Founded in 1976 and employing more than 2,500 people in more than 30 businesses across the UK, Epwin Group is a leading supplier of low-maintenance, sustainable, and energy- efficient products to the new build, social housing, DIY, retail, and trade sectors. This includes the manufacture and supply of windows, doors, and roofline products.
Lack of validation and verification
Epwin Group’s product range has expanded and diversified over recent years, which has opened up new markets whilst consolidating its offering to their traditional customer base. Because of this expansion, the company was experiencing a high level of demand. In order to meet this demand, it needed to improve the overall productivity of the company as well as reduce scrap levels. Alan Humphries, system developer at Epwin Group says: “To maintain high levels of customer service and product quality whilst maintaining manufacturing costs, we are constantly improving manufacturing efficiencies. Production defects and low productivity have a huge negative impact on the business; it is paramount that we are always evolving our processes and systems to improve these areas.”
The company itself was fairly tight on capacity and struggled to maintain the high level of throughput needed to ensure they could meet customer supply, and in turn, grow as a company. In order to meet these needs, Epwin Group looked into replacing their existing software with a system that focused heavily on process control. The previous software in place was a manual system that made record production and retrospective recording a tedious and lengthy task. Not only did this decrease the overall productivity, but meant that the company lacked a great deal of validation and accuracy in reporting.
Epwin Group was witnessing many discrepancies within its reporting, as it had to rely on each employee within the company to manually track completed tasks without any validation or verification of what they had done. Because of the inaccuracy of data being provided, Epwin Group was finding it difficult to know how well the company was performing and knew that they needed to install a new system in order to improve.
Epwin Group decided to select a manufacturing execution system (MES) as a result of the process control challenges, and looked into several different vendors before selecting Epicor Mattec as its chosen MES system. Epwin Group had an existing relationship with Epicor, and decided to choose Mattec because of its capacity to evolve the software in order to meet Epwin Group’s business needs.
After purchasing the system and implementing it to monitor production lines, the company realised that Mattec could in fact deliver many more benefits with its array of features than they had previously known.
Humphries explains: “After running Mattec for a couple of years, we decided to experiment further with the system and began looking at how the company could make better use of the software features to improve the accountancy, production, and validation of data—as well as how it could gain overall equipment effectiveness as a key business indicator of performance.”
Epwin Group is now using the Mattec system to account for all production scrap as well as all key business measures, and the company has implemented a full barcoding system to improve traceability of stock throughout the business.
“The real-time element of Mattec is certainly the best part of running the software. Our employees are able to react instantly, and in turn, can make more informed decisions based on better data. With our previous software, we would have to put pieces of historical data together and wouldn’t know if something needed to be done right away. Now, rather than letting something go wrong, we can deal with it there and then because we have access to real-time information,” says Humphries.