Case Study: Lascar Electronics/Corintech

Electronics manufacturers Lascar and Corintech, both part of the same group, have been using 123insight for over a decade. Lascar selected 123insight after an £80,000 system failed to deliver, with Corintech following suit shortly after Lascar’s successful implementation. This ‘10 Years On’ case study catches up with both companies to see how their businesses have evolved and what part 123insight has played in their growth.

Lascar/Corintech electronics MRP case study
  • Using Shop Floor Data Collection to obtain accurate timings for jobs
  • Using SDK to link to  surface mount technology
  • CRM+ allows better mining of customer data
  • Using tablets in stores 
  • Tight integration with Access Dimensions
  • 123insight used to manage AS9100 and ISO 9001
  • Very low support requirement

Lascar Electronics Ltd, based in Whiteparish, Wiltshire and Corintech Ltd, based in nearby Fordingbridge, Hamphire, are two distinctly separate companies sharing many common traits. Both companies  manufacture different ranges of environmental data loggers as well as offering electronic product design and manufacturing services. Lascar, after initially spending over £80,000 on an ERP system that failed to deliver on its promises, selected 123insight in 2006. Corintech, already wary due to Lascar’s earlier experiences, waited for the implementation to prove successful before selecting 123insight the following year and implementing it in just three months. Pete Cross, MD of Corintech and Sean Wigmore, MD of Lascar have each worked at both companies and have seen how 123insight has shaped each business.

Changing businesses

Pete noted that Corintech’s business model has changed significantly since implementing 123insight; “We’ve changed a lot in the last decade. We were a traditional CEM - Contract Electronics Manufacturer, and then around the recession we decided to take our destiny into our own hands a little and came up with our own product range of cloud-based environmental monitors. That added a whole new market area for us - standard products sold through distribution. On top of that our CEM work has been growing steadily. In the UK we've become more of a logistical hub for the company. Staff numbers for the group have risen, but in the UK it's stayed flat.”

Sean has seen similar growth within Lascar; “The launch of our own data loggers around 10 years ago provided huge growth to the company in the time since, so much so that we've now split onto a second site in the UK. Turnover's gone up quite dramatically. We haven't really seen a massive increase in staff levels, and because of the way our warehousing was working beforehand we've actually lost two staff through natural wastage and haven't felt the need to replace them.”

Both companies have seen a doubling of their turnover and have also expanded their geographic locations, with Corintech adding a Hong Kong location for engineering, quality and sales. Lascar shares the same Hong Kong premises with Corintech and has now expanded across two sites within the UK and added a sales site in the US. 123insight is used to connect all locations together.

As each company has grown they’ve taken advantage of 123insight’s scalable licencing. Lascar started with 14 licences, moving to 40, with Corintech increasing from an initial 40 to 50. Sean cited that 123insight’s rollout to more areas of the business explained the increase; “It’s simply because we’ve got more people across more sites, with sales functions across three of them. There’s just more people taking advantage of the system.”

Shop Floor Data Collection

Corintech streamlined their manufacturing by implementing Shop Floor Data Collection, allowing staff to use barcodes to track an order’s position through their facility. This gave the company a rich understanding of manufacturing times. Said Pete; “Logging on and off of processes has led to better timings from our jobs so that we understand the reality versus our desired times and we can subsequently drill down further into that.”

Both Corintech and Lascar are using Access Dimensions accounts, and Sean notes that 123insight’s tight integration was a benefit during the selection process; “When I was at Corintech we were running Access Dimensions as a standalone system. So when we were evaluating 123insight having to think about linking the two together was one less thing to do, and that made life much easier for us.” After seeing the benefits Lascar subsequently implemented Access Dimensions in 2007.

Software Development Kit

As part of ongoing improvements Corintech are looking to extend 123insight’s reach by way of the SDK (Software Development Kit). Said Pete; “We've just invested almost £300,000 into a new surface mount line which offers us much higher capability than we had before. We are beginning to utilise the SDK to accommodate linking that system very cleanly into 123insight. The prime driver is for 123insight to be the main system to be used rather than another system that we then link in a 'Heath Robinson’ way. We want the 123insight dashboard to be the place that people go to in order to do their jobs.”

In the last 10 years we've solidified our ISO 9001 accreditation but we've decided to augment this with the more in-depth and controlled AS9100 accreditation, which is essentially for the aerospace and defence industries. 123insight has been a good tool for that. It's been adaptable enough to cope with some of the changes, in particular with approved vendors, vendor ratings, etc. It's been a good way of showing control when we need to and actually having it.

Pete Cross - MD, Corintech
Pete Cross - MD, Corintech

Tablets used in stores

Pete commented that tablets are now also being used across the stores department at Corintech for issuing and checking stock; "This is something that we're currently dipping our toes into the water. We have stores staff undertaking their job using tablets with the mobile stores function, and that's something we're looking to expand in the future.”

CRM+ is being used in both companies, with Sean citing that it has been useful in helping Lascar to target the right clients for specific campaigns; “We do make pretty good use of CRM+ in how we market ourselves to our customer base. For example, with mailshots we can pull out data from sales of products, so we don’t market a data logger to someone who buys a display or vice versa.”

Quality

Quality is an important factor, and both companies hold the ISO 9001 accreditation. Corintech also holds AS9100, with Pete stating that 123insight has been instrumental in assisting with maintaining it; “In the last 10 years we've solidified our ISO 9001 accreditation but we've decided to augment this with the more in-depth and controlled AS9100 accreditation, which is essentially for the aerospace and defence industries. 123insight has been a good tool for that. It's been adaptable enough to cope with some of the changes, in particular with approved vendors, vendor ratings, etc. It's been a good way of showing control when we need to and actually having it.”

Both Sean and Pete cite 123insight as being easy to learn and use. Lascar are working to streamline the learning process for new recruits; “For most of our training we're pretty self-sufficient, and we still have seven members of the original implementation team that work for the business. We generally handle training internally and are currently in the process of making some training videos so the process becomes more automated and less consuming of people's time.” Upgrades are generally handled in-house and as both companies are IT-literate they both fall well under the average monthly support call rate of one call per customer. Said Sean: “The fact that I’ve never phoned the HelpDesk says it all.”

Award-winners

In 2010 Corintech was also a Finalist in The Manufacturer of the Year awards as a direct result of their successful implementation of 123insight.

Over the last ten years Sean and Pete have grown to appreciate the relationship they have with 123 Insight. Commented Sean; “We’ve always had a very beneficial relationship with 123 Insight.” Pete added; “We can talk to rather senior decision makers, even if it's to let them know what we’re thinking or tell them what our problems are. They are always willing to help. Just recently we had an open day here and I had quite a lengthy chat with Craig about all sorts of things.”

Ten years on from registering for 123insight both companies have doubled in size and still see significant benefits in the subscription model over the traditional approach of ‘high initial cost, maintenance, upgrade fees and consultancy’. Sean concluded; “The fact that I haven't actually done a comparison must say that we feel happy with it - we haven't felt the need to do that. We haven't seen significant cost increases over the last 10 years - it’s been pretty steady other than additional licences. It's been good.”

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