Case Study: Endeavour Speciality Chemicals Ltd
In 2004 Endeavour Speciality Chemicals needed to replace their ageing Lotus Approach database with an MRP system. After a consultant recommended 123insight they attended an Evaluation Workshop and quickly made the decision to select and implement it. Despite initial internal reservations about how an MRP system would benefit certain departments Endeavour went live company-wide and saw several benefits, including tight integration into a Quality Control system. This ‘10 Years On’ case study shows how 123insight has helped the company adapt.
- Live in just 4 months
- No increase in admin staff despite turnover trebling
- ’Implode’ feature allows staff to see which products a raw material is used in
- Significant reduction in paperwork and errors
- Less environmental waste
- QCDB batch testing saving one person’s time each week
- Stock accuracy improved
- Less than one call per month to the HelpDesk
Endeavour Speciality Chemicals, based in Daventry, Northamptonshire manufactures chemicals for the flavour and fragrance industry as well as for the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and materials sciences sectors. The company had originally created their own Lotus Approach database to handle areas such as stock and product information, but its structure posed problems. Said Kevin Wootton, System Administrator; “We’d used built in templates which we manipulated to fit the information we had, but it was clunky. There was a great potential for error as information had to be duplicated. You couldn’t trace from purchasing an item through to selling it. There was also no forward planning.”
Added Dr Stewart House, General Manager; “Our systems weren’t linked - they were very primitive. In our industry we have to be very reactive. If a customer called and said that we had a potential 10kg order we’d have to run down to the stock room, find the stock, weigh it and run back to give the answer.”
Selection and evaluation
At the time the company was employing a business consultant to help them streamline various areas. He recommended 123insight based on experience at other companies, so they attended an Evaluation Workshop. The decision was immediately made to move ahead with 123insight in April 2004 and key staff booked to attend training the following month.
Resistance to change is commonplace when implementing MRP, and Stewart noted that they were no exception; “At that moment in time we weren’t aware of how powerful a tool it was going to be for us. People weren’t used to being involved with a system spread throughout the company - R&D had a system and other departments would have separate systems. Not everyone could see what it would do for us.”
MRP data migration
The company set about reshaping their data using the 123insight Data Import Toolkit, going live on August 2nd - just two and a half months after completing training and less than four months from registering. Stewart did not recall any major issues; “It’s difficult to remember that far back (to 2004), but whatever small amount of pain we may have gone through at the time is long forgotten.”
Immediately the company started to see benefits. Everyone was now using a common interface, with information only being input once. Jaspreet Bajwa, R&D Sales Co-ordinator commented; “The interface is absolutely clear, and it stops me needing to make internal phone calls to different departments or relying on others to provide me with information. As a result we can respond faster to our customers, and in some instances we can predict their requirements and how we can meet them based on being able to instantly review their sales history.”
If you ask any of the dept heads within the company now I don’t think they could see life without 123insight. It’s so instrumental to the way we perform.
The move to digital
Paperwork saw a drastic reduction, as information could be viewed company-wide on-screen rather than being printed and physically passed between departments. Added Stewart; “The more bits of paper that go round an organisation, the more chances there are for error. Someone could be on holiday or the chain could be too long. 123insight cuts through all of that.” Quoted lead times are also more accurate, as stock and supplier information can now be relied upon. Many stock items have expiry dates, but as Endeavour now has tight control over these they have significantly reduced the need to throw expired chemicals away, which has positively impacted the company, both environmentally and financially. Stewart noted; “Waste is very expensive to deal with and we as a company have environmental responsibilities. We regularly review out of date materials and we can control it effectively with 123insight.”
Endeavour has taken advantage of 123insight’s scalable licencing after being acquired by Robinson Brothers in 2008, adding new licences so that staff at the parent company could access information. Jaspreet commented; “I’m based at our West Bromwich site, and I can access the same information, track orders or stock at either location. This has been great in reducing the time spent researching and also in removing the potential for error.”
Quality management through SDK integration with batch testing
As Endeavour’s products are used in the food industry quality is paramount. In addition to 123insight being the backbone for the company’s ISO9001:2008 accreditation they also decided to interface their batch testing via 123insight’s SDK (Software Development Kit) into a bespoke system written by 123insight partner Solweb. Batches are tested to confirm that chemicals fall within defined parameters. Staff perform the test and enter the data into the QCDB (Quality Control Database), with relevant labels printed based on the finished product. The criteria to test each product is predetermined, such as expiry date, which automatically selects relevant batches from 123insight for testing. Once approved, Certificates of Analysis can be automatically produced and emailed to relevant people. 123insight’s SDK ensures that whatever software updates occur in the future on either product the link between the two will remain unbroken. Stewart noted; “Regulations have become tighter and customer expectations have grown. In this world where we have to be very safety conscious and with a big drive on natural chemicals, we have to protect our business by ensuring that we are measuring residues, solvent levels, etc. The integrated system that we now have helps us maintain our business.” Shawn Dilley, Quality Manager added; “There were so many jobs that the system took care of that it saved us a full week of one person’s time.”
Benefits through new releases
Endeavour has been a user of 123insight since version 4. Now on version 10, they have seen a number of benefits in later software releases. Features such as being able to ‘implode’ from a raw chemical to see which finished products it is contained in have proved essential in being able to respond quickly to quality audits.
Always looking for further improvements, the company did evaluate writing a bespoke system to see whether further improvements could be made, but the idea was quickly discounted. Said Stewart; “We went through the initial process of looking at costs but they didn’t really add up. 123insight has far more benefits than writing a bespoke system that might be seen to be more applicable to our business. To design something like that costs an extortionate amount.”
Support: Less than one call per month
Endeavour is well below the 123insight customer average of one call to the HelpDesk per month, with an average of around eight calls per year. Kevin noted that most of the calls were to clarify how to perform specific tasks; “The HelpDesk is very efficient. I always get a great response and any questions are answered effectively.” Regular Customer Care visits also ensure that they are getting the most out of the software.
Turnover has trebled over the last decade, yet the number of admin staff has remained the same, which Stewart believes is because of the streamlining of all processes that 123insight has delivered; “If you asked any of the department heads within the company now, I don’t think that they could see life without 123insight. It’s so instrumental to the way we perform. We’re just used to having that information at our fingertips now.” Kevin concluded; “You can see exactly what the situation is at any point across the whole company. Previously we were almost blinkered.”
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