For Immediate Release
4th January 2011
DRM Industrial Fabrics Ltd, based in Bury, Lancashire, was relying on an ageing in-house developed FoxPro database to provide basic MRP functionality. After the developer left, the company investigated several replacements but were wary of the large initial outlay traditionally associated with such software. Managing Director Peter McGuinness cited; "We spent a lot of time looking at different providers, talking to people and attending trade shows. We'd had a bad experience previously of purchasing a major software system - the company was then acquired and subsequently went out of business, so I wanted to ensure that when we chose someone we had their assured attention for as long as we ran the software."
DRM found 123insight at a local trade event in 2007 and attended an Evaluation Workshop. Peter liked the relaxed approach; "The workshop approach was good, particularly because there was no risk. It was a free environment, with other potential customers there that we could talk freely to. It convinced us enough that 123insight was something we should be seriously considering."
After attending the Evaluation Workshop Peter discussed 123insight with colleagues Paula Heap, Head of IT, and Kath Coulson, Manufacturing Manager. They had looked at several other systems costing up to £30,000 with annual maintenance at around £5000, however Peter had other causes for concern; "We heard plenty of stories of people who bought software to do a job but once it'd been paid for and installed the software company would just walk away from problems. I went to one customer reference site without the vendor present and spent two hours drinking tea while a staff member was on the phone with support trying to get the software to work. And this was seven months after they went live."
All three attended the no obligation training in May 2007, understanding that if they decided not to move ahead with 123insight they would not have to pay for the training received. Added Peter; "The no obligation training gave us the ability for all three of us to go to a training event when we had, at that stage, not made a final decision to go with 123insight."
The decision was made to select 123insight immediately after training and an implementation structure was set out. Initially DRM planned to go live in October, but after finding out that they could not get their data out of their previous system they embarked on a manual data cleansing and transfer procedure, planning to go live in December, which also coincided with their financial year end. The server hardware was installed by 123insight Authorised Partner BlueChip.
The company went live in mid December 2007 across all departments, with shopfloor data capture being added later on. Immediately the amount of paper produced was reduced considerably. Paula recalled; "When we despatched items through FoxPro we had to print out four different coloured sheets for different departments - now everything is on the same paperwork or visible on screen. Also, we saw massive benefits in stores. We had more accurate control of stock stored in metres as we can specify the number of decimal points stock is stored to. You can also specify when certain stock, such as fast moving items is checked."
Purchasing was made significantly easier, as the system intelligently updates all relevant parts of the system when a process occurs. Paula explained; "Previously we would raise a purchase order in one part of the system, go back to the stock system to tell it that we'd raised it, then when it came in we had to book it in both places. With 123insight the purchase order is raised, it's shown in stock that it's raised and you book it in just once."
Although Kath and Paula provided downstream training in-house they were surprised by the feedback that came from staff over time, especially when searching for data. Kath noted; "On 123insight there's many different ways to get to the same goal when searching. Everyone's found their own way. Some do it through 'Add/Edit Parts', while others do it through the CRM. They marvel at it and they constantly show us new things they've found." Kath added; "If you look at a works order on screen you can drill down to what the status is with any purchase orders and stock. You don't have to bother anyone else to find out when items are due in as everything's available on screen. CRM has also been very useful for all sales-related enquiries."
The ability to change a bill of material at any stage was also beneficial. Said Paula; "Previously if we had a part number in FoxPro and had a size or colour change we had to create a new part number. In 123insight you can amend the existing part number." Kath added; "For live orders you'd have to complete the works order, put stock back in, take it back out - with 123insight you don't have to do any of that."