- Location: United Kingdom
- Industry: Manufacturing for aerospace and pharmaceutical industries
- Number of Locations: 1
- Web site: www.beverston.co.uk
"I hate to think how long it would take us to do things if we did not do everything in Epicor ERP."
Rod Wah, Managing Director | Beverston Engineering
Beverston Engineering was established in 1974 and manufactures high-precision, safety-critical components for the aerospace, pharmaceutical, and pump industries. It has 45 employees in one UK site where it produces a range of low volume, medium complexity components, most of which are no larger than an adult fist. The company became an Epicor customer in 2008 and has regularly upgraded to the latest versions of the Epicor solution as they become available.
Since implementing Epicor ERP, Beverston Engineering has seen significant improvements in its manufacturing resource planning (MRP), and knowledge previously held in the minds of a few select employees is now available throughout the workforce enabling improved customer service and production planning.
Time to Leave DOS Behind
With over 3,000 parts and 3,000 raw material entries in its business systems, Beverston was facing the harsh realities and complexities of running a successful and expanding manufacturing business in 2008. This complex set of data and processes that were key to running the business were managed across a DOSbased production system, spreadsheets, and much of the data was still 'stored' and reviewed on paper.
"It could take days to produce reports, or conduct a detailed review of our production schedule," says Rod Wah, Managing Director at Beverston Engineering. "While you were preparing a report the business continued to change around you. In reality you were out of date as soon as you started reviewing the data on which it would be based."
Beverston's management team could see that in time this would get worse and eventually lead to a competitive disadvantage, as other companies upgraded their systems. The Board made the decision to invest, with the desire to implement a system that would help Beverston Engineering respond to customer needs more quickly and have improved agility in its production scheduling.
Beverston Engineering's Board recognised that having information "on tap" for those that needed it, was key to achieving that agility. Whether in sales, production, or finance, employees needed the tools to enable accurate decisions based on real-world information, such as predicting the impact of new orders or schedule changes instantly.
Beverston Engineering reviewed the market before selecting Epicor ERP due to its competitive pricing and ease of use for both endusers and the IT department. The company's confidence in the ease of use of Epicor ERP drove it to conduct much of the initial implementation in-house with the support of Aspera Solutions Ltd, an Epicor Reseller Partner.
The initial implementation of Epicor ERP took just three months, including the mapping and replication of business processes, cleansing of data and staff training. The new system was configured alongside the existing live system, to regularly provide new data sets to the development team for testing.
"We inevitably encountered some challenges when moving from our old mixture of DOS, spreadsheets and paper," adds Wah. "The way we were able to work with Aspera Solutions and Epicor directly meant we were able to overcome these quickly and go live only three months after starting the implementation, without anyone throwing a server through a window!"
With testing completed the final data transfer took place over a weekend, and the old system retired. On Monday morning, most departments were using the new system including sales teams and those involved in all aspects of the manufacturing process.
Beverston has continued to upgrade to the latest versions of Epicor ERP, the most recent of which was as part of a desktop PC refresh to ensure the company could maintain compatibility with the latest version of the Microsoft® Windows® operating system.
Later upgrades have taken place using virtual desktop and server environments so that the user experience and back-office stability can be tested on Beverston's different hardware and operating system configurations, before moving into the production environment.
"Managing our upgrades in this way means we can manage risk, and avoid downtime for individuals," adds Wah. "Applying any software update can be a nerve wracking experience. Epicor ERP is used by all employees so we test thoroughly before upgrading."
Epicor ERP has allowed Beverston Engineering to achieve its goals of more agility in its production scheduling and, perhaps more crucially, better visibility of information throughout the business.
Beverston's manufacturing jobs are now all raised automatically, a task that was entirely manual and had become unmanageable as the business grew. In addition, the company had run a Kanban scheduling card system from the shop floor that was prone to user errors and could cause delays to customer orders. This now exists 'virtually' within Epicor ERP and dynamically changes in real time based on new scheduling demands. New scheduling proposals are presented by Epicor ERP to the production managers who then review and approve those changes, rather than spending countless hours assessing what those changes should be. The shop floor and machinists are then notified through changes on the work schedules.
"We've put our production manager's head inside Epicor- it makes sure we are working on the right jobs in the right order," adds Wah. "We're also able to be much more flexible in meeting challenging scheduling requests from customers."
Rod Wah, Managing Director
Since 2008 the Beverston Engineering business has grown by 60%, and at the same time it has cut its production lead times through its use of Epicor ERP.
"I hate to think how long it would take us to do things if we did not do everything in Epicor ERP, and have it directing the shop floor," says Wah. "Many hours would be wasted each week by those managing production, as they battle with an environment that is constantly changing around them."
Before implementing Epicor ERP, searching for data at Beverston Engineering meant trawling through paper records and relying on the 'local' knowledge of departmental staff to get answers. Information, rather than just raw data, is now clearly available throughout the organisation. For example, non-production staff can track in real time the progress of jobs through the factory or see machine work queues for each machinist.
Whether users work in sales, finance, production, or the boardroom, they can instantly see the information that is key to their role in driving Beverston Engineering forward. There is no need to request information from departments and then manipulate it. Data from departments is presented in the format that is most suited to the user. For example, someone in finance may want to see the throughput of a given machine in terms of revenue, but have no interest in the individual jobs, their constituent parts, or current status.
"There is no doubt that we are a more efficient business," concludes Wah. "The fact that information is now easier to get hold of has allowed us to rapidly make better informed business decisions, not just about production scheduling, but recruitment and where to investment in new machinery."
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise, and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.