Mako Board Sports Ltd, based in Semley, Dorset, manufactures the Mako slingshot jetboard. As part of Gilo Industries, Mako was founded in 2017. Sister company Rotron Power, who manufacture the motors for Mako, had already been successfully using 123insight, so upon the foundation of Mako the direction was clear. Richard Bromley, Supply Chain Manager, said: “Our sister company Rotron had been using 123insight MRP software for many years. When it came to looking at using a similar system for Mako it was a foregone conclusion to use 123insight. Because of the history of using the system, we knew the benefits of it and how we could adapt it for our company.”

The company set about designing the structures and workflow for the business, and started implementing late in 2017, with training scheduled for the second week in December. Adam Collins, Operations Manager, noted that although they had experience of 123insight’s capabilities through Rotron, Mako had higher aims; “The short-term aim was to use it as Rotron did, so you just knew what was in stock. But we knew from the inception of this business that we wanted to capture all of the data. It would capture everything from when that raw material comes in, right through to the build along with the resource you need to carry out that build. We could also capture all of the data around clocking on/off, giving us the time to build the boards. We’re trying to collect ‘Big Data’ from all of the different environments that we work in, bringing it all together, look at what we do, how we do it, and how we can improve. If we can improve it, we can make ourselves better, faster, cheaper and more profitable.”

Richard added; “It helps splitting the project into short term and long term goals. Short-term was essentially what we needed to do to get the ball rolling with the system, and how we wanted it to work, so data capture and stock control were the initial first thoughts.”

Staff attended the six-days of No-Obligation Training, on the understanding that if they decided not to move ahead with the system they could walk away with nothing to pay. Although Adam didn’t attend the training himself he still felt the benefit of 123insight’s training methodology: “Another really good thing for me was that Richard went through the training and came back as a superuser. He’s now passed that training on to other people in the business, and now we’re all at a good level. I can find my way around the software as it’s really easy to use. Everyone is now trained, from the guys building the boards up to the Managing Director. With the support Richard’s had he’s been able to give that back to us and we all lean on him.”

Mako planned to implement and go live in under two months, but Richard had other ideas: “We were quoted by our Customer Care Manager that it’d take about 6-8 weeks, but we wanted it done by the end of the year. We basically had 3-4 weeks in December to get it built and running. In all honesty it was actually quite simple, mainly because our company was new. We had no pre-existing system in there, so we were starting fresh with 123insight.”

Ben Smith, Logistics and Quality Manager, found 123insight’s ability to create a test database extremely useful, allowing Mako to easily replicate its entire setup into a test environment: “I tend to stretch the system. I’ll ask Richard; ‘Can we do this’, and sometimes we have a bit of debate and then play on the test system, which is a really good thing to have.”

The company went live on 22nd December 2017, just two weeks after commencing training. Said Richard; “We went live by accident! We were ready to go and I was confident, but I also had a lot of nerves around actually going live. You do all this hard work, and you put a lot of pressure on getting it working. I did a lot of testing, copied the system, made a test database, made sure it all worked, but it was that initial ‘when do I tell people I will switch it on and go live’? That was a very nervous stage, until one day we just went with it. After about a week or so I just told people ‘we’re live, and it’s working’.”

As both Rotron and Mako are based at the same location they also share a server, with one benefit being that they can share licences between companies, in addition to being able to increase or decrease licences on a monthly basis as required.

123insight’s Service and Repair functionality has also proven useful. Noted Adam: “We wouldn’t be able to bring customer’s boards back and keep traceability without Service and Repair. We knew that customers would send products back for service and repair but we needed a tool to track it, so we relied on 123insight to provide that functionality. It’s essentially two production lines that support each other, keeping our production line going but also bringing boards in and taking them through the service and repair loop.”

Mako are also able to associate test data with boards during the manufacturing process. 123insight allows for a series of test questions and results to be created, prompting the user to enter the data, and confirming whether they pass or fail immediately. Adam added: “We run a test for 15-20 minutes, and there’s lots of data that we capture; from water temperature, through to thrust values as the board’s running, RPM values, etc. That all gets entered into 123insight. We can then hold onto that for the life of the board, so when that board comes back through the service and repair process we can reference that and see if it’s under-achieving. It’s a really good way of capturing the data for life.”

