Case Study: Toucan Systems Ltd

Having upgraded to the latest Windows version of their former manufacturing system in July 2007 they were told a few months later that the system was no longer being developed. They selected 123insight over systems costing upwards of £40k and were live within seven weeks of attending the workshop. During the two-week implementation they called on support just once. Since go-live they have massively reduced their reliance on paper and have excellent product batch traceability.

Toucan Systems Electronics EMS MRP software case study
  • Live in just 7 weeks
  • Replaced system withdrawn from market
  • Selected over systems costing £40k
  • Two-week implementation period with 1 support call
  • Excellent traceability
  • Paper usage reduced
  • Downstream training done in-house
  • Smooth upgrade between versions

Toucan Systems Ltd, based in Abertillery, Gwent, designs and manufactures specialist electronic equipment. Founded in 1986 and with a staff of 16 they had been using an MRP system since the early 1990's. Having upgraded in 2007 to the latest Windows version they were told a few months later that the product was being withdrawn from the market and had the difficult choice of either staying with an unsupported system or investing in an alternative solution.

Said David Wakeling, Managing Director; “The previous system worked quite well. It was a bit ‘DOS’sy in its appearance so we upgraded to the latest Windows offering, which was easier to use but the functionality remained the same. It wasn’t perfect but we could tweak it to do what we needed. Then we were told that the company were no longer continuing to develop the product, which was the kiss of death. We thought long and hard about whether we just bumbled along with it but decided that we would have to do something sooner or later, so we decided to do it sooner.”

David started looking at alternative systems but quickly found them to be expensive, and all with a similar sales approach to prospects; “We started looking around at what was available, also talking to other users of our previous system, one of which recommended 123insight. At this stage we’d looked at 3-4 other systems, which were all costing between £20-40k up front. Sales people would come to our office to look at what we required. There would then be a lot of sucking of teeth, wondering how they can shoe-horn what we required to work within their system. The implication being that we would have to change the way we work to fit their system. Many features that we needed were not standard, which drastically added to the cost and it would have become a bespoke system. Then of course you have all of the support costs... 123insight were doing something completely different; they say ‘This is what we are offering - does it work for you?’ It’s a refreshing attitude to this sort of product.”

ISO9000 is an ambition and certainly the traceability aspect of 123insight was a main reason for selecting it. We didn’t anticipate how useful it would become to us. The low startup cost is very significant when we compared it with any other MRP system we found out there. I think that 123insight has a unique offering.

David Wakeling - MD
David Wakeling - Managing Director, Toucan Systems

After attending an Evaluation Workshop in early June 2008 the company decided to take up 123insight’s offer of risk free, ‘no obligation’ training later that month. Two staff attended the training on the understanding that if they decided the product was not suitable for their needs they could walk away at no cost. Once completed David was satisfied that 123insight met Toucan’s needs and registered to receive the software. “We spent the next five weeks configuring our server and working out how we wanted to implement the system, and then just two weeks to import the data. They showed us the methods of importing data and it did not take long to modify our existing system to export the data virtually in the right format. During the implementation we only phoned support once to clarify how to perform a certain task. We went live in early August across all departments. The plan was to run the two systems in parallel but it was very rapidly decided that it would be a waste of time as 123insight worked.”

Coming from an already advanced MRP system Toucan did not expect to see any further benefits, however some quickly became apparent. The amount of paper produced, Goods Return notes in particular, was significantly reduced, as orders could be consolidated, and documents could be emailed or faxed electronically. Batch traceability also provided major benefits; “When we get a delivery a batch number is assigned which stays with the components until they are used and despatched. Previously we were tracking that using paper, which we have now been able to abandon.”

In early 2009 the company upgraded to version 7, which David cites as being seamless; “It couldn’t have been dramatic as I can’t remember much about it - we just received a disc, went round to each PC and updated it. As the system is very intuitive it was straightforward.”

Although the recession has delayed some of Toucan’s expansion plans for the future the company still has ambitious growth plans. David finalised; “ISO9000 is an ambition and certainly the traceability aspect of 123insight was a main reason for selecting it. We didn’t anticipate how useful it would become to us. The low startup cost is very significant when we compared it with any other MRP system we found out there. I think that 123 Insight Ltd has a unique offering.”

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