Berlin Packaging views ERP system as a competitive advantage

July 23, 2012

Rigid plastics, glass and metal packaging processor Berlin Packaging first deployed its PeopleSoft Enterprise business software in 2001.

"At the time, we were a $160 million company," Cherie Kizer, chief information officer of Berlin Packaging, told PlasticsToday. "Andrew Berlin (Chairman and CEO) challenged the selection committee not to focus on an ERP system for a $160 million company, but to focus on selecting one that would still support Berlin's business when we were a $1 billion company, including the possibility of manufacturing operations. That challenge is what propelled us toward a tier 1 ERP system."

Since then, the system has helped the business go from $160 million in annual revenue to more than $700 million in 2012.

The PeopleSoft Enterprise system equips Berlin Packaging with the ability to manage complex inventory stocking programs that eliminate customer carrying costs and overhead expenses by guaranteeing an adequate just-in-time supply of finished packages. 

Built-in forecasting algorithms allow company personnel to proactively monitor and manage inventory flow to ensure continued 99+% on-time delivery performance, which Berlin has maintained every month for 96 months in a row as of May 2012, the company stated.

Kizer said some of the ways the system helped propel the company's growth are the reporting and analytics that are available in the Fortitude system, which have helped improved overall management decision making.

Because the system has a fully integrated database of customer, prospect, and contact information, the company has been able to improve the effectiveness of its marketing efforts to better reach targeted prospects and to follow up on sales leads, Kizer said.

In addition, the functionality of the system has allowed the company to completely integrate the business functions of its last three acquisitions onto its existing systems. This allows the combined entities to work effectively and efficiently and minimizes the time and resources necessary for managing the acquisitions.

Berlin Packaging recently underwent a major upgrade to its PeopleSoft Enterprise software.

The upgrade to the company's customized PeopleSoft deployment is the latest in a series of technology enhancements that have earned Berlin Packaging two innovation awards from CIO Magazine since the system was first deployed. These include a 2006 award for turning a system upgrade into a complete business improvement project that fully involved the company's end users, plus a 2007 award for a contact sync program that linked the company's PeopleSoft system to end users' Outlook and Blackberry accounts.

"One system controls our business, end to end," Kizer said. "There is a single system of record for all transactions, a single customer master, a single product database.  We can provide consistent service and quick response because everyone, from the salesperson in the field to the accounting team in the corporate office, is working from exactly the same set of information."

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