Cloud manufacturing ERP solution developed by Atlas Solutions
Fulcrum is a cloud-based ERP, MRP, and MES solution developed by Atlas Solutions for small to mid-sized manufacturers. This solution improves efficiency through automated data collection and workflow optimization.
The manufacturing industry is full of out-dated, non-customizable systems. Fulcrum is an innovative platform that brings a breath of fresh air to the industry. Don’t settle for software that won’t fit your processes and will require you to enter data manually in spreadsheets outside the system.
As the manufacturing world changes and new generations enter the workforce, you need the right tools that will help your business take the next step. Fulcrum is designed for industry leaders that realize businesses need to adapt to stay ahead of their competition.
Frustrated with the ERP/MRP/MES landscape? Fulcrum takes a different approach to solving your manufacturing needs.
Fulcrum is designed for job shops, OEMs, and made-to-order manufacturers working in an ever-changing, dynamic environment. It’s for those businesses who wants to grow but are restricted by the availability of labor in the market.
There are upfront costs starting at $20,000 for configuration and implementation, and monthly licensing fees for cloud-hosting, updates, support, etc. This solution supports unlimited users.
Our end goal for implementing Fulcrum at our company is to help enable rapid, scalable growth. More product out the door, faster and easier than before. We expect we will see that in the future, but because we’re only a few months into what we believe will be a multi-year journey, we’re not yet able to conclude whether this was made possible with Fulcrum.
In the meantime, the process of preparing our data for entry into Fulcrum immediately gave us better quality BOMs. The flow-on effects from that mean better purchasing and inventory management. We also have greater visibility around what the team are completing each day and the real cost of manufacture.
However, the key thing we’re still waiting to see the results from is the Scheduler. Once our production team members start to trust the Scheduler and work on what it asks them to work on, we believe that is when we will start to see efficiencies previously not imagined possible.
I’ll update this review in 6 months with further details around the benefits we are seeing at that point in time. Keep an eye out for it sometime in mid-2022.
We have been implementing and using Fulcrum at our manufacturing firm in New Zealand since December 2020. Our company has a headcount of 25, half spread across sales, marketing, engineering and admin, and the remainder as production team members working on the shop floor. We’ve doubled our headcount in the last 12 months, and are looking for tools to help us scale more rapidly. We believe that looking back in 5 years from now, Fulcrum may well be the tool that had the biggest effect on our growth.
The launch team that we were paired with from day one of our implementation were instrumental in our successful launch. We had weekly video calls with them to help us understand the basics, they answered our myriad of questions and they helped us with preparing the data we needed to get Fulcrum live, but it’s also fair to say the implementation did take us a lot longer than first anticipated. A lot of these delays came down to the data set that we had. Our BOM’s were lacking clarity, and the process of getting the data into Fulcrum was not very streamlined. More details about this are in the section below.
We rolled out a staged launch of Fulcrum in our business, with key components being switched over from the outgoing systems over the course of around 6 months. First Inventory management, then Jobs, and then lastly the Job Tracking component that is utilised on the shop floor by our production team members. We also had to complete a full stocktake on the day Job Tracking went live, to ensure the system had all the right information for scheduling.
We are still getting our team completely up and running on Fulcrum’s automated schedule, but once we do, we believe that the superhuman knowledge of the Scheduler understanding every product, sub-component, machine, operation, staff member, inventory level, lead time and many more data points will allow us to scale our manufacturing at a rate not possible via anything else we’ve seen in the market.
We have a good relationship with the key staff at Fulcrum. From their implementation team, right through to their CEO. This is because their company is young, the product is still maturing, and they are experiencing the same growing pains that we are - and so with that, we have a lot of communication with them regarding the product, and the resolution of the problems or questions that we raise.
We believe the core of the product is sound. The Scheduler is the magic sauce, and it works. But the user experience within the product from onboarding right through to day-to-day usage of the system by our team has room for improvement. It is also accurate to say that they are improving it. The product has been refined incrementally over the 10 months we have been using it and we hear that the pace of improvement will only increase into the future as they scale up their engineering team.
Regarding the setup process. We have less than 2000 unique item numbers in our company, spread across 10 or so core products. Unfortunately, our previous inventory system kept these as flat BOM’s, so adding the data to tree those products for Fulcrum to understand took us a lot of time. Being based in New Zealand also didn’t help, as we needed a US-based Fulcrum team member to upload our data set each time we had another version to test. Due to the timezone differences, this was usually just a once per day operation whereas if the upload was possible via a user-facing page, we believe we could have been testing uploads multiple times per day. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fulcrum launch their own upload tool in the future just to take that load off their launch teams.
There are a lot of other unique “Fulcrum characteristics” in the platform, that we’re not used to experiencing in other more mature SAAS platforms, but thankfully these are decreasing weekly, and we look forward to the system eventually being simple, clear and robust enough for all our staff to understand and use without too much oversight.
Finally, the lack of quality user documentation due to the rapidly evolving platform also hindered our onboarding timeline as most information was learnt during our weekly meeting. While the meetings were good and I understand the reason behind the lack of docs so far, I was pleased to recently hear that user documentation is high on their priority list.
I thought we were going to be too custom and complex to fit Fulcrum, but I was blown away with what their team was able to do.
Fulcrum took our scheduling process that used to take our team three hours a day, and now only takes one person 20-30 minutes.
My husband and I were each working 60 hours a week, and didn’t have the time we wanted to spend with our kids. Now, we’re only working 30 hours and our revenue continues to increase. I didn’t think it was possible!