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Modular PSL Datatrack is the ‘heartbeat’ of DP Engineering

Posted on 17 Apr 2021 and read 1401 times
Modular PSL Datatrack is the ‘heartbeat’ of DP EngineeringRedruth-based DP Engineering established in 1952, describes itself as Cornwall’s ‘best-kept engineering secret’. For the past 15 years the company has based its enduring success around the implementation of every module available within PSL Datatrack’s production control software system.

Prior to this, DP Engineering relied on manual administration and spreadsheets to run the shopfloor. That all changed in 2005 when, after a period of significant growth, the company recognised a new approach was needed to support its expanding customer base.

That is when its initial investment in PSL Datatrack production control software was made, and since then there has been continual acquisition of modules so that today DP Engineering uses every one available — the system has also been a key part of the company’s expansion as it has grown from 10 to 40 people during that time.

With PSL Datatrack on board, the company has been able to focus its efforts on retaining and developing its business in the aerospace and oil and gas industries which make up the largest proportion of its client base — it is AS/EN9100 Series Aerospace and ISO 9001:2015 accredited.

DP Engineering not only manufactures components for customers, typically in batch production volumes from 5-500,000 parts per annum, but also helps them to realise their own engineering ideas by offering high levels of support through its ‘design for manufacture’ service, whereby the company’s skilled production engineers work closely with customers to optimise component functionality and expectations.

DP Engineering uses the latest CNC machining centres and lathes, supported by ‘state of the art’ metrology equipment. However, as sales and marketing director Phillip Anthony recognises, the best technology means nothing if work cannot be produced efficiently without bottlenecks — and this is where PSL Datatrack has excelled.

Robust platform

Modules covering the generation and management of quotations, sales/purchase order processing, process layouts, stock control, scheduling, shopfloor data collection, non-conformance, gauge calibration and traceability are essential to the efficient running of the business. Through their functionality and adaptability, they are seamlessly integrated and work together to form a robust platform to run the business.

On one hand, the software allows the company to respond very quickly and simultaneously to requests for quotations (typically provided within 24-48hr). On the other, once quotations have been converted into firm orders, PSL Datatrack ensures the shopfloor works as efficiently as possible with the Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC) module managing the production of all parts passing through the factory.

DP Engineering's products are mainly safety critical parts for which traceability and visibility of the production process is absolutely vital. Mr Anthony said: “Traceability is key for so many customers. When we ship an order we track it through the entire production process, from the very start when we receive the materials through to delivery of every product.

“Each one has a Certificate of Conformity delivery note with traceability right back to who booked material in, when it arrived, who supplied it and how it was used on the shopfloor – every detail.”

As an AS/EN9100 Series Aerospace accredited company, DP Engineering is the subject of regular external audits and through PSL Datatrack can immediately provide assessors with all the traceability information required with historic production data readily available for any job.

With so much importance attached to SFDC, each production section has its own terminal with access to PSL Datatrack. Users can also determine whether deliveries are running to schedule and whether targets in terms of delivery times and quoted pricing will be met.

In-depth analysis

The shopfloor variance reporting feature monitors current costs against quoted prices and highlights variances, allowing decisions to be made to rectify any anomalies. The software provides more in-depth analysis to see exactly what has happened and DP Engineering is then able to employ lean manufacturing tools that the workforce is familiar with in order to assess ways of improving processes and eliminating waste.

PSL Datatrack is scalable and this was important to DP Engineering at the outset. The company has gone on to purchase all additional modules as and when the business deemed the investments were needed in order to take even closer control of specific production functions.

The software is not an off-the-shelf product and the close working relationship between the two companies has often seen the customisation of new modules to meet DP Engineering’s exact needs. This has included the adaptation or creation of bespoke management reports and other functionality including scanning of completed works order job packs that are saved to the company’s Cloud-based intranet and accessed by management.

The Wishlist programme allows PSL Datatrack customers to propose amendments and improvements to the system, which could be of potential benefit to other customers too. PSL Datatrack has proven very reactive to such ideas from DP Engineering who say that many of their proposals have been taken on board.

Mr Anthony concluded: “PSL Datatrack is a very customer-focused supplier. They help us to look at our own operation and improve what we do for our customers. We have close control and management of what is now a much larger business than in 2005. We would not be where we are without PSL Datatrack’s expertise and support.”