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The Challenge

When an engineer walks into your office with a device attached to a long red pole and begins raising it to the ceiling, it might seem like an odd, almost comical, process. In fact, the work being carried out is a legal requirement, that could ultimately be a lifesaver. The device is one designed and manufactured by Detectortesters, the world’s leading provider of test solutions for fire detection systems. Helping the company improve the production and cost of this and other related devices, as well as ensuring the products are delivered to point of need anywhere in the world quickly and efficiently, is Epicor.

Founded in 1965, Detectortesters is firmly established as the world leader in its field with all products designed to offer a universal solution to the functional testing of smoke, heat and CO fire detectors. The 100+ strong business, based in Hertfordshire in the UK, manages a single manufacturing site at its Welham Green headquarters but has staff located in Europe, the Middle East and India.

The products Detectortesters manufacture are typically used in a commercial environment, with industry codes and standards requiring the functional testing of detectors on a regular basis. Also known by their registered trading name, No Climb Products Ltd., the company is home to brands including Solo, Testifire, Scorpion, and Smoke Sabre. The company’s portfolio ensures that a professional, reliable, and compliant solution is available to fire professionals world-wide. Customers range from fire system installers and maintainers, local and international distributors, and detector manufacturers – including companies such as Apollo, Bosch, Siemens, and Hochiki. The company is constantly developing its product range to ensure compliance is easily achieved and productivity gains are maximized.

Manual, Paper-based Processes

In the past, the company had implemented a digital transformation strategy to improve business operations, but some processes were still inefficient. The company’s warehouse handles both inbound raw material and component deliveries as well as product distribution. These operations were still largely manual and paper-based with staff writing down transaction information and re-keying data into a shopfloor PC. With over 2,000 different component types, approx. 50 deliveries a week received and 20 customer shipments a day dispatched, the process was slow and impacted other operations. For example, the warehouse needed five days’ advance notice to plan for product manufacturing and up to seven hours to complete components picking. Manual and paper-based processes resulted in picking errors within the warehouse causing delays in product manufacturing. Paper-based processing also affected customers due to wrong quantity or the wrong product type being dispatched.

Detectortesters was already an existing user of Epicor Kinetic, which acts as a single source of truth for business operations. Now the company has expanded the platform to include Epicor Mobile Warehouse. The Epicor application installed on a wireless device, automates and digitalises warehouse processes. Epicor Mobile Warehouse allows the operator to process Epicor transactions “live” at the point where materials have been picked in the warehouse. Also, by setting up ‘part/lot/quantity validation’ within the software settings, you are able to eliminate picking and processing errors thus increasing transactional accuracy.

Deploying Epicor Mobile Warehouse was part of a change program that involved the reorganisation of the warehouse layout, switching to QR-code enabled printed product identification labels and the introduction of new warehouse workflow processes. “Implementing a technology solution like Epicor Mobile Warehouse is an opportunity to support and enable continuous improvement and streamline processes,” said Keith Herring, Head of IT at Detectortesters. “Delivering digitisation involves the introduction of new technology but also reorganising business operations and providing adequate training to ensure everyone in the business embraces and delivers change.”

Easiest Application Deployment Ever

Epicor Kinetic is core to business operations at Detectortesters. “We love using Epicor because it is so versatile and enables us to integrate different applications without having to request complex customisation,” explained Aliola Balla, Operational Excellence Leader at Detectortesters. “For instance, Epicor Mobile Warehouse is like an out-of-the-box module plus it connects with Epicor Kinetic quickly and easily.”

Herring added, “Epicor Mobile Warehouse has been one of the easiest software applications Detectortesters has ever implemented. It is so simple to install and did not need any support from Epicor.”

Epicor also helps Detectortesters deliver high standards in product quality and compliance. As a British manufacturer, the company has won the Queen’s Awards for exporting and product innovation and is the first and only ISO9001-approved designer and manufacturer of detector test equipment.

Having Epicor Mobile Warehouse in place ahead of our e-commerce website, brings the ability to expand our reach and deliver a best-in-class service to our customers. A slicker manufacturing and dispatch process means reducing lead times to customers and delivering on customer expectations.

Epicor Mobile Warehouse helps towards making warehouse operations error-proof, more efficient, and cost-effective. For instance, instead of having to read and manually input the relevant data from the paperwork into Epicor, warehouse staff now use handheld devices to scan the relevant details into the application sessions, from raw material receipts all the way to picking and processing product dispatches. As well as eliminating paper bill-of-materials lists, staff can photograph product receipt documents and attach them to the component’s digital record in Epicor. They can also take photographs of boxes/pallets of products ready to be collected by the courier; these photographs are automatically linked to the sales order record in Epicor.

50% Lead Time and Cost Reduction

Detectortesters found that through continuous improvement of their processes and the implementation of Epicor Wireless Warehouse, the investment made in the software and hardware would pay for itself in less than two years.

Planning for a production run has now been cut to just one day and component picking reduced from seven down to three hours, time savings of 80% and 57% respectively. That equates to an average cost saving of 50% and a 50% cut in lead times.

“Operators had to manually process transactions like moving parts from one location to another, recording this on paper. Then when the shopfloor PC became available, they had to key in the information,” commented Balla. “Replacing this slow, paper-based process with Epicor Mobile Warehouse saves lots of time and means we can manufacture faster and eliminate warehouse job backlogs.”

Since installing Mobile Warehouse, dispatch errors have been significantly reduced and shipment documentation accuracy improved, helping minimise delivery delays and customs hold-ups.

“The Epicor Mobile Warehouse solution provides our business with an automated and far more accurate picking system,” shared Herring. “This means our inventory is more accurate and timelier since we can schedule raw material selection precisely when needed for manufacturing.”

The reaction from staff in the warehouse to the new Epicor solution has been very positive and embraced equally well by long-standing staff as well as new employees. The staff expressed that they love the technology and would never want to go back to the old processes. The efficiency and time savings allow staff to focus on more valuable and productive functions.

By making warehouse operations faster and more efficient, Mobile Warehouse supports Kinetic MRP processes to improve just-in-time manufacturing and streamline stock control. It also enables Detectortesters to track components used in manufacturing so that if there is a problem, faulty materials can be traced back to the source, supplier or country of origin.

Delivering Excellence and Delighting Customer Experience

Improvements in manufacturing and distribution operations supported by Epicor are helping Detectortesters develop new processes as well as enhance the customer experience. The company plans to alter the manufacturing processes to make its products IoT-enabled; this will help gather better data on product use to permit customers with best practice advice, fault diagnosis, and part replacement and will also provide greater insight into the usage rates of consumables.

The next phase will see Epicor Commerce Connect used to launch an eCommerce website to complement and enhance direct sales and customer engagement. “Having Epicor Mobile Warehouse in place ahead of our e-commerce website brings the ability to expand our reach and deliver a best-in-class service to our customers,” concluded Herring. “A slicker manufacturing and dispatch process means reducing lead times to customers and delivering on customer expectations.”

Company Facts

  • Location: Hertfordshire, UK
  • Specialist Industry: Electronics & High-Tech Manufacturing
  • Website:


  • Support an enterprise-wide digital transformation strategy
  • Slow, inefficient, manual processes hindering warehouse operations
  • Help introduce business innovations, including eCommerce


  • Delivers an ROI in under two years
  • Reduces warehouse operational costs by 50%
  • Improves lead times by 50%
  • Cuts production planning time by 80% and raw material selection time by 57%
  • Makes warehouse operations faster and more efficient
  • Helps improve JIT and MRP processes
  • Supports the development of eCommerce capability for new products
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