For Immediate Release
27th May 2010
PB Design & Development Ltd, based in Clevedon, Somerset manufactures power critical battery chargers for applications such as railways, and serves many blue chip companies. After a management buyout in 2007 and subsequent business growth, MD Tim Broomfield identified that the company needed to upgrade or replace their existing legacy data system. Upgrading proved prohibitively expensive, so he started to research the market.
"We'd been using our legacy system for about ten years and had outgrown it. It really didn't have any MRP features. I was recommended to 123insight by Richard Battersby. He was the chairman for our previous systems' user group and currently MD of Carter-Wells Business Solutions Ltd. I knew Richard to be very professional, even and objective, so when he recommended it I listened. I attended an Evaluation Workshop in June 2009. What I found very interesting and novel is that you didn't have to pay up front for the software. Instead of paying tens of thousands we just paid a rental price similar to that of the maintenance we paid for the legacy system. That, coupled with no contract with 123insight means you can leave it at any time."
After attending the workshop Tim ruled out exploring alternative systems and committed to 123insight, deciding to attend the no obligation training later that month; "Remarkably we didn't look at any other systems because of the proposition that 123insight offers, from the reassurance I got from Richard Battersby and the awards that they'd won. I used to be a Financial Director - I am not a person that makes decisions lightly or quickly, and that was quite an unusual thing for me to do. You could go on for months or years deliberating about making a decision. Even if you did I'm not absolutely sure you would make a better one. I took the decision and I'm glad I did!"
PB Design set out a three month implementation plan. Four staff were trained and they enlisted the assistance of Carter-Wells, who assisted with downstream training and assigned a professional to help with data migration. They also linked 123insight to their Sage accounts system using AAI (Advanced Accounts Interface). Tim noted that while any MRP migration is a large task the process was smooth; "I can't say it wasn't without a lot of effort, which is what you would expect, but 123insight did make it as easy as possible to transfer the data. So within 4 months of hearing about 123insight we were live on the 5th October."
After going live Tim was expecting teething problems, specifically with staff that had limited computer experience, but these did not materialise; "I was pleasantly surprised that the people in our production team picked it up very quickly. I was slightly worried that this might be an issue - these weren't people that would have been dealing with computers in the past. It took very little of our time to train them and there were very few problems."
Within weeks the company saw several significant improvements. Paper usage was massively reduced, as items such as invoices and purchase orders could now be automatically emailed and had full traceability. Tim commented; "As it's in an SQL database it's retaining this information indefinitely so in terms of document management it's much easier - you don't need to be thinking about where you store documents - they are just there...."
Leadtimes saw a massive improvement, being reduced from up to 16 weeks to between 4-8 weeks. Tim cited 123insight's MRP processes and the system's visibility as key factors; "Previously it wasn't until quite late in the cycle that we could provide the customer with an accurate delivery time, which may be later than we expected or wished. With 123insight everything is on the system as soon as we raise the order, so the buyer is able to action any requirements within 5 days while other manufacturing processes are taking place ."
Tim's own workload was positively impacted, as previously he spent a day each week mining data to identify demand and shortages. With 123insight's reporting and the ability to link to Excel he has created pivot tables which provide him with all the information he needs within half an hour. However, he was most impressed with 123insight's Structures; "Essentially this is bills of material and routings. It's very good visually, very simple to understand. In the past you tended to get hierarchical type screens. You can see it all there; add a part, change a part, you can do a trial kit, cost it, change the exchange rate, you can do all sorts of stuff - it's absolutely amazing."
Despite the recession the company has grown 10% and 30% in the last two years respectively with the same number of staff, halved leadtimes, improved delivery date reliability and improved on their ISO9001 customer commitment. Tim finalised; "In terms of ROI, 123insight has enabled us to grow such that the bottom line has gone up by 50% in the last two years, so you can do your own calculations. With the legacy system we were at its limits. Before I would not have been confident about our growth as we would have had restrictions based on the capability of the legacy system. Now we have a system that allows us to grow much further."