Case Study: Refcool Refrigeration Ltd
Refcool previously relied on a series of Excel spreadsheets and paper-based systems. Stock was inaccurate, which had a knock on effect with lead times, and getting reliable information was problematic and time-consuming. After implementing 123insight in 2012 the company saw an increase in turnover with the same number of admin staff and now run the software across two locations. They employed staff from a previous 123insight user, with some having over 15 years of experience with the software. CRM+ is also the backbone of their sales and quality accreditation management.
- Turnover increased by 240% with same number of admin staff.
- Staff already had experience of 123insight in previous jobs for over 15 years.
- Refcool are running 123insight across two locations.
- 123insight Open Days provide an open forum for feature requests.
- CRM+ provides sales and quality functionality.
Refcool Refrigeration Ltd, based in Lower Swanwick, near Southampton, manufacture refrigeration units for OEM customers and bespoke projects. The company co-ordinates its service operation nationally from Southampton and has a manufacturing facility near Collumpton, Devon. Previously they relied on a combination of paper-based systems and Excel spreadsheets which caused several problems. Stock was inaccurate, which had a knock-on effect with lead-times, and getting reliable information was problematic and time-consuming. Rob Pritchard, Sales Director, commented; “It wasn’t very useful working this way across multiple sites. One person would make a change to a spreadsheet and other people would be looking at out of date information.”
Selection and implementation
The decision was made to implement an MRP system. During internal discussion it quickly became clear that there was already a lot of experience with 123insight, along with some negative experience of other systems. Said Rob; “Several of our colleagues had used 123insight in a previous company. They liked it and were familiar with it, which saved us a lot of time up front. Some had been using it for up to 15 years.” Jason Lamley, Engineering Design Manager added; “I’ve used a couple of other MRP systems in the past, and on both occasions they were replaced within several months as they weren’t delivering what the company had hoped.”
Key staff attended 123insight Evaluation Workshops in 2012. Jason felt that the event gave him enough information to make an informed decision; “It looked like the system could do everything that we needed it to do, and it was relatively easy to find your way around it. It was certainly better than the way we were doing things originally.”
The decision was quickly made to move forward with 123insight. The initial aim was to implement the system in the Devon manufacturing facility and then extend access into Southampton. Refcool registered to receive the software in October 2012 and staff attended the six days of No-Obligation Training the following month. Of the training Jason said; “I thought the training was exceptionally good. The documentation was also good for reference afterwards. I’ve only used it to look back on when I’ve had a few questions, but it doesn’t take new users long to get on board once they are in the right mindset.”
Go-live and immediate benefits
The company went live in April 2013 and immediately noticed benefits. Many of their bills of materials contain hundreds or even thousands of components, so purchasing and stock control became much easier. Lead times also became more accurate, as stock was available when required. Jason commented; “Since going live we can see exactly what’s going on, what’s in stock, where it is, which quotes are outstanding, invoices, etc. - all in one place. It was certainly smoother going from quote, works order and then onto invoice because you’re not repeating processes and there’s no room for error.”
Rob noted that there were knock-on benefits to the sales department; “It made lead times more accurate and predictable, and it has helped us to analyse costings and products as well. Many of our products change over time, and we can quickly modify a BOM and re-asses the costs, which also helps us to drive cost down.”
ISO accreditation and quality management
Refcool holds the ISO9000:2008 accreditation and has found that 123insight has been invaluable in making audits painless and significantly faster than before. Said Jason; “A lot of the work is already done for you, so it's just a case of printing out a few sheets when you get assessed. It takes a lot of the heartache out of it.”
The return on investment is very short for the level of investment we made. It’s within the first few months of use - almost instantaneous.
Although Refcool’s turnover has increased by 240% since implementation, stock has seen a nominal increase of just 28%. Jason noted that they now have believable data and are only stocking the items they need based on actual and projected sales; “Since implementation we now have accurate stock levels and stock that is actually useful.” Rob added; “It’s really down to the little bits and pieces that we have to buy in - literally thousands of them. The logistical management of that is a very difficult thing, but 123insight is like having an extra person there to do it all for you.”
After the success of the Devon implementation the decision was taken to extend 123insight’s reach into the Southampton facility, which took place in 2014. The server continued to reside in Devon with staff from the Southampton location accessing it via VPN. They are also taking advantage of 123insight’s accounts interfacing option to Sage 50, ensuring that data is passed cleanly through to accounts without double entry and the possibility for error.
Around the same time Refcool added 123insight’s CRM+ option, to aid Rob; “CRM+ was introduced about 3 years ago, specifically for my benefit to help drive sales forward. We're growing our database of potential clients quite significantly and we're using it for mailshots. As we expand we will use it more to remind people to do various tasks such as making follow-up calls as required.”
Refcool are well below the 123insight customer average of one call to the Help Desk per month. Confidence in a supplier is something that is important to them, and Rob felt that it was 123 Insight’s belief in their own product which gave him that reassurance whenever he called the HelpDesk; “Its the level of knowledge from staff that I find impressive. 123insight use the product themselves. It's not just a veneer of knowledge on the surface - it's real in-depth knowledge. Everyone that you talk to really believes in the product, and this gives you faith.” Jason added; “As soon as you ring them up you get an immediate response from somebody that knows what they are talking about.”
Having been a user of the system for several years, Refcool have attended several 123 Insight customer open days, where forthcoming developments are discussed and customer feedback is welcomed. Rob felt that this open approach was a refreshing change; “The events I’ve been to have been good, as they talk about real-world situations. They actually ask for feedback from users as to what could be improved - most companies would be very afraid to do that in an open forum.”
Since the initial implementation of 123insight the company has not needed to increase administration staff, despite the 240% turnover increase. Couple that with only a marginal increase in stock and Rob believes that the 123insight business model is a recipe for success. He concluded; “The return on investment is very short for the level of investment we made . It’s within the first few months of use - almost instantaneous.” Jason finalised; “The business model allows you to have a go without committing any money - just a bit of time to see if it will do the job for you.”
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