Case Study: Polyseam Ltd
Polyseam is unusual in that they have a number of mixing machines which can manufacture the same product, but the methods of manufacture would differ depending on which one is used. Their existing Dos based system was complex and expensive to support/modify. They selected 123insight over systems costing £90k after seeing the system at Huddersfield Uni. Stockholding reduced by 60%, with inaccuracies massively reduced. They now also run FIFO stock control.
- Can create different BOM routes for same product
- Stock reduced by 60%
- Stock accuracy improved from 88 to 99.9%
- Live visibility of info such as daily profit analysis
- Now run FIFO stock
- Saw 123insight through University and Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)
- Chose 123insight over systems costing £90k
- Less than one support call every two months
Polyseam Limited, based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, manufactures private label sealants, adhesives and fillers. Their manufacturing process is unusual in that they have a number of mixing machines which can manufacture the same product, but the methods of manufacture would differ depending on which one is used. For example, the amount of water added or mixing time can change significantly between machines. Their existing production control system was more of a financial package which had been modified to suit their needs, but it was DOS-based and expensive to support, so the company set about evaluating MRP systems to replace it.
Neil Sutulic, IT Manager said; “We were paying up to £3500 per year for customisation on top of the annual maintenance. We also had several other in-house databases, which resulted in a lot of duplicate entry, leading to errors. As options were added to the system over the years, menus became impossible to navigate. Reporting was difficult as you had to export all of the data you needed and then filter it through Excel, rather than just generate the report .”
Polyseam investigated two other systems in detail, costing up to £90,000 for the software and installation, but even then it was not meeting all of their needs. “We were looking for a lighter system that could be supported internally, which narrowed our search down to SQL-based MRP systems.”
Having initially seen 123insight at Huddersfield University, with whom Polyseam have Knowledge Transfer Partnership links, they were invited to see the latest version in Rotherham. Neil added; “We were very impressed. It was already covering a lot of the things the other systems hadn’t thought of. We needed a system that would allow for different bill of materials and different methods of production for the same products - whilst 123insight did not do this we had a meeting with the team there, and it was agreed that this feature would be developed for the next release. We also liked the fact that we could test the suitability of the system without a massive initial outlay as we had no guarantee of success. We’ve made mistakes with software in the past that we were then stuck with. For us the most important thing was the continual development of the product, with us having a say in its direction. It’s not just a system that you buy and then have to pay for the upgrade. 123 Insight Ltd has to be trustworthy and consistent because their business model does not tie customers into the product.”
Polyseam runs two divisions within the company - one that fully manufactures products and one purely handling filling, or ‘build to stock’. They decided to test-run the system on the filling division whilst the next release of 123insight was developed to support their requirements. The decision was made in November 2005, with Neil attending the five days of training, and then providing down-stream training in-house using the provided electronic training documentation. “We took a single license initially which we tested to destruction. This allowed us to see exactly what was needed to be changed in the software. There was also a minor issue of additional decimal places being required, as we can often use very small quantities - 1.5 tonnes of mix may require 0.25g of dye. This was increased in the next release.”
We have year on year growth plans of 20%... ... now I can tell each day the amount of profit made - live.
Polyseam took the opportunity to take time to cleanse the data before transferring it to the new system, and, after installing their SQL server in-house went live on 123insight in July 2006. Immediately stock control saw substantial improvements. Stockholding was reduced from around £700,000 to less than £260,000.Stock inaccuracies were also massively reduced. Previous stock checks indicated stock accuracy was as low as 88%. After 123insight this was improved to over 99.9% accuracy. Stores could now operate on a FIFO (first in, first out) basis, with batch numbers also being used. Neil added; “Our stores now runs more like a supermarket, with the oldest product automatically being used first, both on the raw materials and the finished goods.”
A further benefit of the implementation was 123insight’s margin control. Neil added; “We sell to depots of major companies, and we can now see live which orders are making more money, shipping times etc. If someone has a higher value order we can see if we can provide free delivery.”
Polyseam uses Sage Line 50, so took advantage of the Advanced Accounts Interface provided by Applied Business Solutions. The interface was installed by Neil and up and running within minutes; “All we had to do was set up currency conversions, as all nominal mappings were carried over automatically. I provided ten minutes in-house training and that was it. In two years we’ve had one question on it, which was resolved immediately over the phone.”
Support requirements of the system have been minimal with an average of around one call every two months, usually answered during the same call. Polyseam used 123insight’s remote support facility on one occasion, which quickly identified a PC configuration issue that was unrelated to the MRP software. The company now also utilise a VPN to let specific staff remotely access data. Previously this was not possible due to the size of the DOS-based databases and the fragmented nature of their data.
In May 2008 Polyseam upgraded their server using approved partner BlueChip in anticipation of an upgrade to the latest version of 123insight. This will be rolled out across the entire company so that they can take full advantage of the alternate routing and bill of materials control. Neil concluded; “123insight’s pricing is very open and clear, which put me at ease. I have no problem to spend money but I like to know what I am spending it on. We have year on year growth plans of 20%. 123insight will be rolled out across all areas of our business, and will allow me to go back to focussing on our IT infrastructure rather than having to get involved in day to day production issues. Reporting is much quicker and stronger. Previously we waited until end of quarter to establish our profitability. Now I can tell each day the amount of profit made - live. ”
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