The company implemented Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC) across the shop floor, installing barcode scanners in production, store and despatch and allowing staff to clock on/off of works orders. Richard was surprised at the quality of data that it delivered: “There’s a difference between predicting, recording with pen, paper and stop watch, and actually scanning to a works order. The difference between that is massive, and it’s a lot more accurate to capture it that way. It also means that you get the product built quicker. We can report back to sales that the lead time is now X and it’s a more accurate representation of what it will be, whereas before it was more of a guesstimate.” Far from causing concern with staff, Richard noted that SFDC actually motivated them: “Its just a case of training the staff to know how to interact with it to scan on/off jobs. As the user interface is so good and easy to use, it’s gone from ‘fear factor’ (of the unknown) to ‘I want to clock onto this job’. It’s almost like a competition for who can get it done the fastest to the best quality.”

Mako are aiming to implement ISO9001, and 123insight’s Advanced Serial Tracking will be instrumental in this. The serial number of the board is entered on arrival, with other serialised components added during manufacturing. It’s then very simple to track what items were included in which board, or which boards include a component from a specific batch. Said Richard; “It’s a really easy way of making things so traceable, and one of the things that we wanted from the beginning was traceability. It had to simple, as you can go to the ‘Nth degree’, and we didn’t need to worry too much about the batch number of low value items such as nuts and bolts – only about the higher-value core components such as the hull, engine, batteries used, etc.”

Many customers visit the Mako facility, so it’s important that the image of quality and control is visible throughout the business. Mako now display KPI information throughout the facility on screens via a PowerPoint presentation that draws live data from 123insight’s SQL databases.

The company also extends 123insight’s reach to its website, using Solweb’s Web Portal. This allows for complete e-commerce capabilities, and for live stock information to be displayed on the website. When orders are placed, a sales order and customer data are automatically transferred to 123insight.

A few months after going live, Mako opted to implement 123mobile, an iOS/Android app that allows users to manage stock and shop floor labour bookings on a tablet. Ben noted that this had been invaluable during setup of the new stores facility: “Over the last two months I’ve really been using it, and if I didn’t have the mobile app the process of setting up stores would have taken twice as long, if not more. Just simply running to and from my desk, scribbling on bits of paper, making mistakes along the way, getting confused, whereas with 123mobile I’ve got everything literally in my hand. I can quickly find a part number, check how many we have in stock, and there’s no having to ring someone back. For me as a user, it’s perfect.”

As part of their continual streamlining of production processes, Mako are moving from ‘project’ manufacturing of boards and sub items together through to batch manufacturing. Said Adam: “Rather than building, say, one fuel tank for one board, we now build 50 tanks. Staff get quicker and become experts – where it used to take them 10 minutes, now they can do it in 5. That goes for all our sub-assemblies – hand controls, jet drives, fuel tanks. Those marginal gains of saving two minutes because you’re building in sub-assemblies and feeding it into the production line has delivered massive gains.”

Although Mako are using a large element of 123insight for such a fledgling company, they have ambitious plans moving forward. They are looking to take advantage of 123insight’s Skills Matrix, allowing them to allocate skills against staff and processes, and also logging staff holidays. Richard noted: “You can look at what orders you have for that day, what skill set is needed and what is required to be built on that day. If the skill set doesn’t match then you can plan ahead of time, thanks to the holiday input as well. Moving forward, we’re chasing ISO9001, and CRM+ will definitely help with that.”

Richard has been extremely pleased with the support he’s received from 123 Insight’s Help Desk and Customer Care Team: “You’re always sceptical about support, but actually it’s a really enjoyable experience. You get through within 2-3 rings, and you’re on the phone for a couple of minutes. It doesn’t sound like a good thing, but it is. If it can’t be resolved, and that’s happened only once or twice, they’ll take my details and get back to me. Within the hour I get a response with the steps to answer my question. It’s fantastic” Adam added: “For me, as the onlooker, I really liked the support Richard got from his Customer Care Manager. Whenever there was a problem Richard picked up the phone, he was always available and they’d have a quick Webex session. The support we got as a company was fantastic – you couldn’t want for better.”

Richard concluded that it’s not only 123insight’s innovative business model that has delivered instant ROI, but also its flexibility, ease of use and support: “In terms of ROI, it’s definitely the right decision to have 123insight in the company because of the capability of the system and the support you get from it, compared with the very small amount you have to pay for it per month.”

Key BenefitsFrom training to go-live in just two weeks:
Sharing licences across companies
Product test data captured and linked
123mobile streamlines stock control and clocking on/off of jobs
Service & Repair function
Advanced Serial Tracking
KPI dashboard from SQL to PowerPoint
SFDC helps with training
“Test database” facility.

https://www.123insight.com/