FX Airguns – global market leader with the help of Monitor ERP
FX Airguns is no ordinary air rifle manufacturer. Its products are high-end, and target customers with high demands on quality. The same high demands are directed back to the ERP system used to control production. CTO Johan Axelsson tells us about the company’s journey together with Monitor, and how they have streamlined their manufacturing to become the global market leader.
The product range stretches from regular air rifles to precision rifles , rifles for sport shooting, and even hunting in some countries. They keep all manufacturing processes in-house at their facility in Mariestad, Sweden – everything from CNC machining to anodizing and assembling. The finished products mostly ship to the U.S., but also to a lot of other countries globally.
Although there are only five basic gun models to start with, FX Airguns has a total of around 6,000 different variations depending on, for example, country-specific regulations and laws.
“We’re very flexible, keen, and driven. We do everything from development to production ourselves, and we enjoy using our own products. We’re able to produce new prototypes very swiftly with low development costs, making certain that our product has a high value for the end user,” says Johan Axelsson, CTO at FX Airguns.
There’s a calmness and sense of dedication in the air at the FX Airguns factory. Everyone walks around dressed in the same black t-shirt with the company logo on the chest. They’re all part of a streamlined production line where every action has purpose – a well-managed, efficient manufacturing facility. And it better be, because the competition from low-cost manufacturing countries such as Turkey or China is ever present.
“We don’t take any shortcuts. But we need to be highly adjustable, and Monitor has helped us to be able to compete on this level, and able to supply our customers with a very short lead time,” adds Axelsson .
The company was founded in 1999 by Johan’s father Fredrik Axelsson, who was driven by the idea of filling a gap in the market that he knew was there.
“We started as a very small company that simply wanted to make something better. There wasn’t anything on the market that was good enough, according to my father. Since then, we have gone from producing 10 to 20 guns per month to now well over 3,000 guns every single month,” he adds.
He believes FX Airguns’ products speak for themselves. There are a lot of ambassadors online who do all the marketing the company needs.
“I believe every sold gun is an advertisement. We have a great following online that like using our products and showcase them perfectly,” Axelsson explains.
FX Airguns describes its products as “lovingly handcrafted”, performed by an expert team of “Swedish craftsmen and engineers that have honed their skills to perfection”, and true as this may be, the manufacturing processes are highly automated. Which is one of the key factors behind the company’s success – despite being located in a high-cost country like Sweden.
“We have achieved all this because we changed our ERP system to Monitor. We’re able to increase productivity for every single employee and reduce the number of questions that need to be asked. We can streamline production in such a big way, it’s been huge for us,” says Axelsson.
Monitor has helped us to be able to compete on this level, and able to supply our customers with a very short lead time.
He describes the flow of the factory. How a single push of a button in the sales office simultaneously sets the ball in motion throughout every part of production. Specifications going out to manufacturing, instructions to assembly, and so forth.
“The same second we get an order, every single employee immediately knows what to do,” says Axelsson. “I would say that Monitor is one of our most important employees – the only employee that gets more and more responsibility the more we grow. The bigger we become, the more important Monitor becomes. We can continue pushing, without having to worry about the ERP system stopping us in our growth. We challenge the limits, and Monitor is always there to assist us.”
Before switching to Monitor a couple of years ago, FX Airguns used a more basic system to manage their business. It forced the company to create a lot of customer-specific solutions outside of the system. And as Axelsson describes it: “It just kept adding on and adding on…”.
They got tired of constantly having to be the ones to push the envelope to develop their business. So they went looking for the right partner, someone to work together with. “And that’s where Monitor came into the picture,” he adds.
Monitor ERP was already in use at a sister company, and they received good recommendations from people they trusted.
“We had a great project leader from Monitor who helped us develop our methods. Together we adapted Monitor to fit us, but we also adapted ourselves to fit the way Monitor works. It’s really been hand-in-glove for us. We have been able to streamline our organization, so we don’t waste as much time,” Axelsson explains.
Another upside of implementing Monitor G5 is quality control. “I would say it’s a lot higher now due to the fact that we have such a high traceability in Monitor.”
He says he now has the tools he needs to double and triple check everything to know for certain which products generate the most profit.
Part of the success is due to FX Airguns having a “no inventory” policy. This means they don't place any finished products on the shelf, to be sold later. And they have to fully rely on the Monitor ERP system to make sure they have the right parts in place when an order goes into production so they can deliver in time.
“We don’t just want to sell stuff – we want to sell stuff that the customers actually want. And with Monitor, we can keep our stock levels low, but at the same time meet the demands of our customers,” Axelsson concludes.