20th May 2014
Adapt EMS Ltd, formerly Weedon Electronics, based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, offers Electronic Manufacturing Services. MD Guy Janney explained; 'We purchased Weedon Electronics in 2006, alongside another company that was in administration, with the aim of merging them to give them a new lease of life. Weedon were using 123insight and the other company had an expensive MRP system costing £150k for the software with £120k of customisation. They wanted 20% per year for maintenance and were totally inflexible with licencing, insisting that we re-licence the product even though we bought the company. The software roadmap didn't look very impressive, but at the same time 123insight showed us their forthcoming version, which was a major redevelopment. This looked very appealing, particularly as there were no initial costs due to the subscription model.'
Before selecting 123insight Guy attended a user forum of the competing product; 'If I ever needed convincing not to stay with the software that did it. They were heavily criticised by existing users because of lack of development, unresolved issues etc. We could have also gone with neither system - we did look at the market and were met with the traditional MRP vendor model of expensive purchase , optimisation and support costs. Every time we added those up we came up with a six figure sum versus 123insight's straight subscription model.'
The company decided to select 123insight, migrating from version 4 to 5. 'We worked out an implementation plan which, after some initial mistakes on our side went extremely smoothly using 123insight's excellent data import toolkit.'
Adapt EMS went live across all departments, transferring basic static information across and migrating information across a section or product at a time. Guy noted; 'We have in excess of 20,000 parts, so to actually migrate all of those in one go and manage all the obsolescence is something that's very demanding for a small company. We ran the old and new systems in parallel; as old orders went through and came to a conclusion they ceased on the old system. It became very painless once we knew what we were doing, and we used the data import toolkit as a key part of that to take the data across, which worked extremely well. '
Several significant benefits were immediately apparent; 'What we noticed instantly was usability. People were able to use the system without all of them having to go on full training courses. The old system required four digit speed codes to get to various sections of it. Now people are just right-clicking on information, exporting spreadsheets of data, enquiring on parts and finding information - it was just a breath of fresh air. People weren't having to effectively escalate things to senior staff or engineers to find information. The whole visibility was just night and day compared to what we had before. Also, it ran on a straightforward Windows and SQL environment rather than a legacy mash-up of various environments.'
Guy attended training initially, but since 2006 several staff have attended the various courses that make up the 6 days of training that cover the system. Guy said that the training was received very enthusiastically; 'Without exception everyone said the training has been excellent. They found it enjoyable, and actually wanted to go back for more. That's not typical - some people will endure training and just see it as a day out, but people have come back very excited about it, wanting to try it out on the system and they've loved the fact that the training notes were available for them to take away. We particularly appreciate the ability to recreate a sample training database with a few mouse clicks, which means that someone can do a subsection of the training if they want to revisit something. In a similar vein we can just copy the main live database as a trial company - even a database of 1-2GB in size takes just a couple of minutes and we can then test to see what effect new ideas will have on live data. That flexibility is exceptional.'
Adapt EMS have taken advantage of 123insight's flexible licencing structure, allowing them to increase or decrease the number of licences in use on a month-by-month basis. Guy also appreciates the fact that 123insight is supplied complete, not modular; '123insight has helped us to find different ways to use the licences. For example, on our remote site we are using terminal server to access the 123insight database, which works absolutely fine. Managers can walk up to any terminal and do anything they want. You've also got an incredibly granular security module that can restrict people via login to any level that you want.'
In addition to ease of use there were some tangible savings made. Due to better identification and control of stock there was a 20% reduction, which equated to a £60k saving. The data import facility, so useful during initial migration, has also proven an important factor in their ability to respond to new enquiries. With BOMs often consisting of 150 lines containing up to 1000 parts, 123insight has provided tools to load jobs, run MRP, identify the requirements and generate purchase orders - all extremely quickly. Said Guy; 'When I talk to colleagues in the industry they are completely taken aback by the fact we can import a new job in seconds that would take them half a day. We derive great value from that and it gives us a great competitive edge in terms of responding quickly. That timeliness of response and efficiency is crucial to our business. With our old system we were lucky if we could get a job in within two days.'
Since migrating to version 5 in 2006 Adapt EMS have updated several times. Of the update process Guy stated; 'In a word: Flawless. Whenever there's a major update we are notified, we download it and get very clear instructions to install, and it goes absolutely seamlessly. We had one gremlin once and we received very prompt and capable support and were up and running again within an hour or so. It's a great credit for a modest sized company such as 123insight to deliver that level of reliability - it's a real achievement. The software is only part of it - we can access very capable support staff without having to go through several tiers of people to get answers. Without being too clichéd the support has been exemplary. We have great commercial support - I wish a lot more of our suppliers would offer that level of support as it's one of the strongest features of the business model. The other thing is that for a modest sized organisation the software stability and general lack of bugs is quite awe-inspiring and testament to the work done in software testing.'
Adapt EMS holds both ISO9001 and ISO13485 covering traceability to medical standards. During a recent quality assessment Guy noted that even the assessors appreciated 123insights advanced serial tracking; 'The assessors that came in at the time were thoroughly impressed with how effective the system was. It's a classic case of where 123insight have recognised the market they are in and the customers they serve, and we've seen many enhancements in the software over the last few years. We've adopted them and they are helping our business move forward.'
Adapt EMS have adopted 123insight's SDK and CRM+ options. SDK is being used to provide wireless kitting via tablet PCs, while Guy cites Adapt EMS as being one of the companies working with 123insight to develop its CRM+, which is currently being rolled out across the company; 'We were one of the initial customers working with 123insight to put in CRM+ functionality, as it's the main software we use to run our company and it makes all the sense in the world to have a straightforward CRM+ solution built in directly.'
The company has grown ten-fold since 2006, now turning over in excess of £5m. In that time they've spent less on 123insight's subscription than was originally spent on the competing product alone, not even taking the 20% annual maintenance into consideration. Guy is so happy with 123insight that he allows the company to host its Evaluation Workshops at his premises, which also provides prospective clients with an opportunity to see the software in operation live. 'We're just delighted with the software and we love the way the company runs. It's been a much better experience, plus as a company we haven't had to lay out that big initial financial investment .'