Mission Design & Automation, Michigan

“We’ve definitely seen a general improvement in the accuracy of data. We’ve gone from thinking a project is going well, to knowing it’s going well.”

Kevin Miller, Corporate Controller, Mission Design & Automation

About Mission Design & Automation

Mission designs and builds custom automation solutions for a number of industries including food & beverage, transportation & automotive, consumer goods, and medical.

Size of Company

65 employees


Mission Design & Automation (Mission) is a leading automation supplier and integrator. They work with their customers to design, build, and integrate custom automation cells.


Holland, Michigan





Business Challenge

As a project-based business, Mission needed a system that at a minimum could track project costing and job performance.


Mission Design determined Total ETO to be the most flexible ERP solution for them, handling everything from purchase order through to project completion.

Dynamic Benefits & Results

  • Transparency and Insight
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Better Accuracy in Bidding
  • Flexibility
  • Collaborative Relationship
  • Support

Mission Design’s Business Challenge

Mission Design recognized that as a project-based business they had no way to track labor and material costs on a project basis. They could track major project components on the materials side, but all other components just showed up as miscellaneous items. Labor couldn’t be tracked to a project at all.


Mission needed an ERP system that at a minimum could track project costing and job performance. On the costing side, they wanted to implement software that would require labor costs to be better tracked. This was the precursor to running the business the way they knew it needed to be run.


Their homegrown access database, although decent, left some big holes and as a company committed to continuous improvement, and focused on learning new technologies, they knew they needed to find a better solution.



After looking at a number of options on the market, Mission Design determined that Total ETO was the best fit for them. A flexible ERP solution, it handles everything from purchase order through to project completion.


They liked how straightforward and intuitive the system was compared to other solutions. Price also played a part. Other solutions tended to be significantly more expensive, which was simply not cost effective for a company the size of Mission.


Because Total ETO is built on Microsoft Technologies, it’s robust, reliable, and requires no additional hardware. With resources in-house that know the technology, Mission could implement it quickly.


After working with a test site through the summer of 2018, Mission Design went live with Total ETO and a new accounting system, QuickBooks, in October 2018. Total ETO’s integration with SOLIDWORKS and QuickBooks allowed for a smooth implementation and staff were able to begin working with the new systems immediately.


Dynamic Benefits and Results Experienced by Mission Design

Transparency and insight

Big data is important to Mission and with Total ETO they can now track and understand their numbers. This valuable insight takes them from “we think it’s going well”, to “we know it’s going well”, states Kevin Miller, Corporate Controller. “I’m not sure how we would run our business well, or at all without this data.”


Competitive advantage

Being able to reference past/current projects when making corporate decisions has resulted in a massive improvement. Mission is now able to track the budgets for labor and materials, and become more efficient in their operations. Features such as Process Schedules, which tracks work orders and tasks internally, and Spare Parts Orders, have provided valuable insight and saved hours of time.


Better accuracy in bidding

Total ETO has allowed Mission Design to bid on projects with more accuracy. The ability to compare every project’s budget vs actual costs is invaluable, as they can reference this information to prepare bids more accurately, and win more projects. Completing a project as close to budget as possible means repeat business, something that’s very important in an Engineer To Order company such as Mission, whose customers can often require many smaller projects.



The very nature of the Engineer To Order industry requires flexibility and Mission now has the tools in place to make the changes required at any stage of a project.


Changes to the Bill of Materials (BOM) after it has been imported and released is something that Mission does every day, and now with ease. Really complicated BOM’s can just be recreated, without losing previous data, and imported freshly from SOLIDWORKS. Although Mission doesn’t track the really small items, such as nuts and bolts, to a job, they can still order them and just assign them to the shop or elsewhere if not needed. Every piece is still tracked and easily reassigned as required.


Collaborative relationship

Mission Design believes strongly in collaboration with their customers, and this philosophy is reflected in their choice of Total ETO. A like-minded company, Total ETO has worked with Mission to ensure they are getting the most out of the system.


Whether trying to achieve a new business objective, or develop a new report, the two companies work together to find the right solution, experimenting back and forth until they’ve got exactly what they want. Kevin says the “collaboration there is definitely really nice to have”. Scheduled annual visits also provide an opportunity for additional training and consultation. This partnership has led Mission to be able to continually streamline their operations.



There have been very few support issues. Most support requests have just been questions about how to do something within the system. Mission Design has found the support from Total ETO to be very good.