Manufacturing software implementation at Boyce Precision Engineering

After implementing 123Insight, BPE saw a 25% reduction in stock, with the creation of purchasing and works orders dropping from a full week for two staff to just half a day for one person. The company is now seeing 20% year on year growth and could easily double in size without any increase in admin staff.

Boyce Precision Engineering ERP case study
  • Purchasing reduced from two full-time staff to two hours per week for one person
  • 20% year on year growth with the same number of administration staff
  • Could double the business without further admin staff
  • Implemented and live within two months
  • 25% reduction in stock
  • Providing the backbone for their AS9100 accreditation
  • Rated A on first customer audit
  • Stock accuracy above 98%
  • Integrated with Sage Accounts software
  • Excellent local and remote support

Boyce Precision Engineering Ltd (BPE), based in Portadown, Co. Armagh, provide precision engineering services for industries such as aerospace, defence, pharmaceutical, and automotive. The company was using an in-house designed Access database, coupled with Excel spreadsheets and paper-based systems, and was growing at around 20% year on year.

Lack of ERP limiting growth

Said Brian Perry, Operations Director; “It was the order of magnitude - having gone from £1.6m to £2.9m in two years, it simply wasn’t sustainable to grow using the systems in place. We already had two full time staff performing admin and really needed a third.”

The company supplies Thompson Aero Seating,  a major aerospace manufacturer that is also a 123Insight user. Brian noted; “I’d seen 123Insight during site visits to Thompson, and liked the look of the system, along with the paperwork and reports that it generated.”

Having had experience of ERP from previous companies, Brian looked at a couple of other systems for comparison; “I have a curiosity in this area as I come from a material planning background. I did a remote demo with one system but stopped it within 30 minutes, as what the salesperson was showing simply didn’t appear logical.”

By comparison, Brian contacted 123Insight’s reseller in Northern Ireland, QMS Insight, and attended an Evaluation Workshop. He found the format a complete opposite to the other systems he had reviewed; “There was no hard sell. Most other companies were promoting their systems with dashboards, whereas I was more interested in system functionality, which is what they showed me.“

There was no hard sell. Most ther companies were promoting their systems with dashboards, whereas I was more interested in system functionality.

Brian Perry
Operations Director

Boyce precision quote on ERP case study

The decision was made to move ahead with 123Insight, which was made easier as funding was granted from InvestNI, covering 40% of the training and implementation costs.

Subscription offers more value

Brian preferred 123Insight’s subscription over the traditional up-front purchase; “Some people see a one-off purchase as being beneficial. In my experience, this is not the way to do it. As 123Insight’s subscription also includes upgrades as well as support, there have been numerous benefits that we’ve seen since. With a traditional system we wouldn’t have got the updates unless we paid for them. Skipping updates can also be counter-productive, as it can be more painful to upgrade.“

Having implemented ERP in previous manufacturing companies, Brian had a good understanding of what needed to be done. He and one other person set about examining their data and processes, and worked with QMS Insight on an implementation plan. He also mapped out all their processes and workflows on paper. Said Brian; “The experience I took from a previous implementation was that it was all about ensuring your data was in good shape. Using 123Insight’s Data Import Toolkit, I knew the format that the data needed to be in, so we set about cleaning it, ensuring that we only took in relevant information. QMS Insight were also very proactive in making sure that we understood everything correctly. Once you have all your processes working on paper the transition to a system is so much easier. The added benefit of 123Insight is that it’s easy to see the relationship between the key modules, such as customer/supplier database, stock, SOP, POP, WOP and BOMs. The speed at which new data could be set up and the visibility through the various reports was excellent.“

ERP implemented and live in two months

The company went live just two months after selecting 123Insight. Despite the company relying on many legacy systems for years, the transition to the new way of working was quickly and universally accepted; “We had four staff involved in the go-live process, and from the first minute they were very enthusiastic. It made things so much easier it was unbelievable.“

