7 November 2023

Acquired by Serge Fresse in 2017, 4J Chaudronnerie specializes in the design and production of sheet metal and mechanical welding, including laser and plasma cutting and machining. The company recently integrated the TopSolid'Erp solution to enhance its production capabilities and better address its business challenges. Here's how it works.

4J Chaudronnerie: expertise and tailored solutions

Established in 1998 near Bourgoin-Jallieu, 4J Chaudronnerie designs and carries out mechanical welding work for a wide range of customers, including major players in the nuclear industry.

The company's success is built on its bespoke offerings –  which constitutes 90% of its production - and an unparalleled level of technical proficiency that sets it apart from competitors. 4J Chaudronnerie’s objective is to control the entire value chain, from laser cutting to machining, to deliver high-quality products promptly.

Additionally, they recently innovated by setting up a dedicated stainless steel facility, aligned with customer needs and ISO EN1090 standards. This new facility, in conjunction with the high level of qualification of their welders and boilermakers, is expected to lead to the company’s certification in 2023.

TopSolid'Erp: solutions for evolving needs

Originally, 4J Chaudronnerie was using a CAPM system. However, this system was no longer suited to its activity and was not favored by employees. The company decided to use another solution, just prior to the COVID crisis. According to Serge Fresse, the company's managing director, the decision to change was driven by “the lack of user-friendliness of the interface”, “its complexity” and “the absence of business functionalities”.

A comprehensive and user-friendly solution

4J Chaudronnerie established precise criteria – with a high-performance technical costing module being one of the crucial requirements. Then, the company compiled a shortlist of the most relevant ERP solutions. Ultimately, the TopSolid demonstration convinced the teams and made a difference due to its ease of use, speed and notably user-friendly interface.

"We envisioned the deployment of each solution and were quickly convinced that TopSolid was the most suitable tool for our needs."
Serge Fresse, manager of 4J Chaudronnerie

A challenging but effective deployment

Since January 2023, the teams have been using TopSolid'Erp version 5.16.014. The transition to the new software was exceptionally rapid. While some data from the previous system were recoverable, we chose to re-enter all orders from the old ERP into the new one to not struggle with the different philosophy and database structure. The whole company welcomed the fresh start enthusiastically. "The different teams adopted it immediately" asserts the company manager. "And yet, it's not easy to integrate a CAPM. It requires changing habits and operating methods, but everyone was delighted to have this new tool."

As Serge Fresse explains, TOPSOLID provided great support to the teams in becoming proficient with the solution: "TOPSOLID helped us a lot with the initial configuration. This enabled us to optimize the tools very rapidly. We were operational after just a few adjustments". The combination of theoretical training at TOPSOLID's site and hands-on sessions helped the teams quickly grasp the solution.

TopSolid'Erp: a solution addressing 4J Chaudronnerie's business challenges

4J Chaudronnerie successfully streamlined its business operations with TopSolid’Erp. Its functionalities facilitated the management of the entire commercial and upstream production aspects of the business. These areas were not previously covered by the company's ERP.

Customized features

This modular and technical ERP solution provides advanced business capabilities, especially in the Sheet Metal and Machining modules, enhancing product traceability. According to the manager of 4J Chaudronnerie, these functions make a big difference with their previous ERP system. Adaptability is another strength of the ERP software: "We can tailor TopSolid'Erp according to our needs, and it is quite straightforward. There is no need for hyper sophisticated development," he continues.

Managing production upstream

Another advantage is the ability to establish technical cost estimates before production. "When you create an order, you can already estimate your material requirements and plan ahead " explains Serge Fresse. Thanks to the Commerce module, the transition from order to supply is seamless. The Method department also benefits from the technical costing feature, significantly speeding up ranges and production orders.

Time and money savings

Despite the recent solution deployment, 4J Chaudronnerie’s teams already enjoy numerous benefits:

- Reduced maintenance costs: as TOPSOLID is both an integrator and developer, requests are processed more efficiently and cost-effectively.

- Time saving in data analysis: TopSolid'Erp’s reports on inventory management, business data, performance tracking and more enhance the productivity of 4J Chaudronnerie teams and save a considerable amount of time. Initially, employees managed these tasks using Excel. "We've become much more rigorous in managing inventory, so we're nearly certain to increase productivity in this area," says the company's managing director.

Serge Fresse expresses deep satisfaction with TOPSOLID's support and the initial improvements brought about by the solution. He hopes to eventually achieve the equivalent of a full-time methods technician position thanks to the software – because it is a quite expensive budget for a small entity like 4J Chaudronnerie.

We've had excellent follow-ups and high-quality sales support, and we're already looking ahead to what's next. I couldn't imagine going back. We've found the right tool for the job.
Serge Fresse, manager of 4J Chaudronnerie

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