It’s like your typical romantic comedy movie: Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl. Replace the boy and girl in the scenario with manufacturers and suppliers, and you’ll witness the same storyline play out every day across the supply chain. Relationships once marred by constant pushing and pulling have warmed into long-term, collaborative associations.

Of course the love story can only happen if companies integrate their business operations in ways that streamline processes and improve communication for everyone involved. Two U.S. manufacturers have done just that—and are reaping the benefits of stronger, more profitable relationships and better decision-making capabilities.

Shortly after launching their wildly successful WestCoast IPA, Green Flash Brewing Company’s founders drew up a plan to tap into the growing taste for artisan beers in the U.S. by expanding their product range and distribution network. But first, they needed a reliable way to analyze their supplier relationships, identify their best partners—and dump the rest. 

Electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider Firstronic understands that its success relies on integration with many component suppliers. Amidst a flurry of new project launches, Firstronic knew that its infrastructure and information system capabilities might not be adequate to support aggressive growth. The company set out to enhance its proprietary management automation and MRP tools with scalable yet budget-friendly ERP software.

Switching to a cloud-based ERP solution from Plex has helped both manufacturers build better relationships with suppliers—without all the drama of implementing costly on-premise solutions.

Sometimes, it’s about not ruining a good thing. Shortly after going live on Plex, Green Flash planned to switch malt vendors to what appeared to be a lower-cost supplier. But when the brewery’s team dug deeper, they discovered that the less-expensive supplier was also lower on yields. “We were able to see that our current provider was far more efficient,” explains Green Flash’s CFO Steve Goodger.

Other times, it’s knowing how to be there for customers when it matters most. Firstronic, for example, exceeded the time-to-market requirements of its first new customer by beginning production in less than four months—two months sooner than the client’s other largest supplier. And Firstronic was the only supplier that could commit to launching another customer’s new product within an eight-week deadline.