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Manufacturing

How a market leader is gearing up with Exact Synergy and Exact RPA

When Cold Chain Technologies switched to using Epicor as its ERP, it needed a solution to enable it to continue using Exact Synergy. Through GLM Systems, they ended up with Exact RPA, which fully integrates Synergy into their new ERP. Now, its employees benefit from a seamless process management experience with dynamic, automated workflows. We spoke with Shawn Gamble, Senior ERP Systems Analyst & Integration Specialist at Cold Chain Technologies, about what this integration has meant for his company.

Keeping pace with the business

Cold Chain Technologies started out in 1967 as a food packaging company in the Boston area, providing cooling solutions for transporting fresh lobsters to the market. Today, it has grown into one of the world’s most technologically advanced suppliers of cooling products for the biosciences industry.

“Around here, we often joke that ‘anyone can put water in a bag, freeze it and sell it,’” says Shawn Gamble, Senior ERP Systems Analyst & Integration Specialist at Cold Chain Technologies. “What sets us apart is the in-house research we conduct. We certify a lot of our products for the biosciences industry, which means they are guaranteed to stay within very specific cooling ranges.”

Shawn has been working at Cold Chain Technologies for the past seven years. During that period, he has witnessed the company’s continual growth. As its business expanded, Cold Chain Technologies began looking for a new ERP that better suited its needs. “We were at the point where we were ready to move to a new ERP system,” says Shawn. “We ended up going with Epicor after testing various other solutions.”

Along with the new ERP, Cold Chain Technologies wanted to continue using Exact Synergy, which has long been a trusted tool within the company. “There are three things that Synergy does really well for us,” says Shawn. “Those are: document management, workflows and association of all the different entities in our databases.” To continue benefiting from these features, Cold Chain Technologies would need to integrate Synergy into Epicor.

“Being able to integrate Synergy into our new ERP was a huge benefit for us."

Bridging the gap

The challenge facing Shawn and his team would be how to make the integration a success. Bridging the gap between Epicor and Synergy would be a major business benefit. It would enable the company to keep using its trusted process management system, Synergy. This would save time and money, because there would be no need to retrain employees on using a new system. Plus, the company could continue using a product it already owned instead of having to license new products to perform the same tasks.

Fortunately, Shawn happens to be one of the foremost experts on Synergy in the United States. From 2009 until 2011, he was even president of the nationwide Synergy user group. Despite his impressive credentials, Shawn describes his job as “making Synergy work for the company.” And this is an important task, because, according to Shawn, “We use Synergy throughout all areas of our company. My role is to keep it up and running and keep it changing as our business changes.”

As an experienced integrations specialist, Shawn knew that there would be some “gaps to fill” when integrating Synergy into Epicor. “With any software, there will be gaps,” he says. “How well a company works with third parties and other software providers is essential.”

Shawn had also worked extensively with GLM Systems, the developer of Exact RPA, on numerous integration projects in the past. He knew that Exact RPA would be an ideal solution for integrating Synergy into Epicor.

“Exact RPA made the integration possible,” says Shawn. “Being able to integrate Synergy into our new ERP was a huge benefit for us. And luckily, Exact RPA came out at just the right time. It completely matched our timeline for launching our new ERP.”

Reaping the benefits

Shawn says that, thanks to Exact RPA, Cold Chain Technologies now benefits from using Synergy alongside its new ERP. In terms of workflow management, Shawn says that Synergy gives his company the flexibility to design dynamic, automated workflows, thanks to a special feature known as the “rules engine.” This allows Shawn and his team to develop sophisticated rules to automatically assign tasks based on predefined conditions.

Shawn says, “My customers within the company are always asking, ‘Can’t it this do this? Can’t it do that?’ The rules engine lets me give users what they want. They don’t care how it works. All they know is that it does work.”

Design and automate workflows

“The rules engine lets you be really imaginative with how you design workflows,” says Shawn. “We’re using it to automate workflows in virtually all areas of our company.” Exact RPA also keeps workflow management associations in place whenever new items are created in the ERP. When a document is revised in Epicor, Exact RPA allows for it to be automatically updated in Synergy too.

“There used to be master data and slave data. The cool thing is that now, at the field level, you can specify which item is a master or slave,” explains Shawn. “An item in Epicor may be the master to begin with, but a revision that you make in Synergy can be specified as the master, so that the information in Epicor automatically updates.”

Dynamic process management solution

At the end of the day, Shawn knows that his users expect their process management software to work and to help them do their jobs more easily. “Using Exact RPA with Synergy means that I don’t have to tell my users ‘no’ when they ask for something,” he says. This is exactly the dynamic process management solution that Cold Chain Technologies needs as it continues its growth.

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