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Baileigh Industrial vertical Bandsaw Model BSV-16 #78537
Baileigh Industrial vertical Bandsaw Model BSV-16
Country of Manufacture Taiwan
Table Size 603 mm
Baileigh Industrial vertical Bandsaw Model BSV-16 Country of Manufacture Taiwan Table Size 603 mm ...
Jet Machinery Ltd

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Heatsense see 30% growth after implementing 123insight

MRP system delivers significant benefits to electronics sector manufacturer

Posted on 01 Jul 2022 and read 865 times
Heatsense see 30% growth after implementing 123insightRochdale-based Heatsense Cables Ltd, a successful manufacturer of high-performance cables and wires for use in extreme environments, has seen significant growth, doubling turnover within a couple of years. However, to underpin this success, commercial manager Aaron Hulse knew that the company needed to upgrade its internal procedures.

He said: “The growth in business brought with it stresses and strains — we needed to put a solid system in place that would give us rules. We knew where we wanted to be, and we realised that we were never going to get there pushing spreadsheets and paper around - it’s ‘old school’.”

The main issues centred around planning and stock management. Stock was held in an Excel spreadsheet, with stock-takes manually performed every six months. As a result, stock outages were affecting on-time delivery performance, as products sometimes couldn’t be manufactured due to a lack of stock items.

The company started to evaluate MRP systems, initially investigating several systems but quickly narrowed it down. Mr Hulse continued: “I attended a 123insight Evaluation Workshop in January 2020, which was brilliant. There was no hard sell - it was all about the system and what it could give us — and that is what sold it to us.”

However, shortly after making the decision to opt for 123insight, the UK declared its first lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this, the company moved forward with the implementation, hiring a consultant with previous experience of installing the system, and staff were trained online over a two-month period in the summer of 2020.

Mr Hulse added: “We were able to ask any questions we needed, and this gave us the confidence that the system would work for us — we asked lots of questions and got all the right answers!”

Among a series of online implementation sessions, key staff were allocated tasks such as structuring bills of materials and routings, or reshaping some of the existing Excel spreadsheets into the required format ready for importing the data into 123insight.

Mr Hulse said: “We aimed to transfer over during the Christmas period, so that we knew we would be able to go live on the first day of January 2021.”

Immediate benefits

The company saw benefits immediately. “For the first time ever, the sales team could take a call and see live stock. Previously it might take up to 1hr for someone to check stock and report back, and this might be 10-15 times a day. Invoicing and purchasing were quicker and now electronic, with documents being emailed as PDFs.

“Procurement also saw massive benefits, as we could immediately see what materials needed to be purchased, how much and which supplier to contact, with most purchase orders being enacted and emailed to suppliers with just a couple of clicks.”

InsightStock control itself also improved, as minimum stock levels were set for all key materials, with overall inaccuracies drastically reduced. Stock locations allowed items to be found much more quickly than before, so ex-stock items could be ordered, picked and despatched 50% faster.

As the stores department at Heatsense doesn’t have dedicated staff, a unified system delivered significant time savings: “All of our staff are multi-skilled, so we don’t have a dedicated person in stores or despatch. 123insight has given extra time to all the staff that perform these functions — I would estimate this as at least a 25% time saving — in my case it has certainly freed up a lot of time.”

Works orders can now include more detailed information. Mr Hulse explained: “Previously we would simply list a part number and rely on the experience of the staff as they had made the parts many times before, but this can lead to errors. Works orders now list both the materials and routings, plus we are using document linking to include data sheets and other technical information.” While works orders include a lot more content, it has been estimated that paper usage overall has dropped by 20%.

Improved lead times

Furthermore, lead times have improved by around 10% due to better stock availability and planning visibility. Like many in the industry, the company was hampered by supply chain issues, however the additional visibility that 123insight has provided has helped Heatsense to purchase more strategically to avoid stock outages. Mr Hulse expects lead times to improve further as supply chain issues ease.

He also noted that 123insight has allowed the company to consolidate operations across many areas, providing knock-on environmental benefits. Inbound deliveries from suppliers can be grouped, as can outbound deliveries to customers. He continued: “Depending on the product and urgency, we can now ask the customer if they would prefer us to send multiple orders together.”

Consolidation has also been incorporated on the shopfloor: “We are also now pairing jobs together. For example, if we have an extrusion job using red plastic, we might consider consolidating other jobs, reducing head waste and saving on material. This is especially important, as plastic waste is a hot topic right now.”

Heatsense already had ISO9001 and ISO14001 quality accreditations, but now has plans to expand its business within the aerospace sector and therefore sought AS9100 accreditation. Mr Hulse said: “We are supplying testing and measurement cables for aircraft engine testing today, and are moving into onboard cables. 123insight is an important part of that accreditation because of traceability.

Certainly during our AS9100 implementation and subsequent audit it was evident. Everything is visible, from batch numbers, to raw materials and even who worked on which parts. Part of the audit was remote and all of the information was easily retrievable on-screen. In the old days we would have been looking through reams of files and scanning documents.”

Every industry has issues that are unique to them. When Heatsense produce a batch of products for stock, items within the batch might often be different lengths, requiring more work to book items in. Heatsense discussed this with its 123insight customer care manager, who identified that a modification to the software would not only elegantly solve the problem for Heatsense, but by applying the same logic elsewhere would benefit other customers.

Mr Hulse said: “It just shows that 123insight listens and is there to help. I can’t think of many suppliers that would consider a change to their system for an individual customer.”

Insight123A third of 123insight’s monthly subscription is re-invested into development, with many new features based on customer feedback. Heatsense also uses Access Dimensions accounts software, and later in 2021 decided to link it to 123insight using Accounts Gateway. This allows invoices to be created automatically within Access Dimensions, and 123insight users to be able to see data such as credit limits or if a customer is on stop.

With a system that is relied on company-wide, support is an important aspect, but Mr Hulse could not be more pleased. He said: “Support has been absolutely fantastic — I could not give 123insight more credit. The company is always at the end of the telephone if I need them, and it is always a positive experience.”

The overall flexibility of the system has also impressed Mr Hulse. He said: “The fluidity of 123insight is amazing - we can change the system to match what we are about as a business. I can’t fault it, and I’ve already noted one of our suppliers is also a user.”

123Insight focuses on customer education, ensuring that users can get the most out of the software. Mr Hulse sent a colleague that had not attended the original training on a 123insight Customer Education Day. “I felt our quality manager needed additional knowledge, as he is working with auditors and needed a deeper understanding. He was amazed at some of the things that I hadn't had time to show him.”

After a move into larger premises, Heatsense has significant growth plans for the future, moving more into supplying the aerospace sector now that it has AS9100 accreditation under its belt.

Mr Hulse concluded: “We could easily double in size with 123insight. We didn’t stop throughout the pandemic, employing more shopfloor staff, buying more machinery and taking on extra premises. One of the key tools it has given us is staff being able to quickly retrieve any information, reducing the need for more staff. 123insight was also essential to us gaining AS9100 approval, which the auditors acknowledged.”