Case Study: Flowplant Ltd
The company had used a bespoke system for ten years but required realtime information and an integrated manufacturing and accounts solution. They selected 123insight and Access Accounts, which reduced their stockholding by £250k within 4 months and provided much better live information and reporting.
- Integrated ERP and Accounts solution using SQL database structure
- Stockholding reduced by £250,000 in just four months
- VAT returns are now completely automated
- Live data, available from any location in the business
Flowplant Group is Europe’s largest manufacturer of high pressure water jetting equipment. With over 30 years in the industry, its diverse client base has grown to include manufacturers (such as Rolls Royce and Corus), utility companies and government bodies (the MOD), alongside industrial cleaning companies.
For the past ten years, the group had been using a bespoke system to control all of its manufacturing and accounting processes. Under the pressures of the current manufacturing climate - and with ever increasing demand for real-time information - the limitations of this system were fast becoming apparent. Its operation, including the delivery of all reports, was dependent on a single in-house IT resource.
Group Finance Director, Mark Bastable, comments,“Ten years ago it was acceptable to wait a month for a report. Today, analytical decisions need to be made without delay. Our system was forcing people to make these decisions based on gut feeling, simply because the relevant information was not easily available. We knew we needed to source a replacement system.”
The evaluation process
After evaluation of various solutions on the market, the decision was made to implement 123insight. Mark explains, “Reality for small and medium sized manufacturers is that we do a bit of everything. It was evident that 123insight could mirror this way of working and accommodate our business processes. It wasn’t compartmentalized like other manufacturing solutions. 123 Insight Ltd suggested Access for our back office accounts and, within one month, we were live with a fully integrated system. As a small business, we could not afford excessive downtime so this implementation period was ideal. And both applications have proven themselves to be very intuitive, allowing any user with basic Windows experience to begin work immediately.”
Wide area network
The new system is networked across the company’s two sites in Salisbury and Birmingham, and two depots in Glasgow and Barking. Increased visibility over all operations Many of Flowplant’s sales orders are for large capital items made up of as many as 250 components, including pumps manufactured inhouse.
As a result, the company requires stock control facilities, quoting, bill of materials, MRP and scheduling functionality. All of this is delivered through 123insight. The 123insight system is pre-loaded with standard bills of materials. This means that material requirements, planning, scheduling and buying can all be automated. Standard lead times are also built in, enabling the system to prompt users when an order needs to be made up. Once details of the order are on the system, customer invoices are raised automatically.
Customer and supplier orders are updated into Access using Transaction Broker. This utility is set to run at intervals of 15 minutes, brokering any new transaction information straight into the accounts and completely eliminating the need for any re-keying. In this way, approximately 2,500 sales orders and 6,000 purchase orders enter the ledgers each month.
Access Dimensions MRP integration
Mark says, “Our new integrated 123insight and Access Accounts system has placed us in a better strategic position. Its reporting has given us greater visibility across our operations. This is improving our level of stock holding, driving down working capital and freeing up our cash flow. And our quotes are more competitive. They are based on accurate information and can be turned around in less than half the time it took previously.”
He continues, “Improved stock reporting means that we can see precisely what we have in stock, including component levels. This has enabled users to make analytical purchasing decisions straight away, rather than relying on gut feelings. After four months of using the system, we have already reduced our stock holding by £250,000.”
The integrated Access Accounts system now provides Flowplant with full management and financial accounting. Up-to-date trial balance, profit & Loss and Balance Sheet reports are available at any moment. Mark states, “I can now drill down within the accounts. I can conduct my queries on any account category. This was never possible before. Most importantly, I can operate the accounts from any location, so there are no restrictions on my working day.”
Mark comments further, explaining how VAT returns have been automated. “With Access Accounts, VAT returns are automatic. They take 5 minutes. It used to take me 2½ days! The first month using the system, I spent half a day checking the figures. Since then, I have enjoyed full confidence in the numbers Access produces.”
Mark concludes, “Using 123insight in conjunction with Access Accounts has enabled us to achieve the strategic goal of using information to create real operational benefits. Our people can now use our data in a positive way, to strengthen our decision making and improve our bottom line.”
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