Case Study: Materials Solutions Ltd
Founded in 2006 after receiving DTI and AWM funding, the company wanted a system to run their manufacturing from the outset., based on the directors' previous experience. They saw 123insight at Sheffield Hallam Uni, and were live on the system within two months of starting implementation. They are using 123insight's CRM capabilities to implement some of their QA systems, and the system is now a core part of their accreditations for aerospace, automotive and medical industries.
- Live within two months
- Selected by experienced users over other systems
- 123insight is the core platform for accreditation
- CRM option allows for QA workflow control
- Scalable licencing
- Recommended to other user, also now live
- Shop floor data capture
Materials Solutions, based in Birmingham, is an application centre for the utilisation of advanced materials, currently focussed on metal laser deposition technology. The company was founded late 2006 after receiving DTI and AWM funding. Gordon Green, Director of Engineering explained; “Carl Brancher, MD and myself both came from larger organisations to form this company. We had previously successfully implemented large scale MRP systems and pretty much knew the level of functionality that we would need going forward, so made some enquiries. One of my ex-colleagues recommended 123insight”
The evaluation and selection process
Gordon attended an Evaluation Workshop held at Sheffield University in December 2006. “The product seemed to tick all of the boxes in terms of functionality. We were attracted to the subscription model, as when you are starting a business you want to keep an eye on the cashflow. After the workshop I decided to attend the user training, by which point I was happy to make the decision to go forward with 123insight. As we were limited in numbers I did not want to get drawn into a long evaluation, so I was looking for a way to truncate the process. Many systems appeared to be a mish-mash of acquisitions, with one module having a completely different look and feel to another. 123insight appeared to be a modern application written for modern Windows usage, which delivered what we needed for our business. We didn’t get much further than looking at CDs and web demos of other systems. The thing that swung it was the subscription, which was attractive and fairly unusual.”
In January 2007 Gordon attended the one-day administration and implementation courses, and also attended the user training with a colleague. Approved Partner Blue Chip were used to install the SQL server. Gordon noted; “The training was very good; very focussed and well structured. We then did our own internal training using the materials provided. Blue Chip were also very good. They identified exactly what we needed, installed the SQL Server and also set up 123insight for us as well.In March we implemented a pilot scheme, deciding on how we wanted to structure the data.”
The attractive feature of the CRM module within 123insight was the workflow. We've already recommended 123insight to a company in our industry who are just going live. The system allows us to work in parallel rather than a sequential fashion and will be a key part of our future business growth and accreditation processes.
Go-live and benefits
The company went live in May 2007 across all departments, including shopfloor data capture to track real time location of orders. As the company had few procedures in place their reliance on paper was already low, but 123insight provided immediate benefits. “If you look around our offices you won’t find many filing cabinets. The system works in a way that is very transparent, and allows us to work as a team on the same information.” Many customers require customised documentation, such as despatch notes or Certificates of Conformity, which Gordon says 123insight has assisted with; “Some of our customers have requested bespoke documents in order to comply with their own QA requirements. After the admin training course we were easily able to do this ourselves.”
In such a specialised field accreditation and traceability is a core necessity for the business. Said Gordon; “From the outset it was clear that our main business would come from aerospace, automotive and medical industries, all of which are heavily QA oriented, so we identified that we would need to have accreditation for ISO9001. A functioning MRP system is an essential platform for the development of many of these procedures. Rather than inventing paper systems I knew that 80% of compliance could be achieved by using an MRP system and documenting what you are doing. Following the implementation of 123insight in May 2007 we received our accreditation in December the same year. We then went on to be the only Rolls Royce approved supplier in our technology field, and over the next couple of years intend to use the 123insight software as a platform to acquire AS9100 aerospace and ISO13485 medical standards.”
Integrated CRM option
Materials Solutions are also using the 123insight CRM module, however Gordon states that its use is far from that of client relationship management; “We don’t have a large requirement for traditional CRM. The attractive feature of the CRM module within 123insight was the workflow. We saw this as a good way of implementing some of the QA systems. A classic example recently was our contract review process, which had several people working in parallel. Each one can mark off their element as complete, which everyone else can see. Nobody has to go chasing around the office for a folder - it gives us a good framework to hang off a collection of documents in a way that is easy to audit.”
The company has already taken advantage of 123insight’s flexible licensing, increasing the number of licenses as required, and has ambitious growth plans. Gordon finalised; “Our aim is to double our head count in two years and to pioneer new technologies. We’ve already recommended 123insight to a company in our industry who are just going live. The system allows us to work in parallel rather than a sequential fashion and will be a key part of our future business growth and accreditation processes.”
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