After replacing their in-house developed system with 123insight MRP/ERP software in 2003, RHH Franks implemented the system in just five weeks, saw a 30% reduction in paper and needed less support for a system that was costing half of its predecessor. The company has since acquired both ISO9001:2008 and NADCAP certifications. This ‘10 years on’ case study examines how their business has changed over the years, and how 123insight has continued to evolve to meet their needs.
Since implementing 123insight MRP/ERP Software in 2003 RHH Franks (New Milton) Ltd, based in Hampshire, has continued to focus on quality whilst riding a double-dip recession and a downturn in the aerospace industry. More recently they have concentrated on diversifying their business into supporting the nuclear industry with the government’s Fit For Nuclear (F4N) programme.
Although the number of licences has increased from around 17 a decade ago to 21 in 2015, the number of staff has dropped from 55 to 50. David Goodfellow, Operations Director, explained that 123insight has allowed administration staff to cover more roles as its reach expanded across the company: “There’s not so much paper-pushing going on. A lot of staff can wear many hats and that’s fairly easy to manage in a company of this size. The number of production staff has stayed the same as we need an operator for each machine.”
In 2011 a case study was written on RHH Franks’ implementation of 123insight, which was particularly strong due to a rapid implementation of just five weeks, 50% better ROI and paper reduction of around a third.
The company now serves many customers on long-term contracts where they provide Vendor Managed Inventory. Said David: “They give us the forecast of their products and when they want them. We’re left to manage this and it’s much easier when you have a system like 123insight MRP/ERP Software. A lot of contracts have many different parts. We don’t want to be short of one nut for the sake of a £20k order. With 123insight you know where your shortages are, you can ‘trial’ the kit up, see what you need and forecast it to meet their requirements. We are now at virtually 100% on-time for deliveries.”
123insight allows RHH Franks to respond quickly to all types of customers. Better monitoring of processes provides instant access to information such as performance metrics. Added David: “It’s something that’s much easier to obtain now. Before it would take time to find information such as, say, how many rejects did we have last month? Now it’s a case of pressing a button and it’s there.”
Many manufacturers are concerned when installing updates to their MRP/ERP software system, but David cites that 123insight has never caused any down-time due to upgrades or any other reasons, with RHH Franks on average only calling support once every 2 months since going live. He also appreciates that major cosmetic changes are not made to the software just to justify an update: “There is no pain factor. We upgrade it and the staff don’t even know there was an update until we show them the new features.”
All 123insight customers receive software updates as part of the monthly subscription. RHH Franks have seen continual benefits from each new release, with some of their own suggestions appearing in subsequent versions. Functionality such as being able to associate documents with works orders, purchase orders, etc. David noted: “Document attachments are a great help to us. We’ve given every job its own story as it goes through the system, including setup sheets and pictures – everything that’s needed with a job is there at your fingertips.”
As 123insight MRP/ERP Software becomes more widely adopted RHH Franks have noted other companies that are also using it, with David often noticing paperwork from customers as being generated from 123insight: “We receive documents from customers with the same structure as us but in a different template. When I talk to them about 123insight I never hear a bad word from them about it.”
123 Insight Limited encourages its customers to talk to each other, with events such as Evaluation Workshops, training, Special Interest Groups and Open Days allowing them to meet in friendly, informal environments and discuss how they use the software. David has found this particularly beneficial, providing a different perspective on day-to-day usage: “With a tool like 123insight there are so many different ways to use it. Everyone uses their system ever so slightly differently. Sometimes when you chat with people you see something that’s a good idea.”
Every few months RHH Franks will receive a visit from their 123insight Customer Care Manager. During these visits they discuss current processes, functionality requirements or gaps in their knowledge. David cites that these meetings have often spawned good ideas: “She’s shown us a few little things we weren’t aware of that have been quite useful. She looks at what we’re doing and makes a few suggestions on how we could use the system differently. Some ideas we’ve taken on and some we haven’t, but it’s always useful to know. Of course, she sees other customers and how they use it so her knowledge base increases. So if there’s anything in the system that we’re not aware of she’s very good at pointing us in that direction.”
One of the biggest ongoing benefits of 123insight MRP/ERP Software has been the ability to quickly ‘kit’ an item to check availability and lead times for quotation purposes. David noted that this continues to help him on a daily basis. This, along with their flexibility to quickly adjust production schedules, has allowed them to instantly respond to customer demand: “One day we can be concentrating on one project, then something comes in that is urgently required and we can swap it all around. We can do that in a couple of days, and the emphasis of production is moved from X to Y very quickly whereas if you are a larger company that would often take about 2 weeks of organising to get through to the shop floor.”
David feels that his relationship with 123 Insight Ltd differs significantly from that of other vendors he deals with, and he puts this down to their more relaxed approach: “I think some of the suppliers we use are a little more formal. I personally don’t like that. I’d rather speak to someone in a straight manner and cut the rubbish out. I find it much easier to speak to someone on that basis rather than feeling like you are talking with your solicitor. 123insight is part of the family. We’ve been using it for over 10 years, and we’ve known the management from the early days.”
Back in 2003 RHH Franks had replaced an in-house developed system after just two years. Had they experienced problems with other systems over a similar timeframe they could have replaced their system six times in the 12-years to date that they’ve been using 123insight.
RHH Franks plan to integrate 123insight further into production management, adding shopfloor data control, allowing staff to use barcode scanners to track jobs through the facility. David knows that the functionality he needs to deliver is already included and won’t require an expensive software upgrade, concluding: “You know what you’re getting with 123insight. We’re getting something that’s constantly evolving and we don’t have to do anything – as features are developed, we receive them.”