Keeping production under control at Water Tecnik

Water Tecnik achieved major savings within just one month of going live with its new MRP system

Posted on 21 May 2019 and read 550 times
Keeping production under control at Water TecnikCounty Down-based Water Tecnik Ltd designs and manufactures industrial effluent treatment systems at its facility in Camlough.

When the company was established in 2014, it used a combination of spreadsheets and paper-based systems.

Engineering manager Seamus McAleenan said: “We only had three employees and really had no administration system.

“A lot of our admin was handled with spreadsheets or was in people’s heads. We had problems such as ‘have we ordered stock?’ or ‘has it been delivered?’; and our bills of materials were really non-existent.”

Although the company started with manual processes, the aim was always to implement a material requirements planning (MRP) system, using its existing processes as a template.

Mr McAleenan said: “Even though we were a very small firm, we knew from our experiences at other companies that things can quickly get out of control.”

Already aware of 123insight, Water Tecnik called Ulster-based QMS Insight Ltd (www.qm-systems.net) and attended an evaluation workshop conducted by managing director Drew McCoubrey.

Mr McAleenan added: “We quickly realised that the system met all of our needs, and the subscription model was also very attractive.

“Knowing that we could subscribe to seats as we needed them certainly fitted the bill; and as our managing director Adam Mackin said at the time, there was no heavy sales pressure and no large initial outlay.”

“Water Tecnik registered for 123insight in January 2016 and received training from QMS Insight. “The training was second to none.

Drew was always available to answer queries, and gave in-depth answers to any queries we had.”

The company also took advantage of 123insight’s remote installation (at just £295), which allowed it to access Water Tecnik’s server remotely and install the MRP system, before connecting and configuring it to the company’s SQL Server database.

Implementation took around a month, with most of the work relating to data entry.

“Our main initial task was to get the system loaded with our parts, so we brought a student in to help us with that.

“She quickly got to grips with it and was able to put all of our existing parts onto the system, followed by all of our suppliers, customers and the parts we had in stock at that time.”

As soon as Water Tecnik went live with the system it saw immediate — and significant — benefits across all departments, especially in purchasing.

Keeping 2“It was a revelation. We were able to run MRP and have a list of works orders, a list of purchase orders and just click the button and enact the purchase orders and fire off e-mails to each supplier.

“When we ran 123insight on one particular project, we found the ordering process that would previously have taken me two or three days now took around five to 10min.

“123insight has saved us around one day per week in terms of chasing after orders, checking stock and making sure that it was available for our guys in the workshop.”

Accurate lead times


Stock control also saw benefits, which had the knock-on effect of improving the accuracy of lead times.

“We now have a better visibility of our stock and supplier lead times, which in turn helps us give our customers more accurate and — where possible — shorter lead times.

“Before installing the system, we could have 30 of a component that we did not need immediately, and maybe only three of one that we did.

“Now, we set our minimum stock quantities and can ensure that they are always available.

“Having accurate raw-material information has also been instrumental in improving lead times. It’s the old adage of ‘garbage in, garbage out’.

“The more accurate our system is, the more accurate our predictions of lead times will be. Meanwhile, document linking has helped minimise paper usage — plus we have a complete database, with all of our drawings linked to our parts.

“We have also got supplier manuals stored on the system, so when we raise a purchase order, the necessary drawings are attached to it and sent to our suppliers at the click of a button.

“No longer needing a library of suppliers’ catalogues has greatly reduced the amount of paperwork we have to handle.”

On the few occasions that Mr McAleenan has needed system support, he has been pleasantly surprised by the service provided.

Keeping 3“Whenever we phoned 123insight we were quickly put through to someone on the Helpdesk; and if they couldn’t give us an answer straight away, they would give us a time when they could.”

Mr McAleenan also said 123insight’s scalable licensing has been beneficial.

“At times, as with any business, we suffered downturns, but we were able to scale down our number of licences then get them back on-line and get up to strength again when business picked up.”

A year after installing the system, Water Tecnik was the joint winner of a local business award, as a direct result of its successful implementation of 123insight.

“The ‘Excellence in Manufacturing’ category was geared towards companies that had used IT to improve their production efficiency.

“Confident that 123insight had improved the efficiency of our business, we entered and jointly won the category alongside a fairly large local company.”

Having relocated to a larger facility, tripled its production staff to handle new production machinery and seen the business grow since the award, Water Tecnik has ambitious plans for the future.

“Moving to larger premises has enabled us to take on bigger contracts. This means larger bills of materials, more purchase orders and more works orders.

“We will expand 123insight as the business grows. I can confidently say that we could triple or quadruple our turnover without employing any more administration staff to look after stock and purchase orders.

“For Water Tecnik, the MRP system has been a very worthwhile investment — and the return on our outlay simply fantastic.”

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