the past 21 years,” says Rich Henning. By attending user conferences, Bob and his team have provided invaluable feedback and suggestions thus helping improve Visual EstiTrack’s capabilities. “Bob is more than a customer, he is a friend. Our 21-year relationship with VMP is a true partnership,” says Rich Henning. “We deeply appreciate our long-term and mutually rewarding relationship with VMP and look forward to working together for many years to come.”