Case Study: I M Kelly R & A Ltd
Previously relying on Sage accounts and a series of spreadsheets, I M Kelly R & A Ltd (formerly Cobra Design Centre Ltd) implemented 123insight in just 4 weeks. They have seamless integration into Sage through AAI, reduced stockholding by 40%, utilise VPN to access the system remotely and now have traceability for their ISO 9001 quality standard accreditation.
- Implemented in 4 weeks
- Seamless Sage integration
- Stock reduced by 40%
- Only 8 support calls since going live
- Live across all departments from day one
- Fast VPN allows staff to work remotely
- Low monthly subscription
I M Kelly Rail, formerly Cobra Design Centre Ltd, based in Towcester, Northants are suppliers of new and refurbished interior products for the rail industry. Previously they relied on their Sage accounting software and a collection of spreadsheets to handle their manufacturing. This was initially suitable as their business was contract-based for single customers, with contracts lasting up to two years. As the business grew deliveries became more scheduled-based and components became common across different customers, which was difficult to track. Said Keith Griffiths, Director; “Although we had stock control within Sage it couldn’t really cope with manufacturing. We were tracking the long-term contracts on spreadsheets. Sage was fine for the one-off orders but as we started to increase the product range we recognised that we needed manufacturing control.”
The MRP evaluation process
In 2006 they decided to evaluate the market. In addition to investigating the manufacturing module for their accounts system they also considered several other packages, costing up to £15,000 with training, consultancy, installation and maintenance bringing the figure closer to £30,000. Keith added; “I came across 123insight online and booked up to attend one of their Evaluation Workshops in June 2006. It was very novel and something that we were not used to. I came away feeling that I almost knew how to use the system without training. I took the multimedia DVD back for other staff to review and we attended a second workshop in October.”
The decision was made to select 123insight in January 2007. Five staff attended the no-obligation training. Said Keith; “We employed someone that would be dedicated to implementing and running the MRP system. The courses were great - even one of our staff who was not very PC literate didn’t have any issues with it. We also provided some downstream training in-house, segregating staff by department and performing training specific to them using the documentation provided by 123 Insight Ltd. They were itching to get going with the system so we decided go live in one hit across all departments. The biggest delay for us was installing the new server and PC hardware - this was done in May, after which we started implementation. We followed the plan provided on the implementation course, which was very straightforward. We also made a decision to start with completely clean data, so performed a stock check and only entered the new data onto the system.”
Linking MRP to Sage accounts
To provide integration between 123insight and Sage Accounts I M Kelly purchased the Advanced Accounts Interface from 123insight Approved Partner Applied Business Solutions. This provided a seamless interface and removed the need to duplicate data, also automatically providing Sage with relevant the newly cleaned data from 123insight. A range of reports were also provided with AAI to give an audit trail of transactions and data validation results.
We chose 123insight because it was not overly complicated. Although it did everything you could pick and choose what you wanted to use and it did not affect the whole system if you chose not to use an element. The system was also far more cost-effective to obtain. The other systems we looked at started out at up to £30,000 but this reduced rapidly when we negotiated. Even the lease-based products were working out 3-4 times more expensive than 123insight.
Live in one month
Within a month of starting the implementation process they were live across all departments. Having performed several MRP implementations in the past Keith was surprised at how easy the process was; “My previous experience was that MRP implementations took a long time and required a lot of people. The implementation of 123insight was almost just a part of the normal working day and took very little time to do. During the implementation process we also had very little need for technical support from 123 Insight Ltd. In fact we have only had eight support calls since going live, all of which were ‘how do I do this’ questions which were answered in a few minutes over the phone.”
The company went went live across all departments in June 2007 without issues; “Our MRP guy acted as a focal point for any issues. Normally what you get after the implementation of a new system is ‘we’re not sure about this’, but after a couple of weeks of going live people were saying ‘why didn’t we have this before?’”
Massive stock reductions
In the months after going live I M Kelly noticed a number of benefits and savings. Stockholding reduced by over 40% from £160,000 to under £100,000. Keith said; “The stock reduction was a huge benefit to us as it also helped with the accuracy as well. For many customers we have to operate a ‘just in time’ delivery. We kit parts to meet train build requirements - if we don’t deliver that stops the train being finished. 123insight helps us to meet these demands. Accuracy in general is better as data is not duplicated. Overall control is better - previously we had to book goods in from one location. Now we can book goods in from various terminals within the company. ”
I M Kelly are approved to ISO9001 and also have various rail approvals which are required to work with some of the major companies in the rail industry. “It's important to show the control when we are audited, and that's where 123 helps – it's written into our quality manual.”
123insight is written using the latest .NET technologies and uses highly optimised code. I M Kelly previously used a VPN to access their Sage accounting software, but found it slow. When using the same VPN to connect to 123insight staff commented that it worked very smoothly, allowing staff to access the complete system remotely if required.
In recent years I M Kelly has been broadening their product range and also expanding into new geographical markets. Keith concluded; “Previously most of our products were aimed at underground trains, but now we are catering for more overground products as well, having recently won contracts in Germany and Ireland. We chose 123insight because it was not overly complicated. Although it did everything you could pick and choose what you wanted to use and it did not affect the whole system if you chose not to use an element. The system was also far more cost-effective to obtain. The other systems we looked at started out at up to £30,000 but this reduced rapidly when we negotiated. Even the lease-based products were working out 3-4 times more expensive than 123insight. We plan to perform much more cost analysis in the future, and will also integrate barcode scanning on the shop floor.”
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