Immediately, the company saw greater visibility and control across all areas. The process of generating purchase and works orders drastically reduced. Brian noted; “Before 123Insight, I had two people each spending 39 hours a week raising works orders and purchase orders. I can do that myself now in two hours on a Monday morning.“

Once purchasing was under control, stockholding was the next area that benefited. As a result of more strategic purchasing, better visibility of forward orders and parts history, and only ordering what they needed, BPE were able to reduce stock by 25%. Said Brian; “BPE always maintained a tight control of cashflow but because of lack of visibility in the existing system inefficiencies were inevitable. If someone orders 100, we’d make 105. With 123Insight, everything became more discreet and all the inefficiencies went away. As a result, we were able to take away a lot of excess inventory. With better forward visibility this also helped our suppliers, as we were no longer placing small orders with urgent lead times. We never previously performed stock takes, so outages were commonplace. Stock wasn’t controlled, so if an operator needed more material due to a scrapped part, he’d just take it. Every day there were problems. Now, once a week would be a worse case scenario. Overall, our stock accuracy is always above 98% now.“

Boyce Precision ERP live in two months

With 123Insight, everything became more discreet and all the inefficiencies went away. As a result, we were able to take away a lot of excess inventory.

Brian Perry
Operations Director

Consolidation of purchase and works orders

Brian also liked 123Insight’s ability to consolidate  items. It allows demand to be grouped into a single purchase order, based on forward demand within a predefined period. This reduces paperwork and also allows companies to purchase more strategically and hit higher cost break points. Works orders can also be consolidated, grouping demand within a set timeframe; “The consolidation is brilliant - I can choose to use it or not, as required. It’s so simple that the other administrator, who hadn’t even touched a computer a couple of years ago, is competent in using it.”

Quality accreditations and audits

Working in the aerospace, defence and medical sectors, BPE need to adhere to strict quality accreditation standards, such as AS9100. However, it was customer audits where 123Insight really came into its own. Brian recalled; “We were recently audited by a customer in the defence sector that needed parts that must be ‘Grade A’ 100% structurally sound, so batch traceability is key. Within 5 minutes the auditors were satisfied that we could provide the traceability level that they needed. We could show them that from a bill of materials with a batch number we could link it back through every stage of works orders, purchase orders, etc. They grade suppliers from A+ to E, and on our first audit we received an A. 123Insight was a major contributor to this. We also provide subcontract services to a premium machining company in Ireland, and they were stunned at the speed of 123Insight. We can create a supplier, customer, part numbers and a purchase order in 5-10 minutes - it can take them anywhere up to 3-5 weeks to get a PO back to me!“

Since COVID, remote working has been commonplace for many, and BPE is no different. Staff can access 123Insight via remote desktop as required. Brian believes that 123Insight’s ease of use also aided its quick adoption; “Shortly before implementing 123Insight we had taken on a Supply Chain Assistant, with no previous exposure to ERP. Within a few days she was fully compliant with all aspects of the system.”

BPE are a long-time Sage accounts user, and took advantage of 123Insight’s tight integration option between the two. This ensures that data is passed smoothly and accurately between the systems.

Local and remote support

With any enterprise-level system, good support is critical. Assistance from both QMS Insight and the 123Insight Help Desk ensured that all questions were answered quickly; “I rarely need to use support, and most questions tend to be answered in one call. The local support from QMS Insight has been exemplary.“ 

As someone is constantly reviewing best practices in the company, Brian did receive a demo from an alternative ERP vendor in 2023, just to see whether the grass was greener on the other side. Part-way through the demo, his assistant made it clear that the system was far inferior to 123Insight, and the demo was ended.

While the COVID pandemic almost halved their turnover, they are now back to pre-COVID growth levels of 20% per year. Brian concluded; “What I pay in subscription wouldn’t pay an employee on minimum wage. There’s a return on investment every day of the week. 123Insight will easily cope with double the business that we’re doing today without needing more people to drive it.“

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