Case Study: AGW Electronics Ltd
This case study received a 'Highly Commended' award in the '2009 The Manufacturer awards'. 123insight was chosen over systems costing up to £100,000. AGW were also instrumental in helping the development of the 123insight CRM option.
- 123insight now used for staff skills matrix
- Employ less admin staff now than 20 years ago, with 50% higher turnover
- 123insight helps with UL temperature classification and forthcoming ISO9001:2015 standard
- AGW perform their own software upgrades
- CRM+ helping sales, purchasing and admin staff
- Could grow a further 25% with same admin staff
AGW Electronics Ltd, based in Staveley, Derbyshire, manufactures electronic wound components and assemblies. The company went live with 123insight in 2007, and was commended in The Manufacturer Awards for their successful implementation two years later.
Shortly after implementation they had to deal with the double-dip recession, which was especially tough on the electronics sector. While business has since recovered and turnover has increased by over 50%, they wanted to ensure that it was still manageable as they continued to grow.
The company has diversified in that it is now seen as the go-to supplier for more complex winding products, which Nigel believes is down to the flexibility that 123insight provides; “We can react quickly in making samples and developing products because we can immediately find out whether we have stock of components, and if it isn't available we can quickly find out who our suppliers are. The other advantage is that our design and development engineers have been taught to use standard components when developing. It's a big plus in terms of our profitability and being able to supply competitive products to customers, as we're using components that we might have bought in larger quantities and have a price advantage on.”
AGW have to provide first article inspection information for many customers, including information such as the components used along with who supplied them. Nigel notes that 123insight has drastically reduced the time taken to produce this; “123insight can be interrogated and bring that information together very quickly, which saves a lot of time for the quality department in issuing these reports. It’s brought it down to something you can do in minutes rather than hours. Previously, you could be talking half a day to a day's work.”
AGW were instrumental in working with 123 Insight to help build the specification for CRM+, which they have used since its launch in 2009. Since then, although Nigel admits they are not using it to its fullest within sales, its use has, to his surprise, expanded into many other areas within the company; “CRM+ has given our sales department a much better ability to respond to questions from customers. We also use it to check our KPIs on lateness of deliveries. I did go through a period of thinking that maybe we shouldn't be using CRM+, as we were not fully using it on the basis of what I initially thought we might. When I brought up the possibility of stopping the use of CRM+ I was knocked back, with staff saying 'we use it for this' and ‘we enjoy it for that’.”
The company holds the Underwriters Laboratories (UL, accreditation for component temperature classifications), and Nigel cites that 123insight’s Bill of Materials structures have been instrumental to their ability to comply; “123insight ties into it on the BOM, and that is the critical part of the accreditation that we have. We have effectively a ‘menu of components’, and if you stick to that list issued by UL then you are able to mark that product with the UL number. So, we have to ensure that on our structure we have the correct components there, we have the notification on that structure that this is a UL product and that no components can be substituted that are not within the UL menu.”
AGW also holds the ISO9001:2008 quality accreditation, however this is being replaced by ISO9001:2015, with one of the new requirements focussing on the skills matrix of which staff are qualified on specific procedures. Nigel explained; “We had a cumbersome training records system, and we've moved that completely to 123insight. That gives us the ability to look at individual people and see what they are able to do, and look at individual tasks and see which people are able to perform them. It's given us a very clean, neat system to work with and fulfil our requirements to ISO9001:2015.”
I find it quite strange that more vendors haven’t jumped to the 123insight model, because it was a huge incentive for us. We could easily grow another 25% on the same number of admin staff - if not more.
Upgrades and benefits
Since implementing 123insight in early 2007 the company has seen several version upgrades. Nigel noted that the upgrade process has improved over time, and that they are no longer reliant on 123 Insight to perform them; “We’re capable of doing it in-house without any problems.”
Each new release brings its own benefits but certain features such as the ‘implode/explode’ drilldown have proven extremely beneficial; “Being able to search under customer or supplier part number rather than just searching on description is very useful. It gives us so much more capability to look at problems from a different angle and get to an answer. We have such a large number of products and some aren't made for a number of years. We'll get an enquiry on a part and we now have the ability to search under different criteria to find the actual item that the customer needs.”
Although 123insight is the backbone of the company and relied upon daily, Nigel has had very few occasions to call the Help Desk, with AGW hitting the average of around one call per customer per month; “My experience of the Help Desk is very good. You always get answered. You always speak to somebody who knows what they are doing, and on the very rare occasion that they don't know they will soon get back to you having found out themselves. I get the impression that they are not overworked, so you never get the situation where you are sat thinking ‘I'm 11th in the queue and might get answered in an hour’. I’ve always taken that to mean that 123insight is a very stable piece of software that people don't need a lot of help with, and that reflects in the number of times that I've had to ring the help line - very, very few.”
Over the last few years AGW staff have noticed an increase in both suppliers and customers using 123insight; “It's nice when you recognise the template of a customer purchase order or or supplier invoice. You realise that they're using 123insight, and it gives you the confidence that they are running a system where they know what they’re doing.”
In addition to the ongoing benefits from the software, Nigel feels that his relationship with the company has also continued to grow; “It's always been very good, and that's one of the reasons we like dealing with 123 Insight. There's never any question about us changing. We've always seen the ability to interact with 123 Insight as a company as very good. and the fact that I can make a phone call, get somebody to talk to and get an answer is excellent.”
Ten years on, Nigel still appreciates the 123 Insight subscription model and is confident that the system can help them achieve their target of sustainable growth, whilst still maintaining control. He concluded; “I find it quite strange that more people haven't jumped to the 123 Insight model, because it was a huge incentive for us - we didn't have to pay that big fee up front for something that you still don't quite know if it'll work for you or not. We actually employ less admin staff than we did 20 years ago with a much lower turnover back then, and could easily grow another 25% on the same number of admin staff as we have now - if not more.”
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