Production control system

Modular software allows sub-contract machinist to ‘tune’ the system to suit its requirements

Posted on 16 Mar 2017 and read 1548 times
30 PSL sub5Dunstable-based Sub-CNC Precision — a privately owned sub-contractor specialising in the machining of high-quality turned and milled components — has invested in new production control software to provide greater control over the business, improve efficiency and save time while maintaining a highly reliable service in terms of both product quality and customer satisfaction.

Over the last five years, the company has invested in the latest production technology and remote-monitoring services — including CCTV and machine diagnostics — to support unmanned machining. Its investment in software from Bracknell-based PSL Datatrack ( for stock control, work in progress and scheduling control, as well as other administration tasks, is now making a major contribution to its on-going success.

Sub-CNC supplies turned parts in high volumes and provides a stock-holding service for its customers. This has proved popular, particularly over the last 18 months, helping the company to secure longer-term orders and giving customers the benefit of next-day deliveries, plus cost reductions for higher volumes. The latest Citizen and Miyano machine tools allow it to achieve competitive cycle times, while PSL Datatrack ensures efficient workload planning.

Before investing in PSL Datatrack, Sub-CNC used a combination of Word and Excel files to manage the administration of its business. This required a lot of repetitive data entry and was very time-consuming; and as the business grew, the system became increasingly error prone — even for simple tasks such as producing delivery notes and certificates of conformity.

Company director George Dingley says: “By the end of 2014, the order throughput and document management of our thriving business had become a handful, so we decided to install PSL Datatrack. To have accurate data, a complete component stock list and a stream-lined delivery process was very appealing. I had used a different system at a previous company; we also had an on-line demonstration of another, but we felt that neither of those focused on what we were trying to achieve. We wanted a system designed for our business, not some huge management system with every bell and whistle — plus a long learning curve for our staff.”

Both PSL Datatrack and Sub-CNC Precision are members of the BTMA; and while preliminary discussions had already taken place, it was at a MACH exhibition that Mr Dingley had the opportunity to assess PSL Datatrack in detail and appreciate the flexibility the software offered — particularly the ability to add features and modules to the system as and when a need arose. PSL Datatrack also helped Sub-CNC to gain grant funding towards installing the system.

Second nature

Sub CNC director Yian Stavrou says: “The system is very logical; and even though our staff needed to familiarise themselves with it, we were quickly ‘up and running’ with PSL Datatrack’s help. Indeed, the system soon became second nature to them. As a smaller company, we also like the fact that there is no ‘fat’ in the software, and no unnecessary areas of the software to distract users.”

31 PSL small 2Sub-CNC invested in modules to control quotations, sales and purchase-order processing, works orders, material stock, component stock, delivery notes and invoicing. Mr Stavrou says: “Having total control and traceability over every aspect of putting a job through the workshop is a major advantage. There are time savings at every corner, and ISO 9001 recertification, which is vital to the company, is now ‘a breeze’. The flexibility and timesaving offered by the quotations module is a major benefit. We often get price-break requests on the same part; before PSL Datatrack, these would often sit waiting, as the effort required to work them out was considerable. This module alone has saved us a lot of time, and I’m confident we are winning more work because we are simply quoting more.”

Converting quotations into job cards has provided another huge time saving. These cards used to be generated manually in Word and would invariably wait until there was a window of spare time for someone to devote to the task. In extreme cases, it could take two weeks out of a four-week lead time before the job card was available on the shopfloor. Orders are now processed within minutes of them arriving and are acknowledged, so that customers know they are being dealt with promptly.

PSL Datatrack provided comprehensive support to Sub-CNC at all stages of the purchase and implementation process, particularly to ensure that external documentation was clear and well presented. “Nothing was too much bother for the PSL Datatrack team, who designed the layouts to fit our needs. We were even able to have alterations made after the installation, as our ideas evolved. We are now considering buying additional modules.”

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