CT Production Ltd, based in Poole, Dorset provide electronic manufacturing services. Originally founded in 1982, current MD Mario Morilla took over the company in 2015 after the previous owner retired. The company relied on an MRP package that had limited capabilities, as Mario explained: “Although we had reasonable control of our stock there was no serial number tracking capability and we couldn’t take data out of the system and manipulate it. Complex structures were also an issue, such as creating sub-assemblies within a structure that could then be scheduled to be manufactured themselves. We were also looking to enter the aerospace and military markets, so CRM was an important factor to assist with managing ISO9001, SC21 and AS9100 accreditations.”
They decided to research the market and looked at several systems that offered a combined MRP/CRM solution, costing between £50k-£100k. The short term aim was to improve traceability of products and communications, with the long term target of integrating third party data such as test results and spectrum analysis into the system so that QA documentation can be quickly compiled at the point of shipping.
Several staff attended two of 123 Insight’s Evaluation Workshops in March and May of 2011. Said Mario: “We came away incredibly positive. In fact, we liked the open approach so much we are hosting similarly styled events for our own prospects, customers and suppliers. However, others, including the then MD, that attended the second workshop did not share that view. In the end it was a 3/2 vote for another system.”
It had taken two years to reach a decision on a solution and they started implementing the other system in June 2013, however after purchase it quickly became apparent that it would not meet their needs. Jason Raby, Engineering Manager noted: “It was cumbersome, long-winded and completely fixed in its way of doing things – everything was a further tweak. All the extra costs that came into play started to turn us off and the implementation team didn’t seem to know what they were doing.”
Four months after selection the company decided to halt the implementation, managing to reclaim much of their spend and limiting their exposure to around £14k. Staff immediately attended 123insight’s six days of no-obligation training on the understanding that if the system didn’t work for them they could walk away with nothing to pay.
After the training was completed the decision was made to immediately select 123insight and move ahead with a staged implementation. Said Mario: “We decided to start off with sales orders, works orders, delivery notes and invoices. There were a couple of additional minor functions that we needed for purchasing, so we spoke to 123insight and agreed a time frame for development.”
CT Production used 123insight’s Data Import Toolkit to transfer the data from their old system. During the implementation process Jason set up a dummy system while the additional functionality was being written. This allowed him to get accustomed to the software; “We set up a standalone system that we worked on for a few weeks prior to installing the main system. We also took the opportunity to cleanse the data during data transfer, putting a mark against customer and supplier records to delete them if they were not used after 12 months.”
After going live the company immediately saw several benefits. Paper saw a drastic reduction, as documents such as invoices were now emailed as PDFs or viewed on screen when needed. Jason noted: “Paper used to go missing all the time, but that just doesn’t happen anymore.” A ‘tracker’ document used to follow jobs around production, but the information that this provided is now viewed on screen.
CT Production selected 123insight based on the combination of its MRP capabilities and the integrated CRM+ option. Together they provide traceability not only for manufactured products but also for processes and communications within the business. This has allowed staff instant visibility to information thus spending less time chasing data around the facility. Mario said; “By removing the paper we also reduce the physical movements associated with it”. Email alerts can also be set up to send reminders if an action has not been performed within a predetermined time period.
123insight’s Advanced Serial Tracking provided a complete breakdown of a finished product with a couple of mouse clicks, quickly identifying the included components, who supplied them and in which batch, along with full details of the product’s route through the manufacturing process.
Sage 50 is in use within the company’s accounts department, so they implemented the AAI (Advanced Accounts Interface) to connect 123insight to it, which Mario was very pleased with: “That was another massive saving. We used to enter sales and purchase invoices twice, so that’s saved our accounts staff around 10 hours per week.”
Another significant benefit is the ability to view and manipulate live data. Jason commented: “With 123insight we have the ability to create live data feeds into Excel. We can then run custom macros or pivot tables to look at it whichever way we want to. As a result our end of month Work in Progress report that used to take around 6 hours now takes staff about 25 seconds to produce. It was custom reporting on steroids. As the system is so intuitive we were able to set all of this up without any assistance from 123insight’s HelpDesk.”
Given their previous experience CT Production were initially concerned as to the level of support they could expect, but Mario was very satisfied with it: “Support has been really good. With the old system it was very difficult to get an answer unless you got the right person, and often we’d have to repeat the same thing to different staff. With 123insight if we haven’t got an answer straight away it’s not long before someone else calls back with it.”
123insight has become the backbone of the company, so much so that it is now a part of their staff recruitment process. Candidates are given a short tutorial on how to use basic functionality on 123insight using a test system with dummy data and then asked to repeat a similar task. Those that are able to complete it move onto the next stage of recruitment. Mario said: “The fact that you can copy a database and set up a company to run test data separate from your live data is massively beneficial. Not all systems do that and you often have to pay for more licences.”
Over recent years the company has seen year on year growth of over 20%, and Mario has ambitious expansion plans for the future: “We’re continuing to expand into aerospace and defence and will rely further on CRM+ for that. We’re also planning to add more 123insight seats into other areas such as testing to further enhance and extend the traceability.”
Concluded Mario: “Although we initially selected the wrong system it was a no-brainer to re-select 123insight. The investment we made was paid back pretty quickly and it leads to ongoing savings. We’re always getting more out of the system which is constant payback. In fact, we’ve won customers because of some of the functions that 123insight has, such as traceability and the linking of test information to orders.”