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The Challenge

From food safety and medical research to climate change and agronomics, scientists are working to solve our planet’s most urgent and tenacious problems. To effectively tackle those challenges, researchers depend on sophisticated precision instruments. Enter Techcomp Group, China's leading manufacturer of highly advanced scientific tools, and holder of cutting-edge technological patents in analytical instruments, life science equipment and laboratory instruments. The company’s products—devices such as chromatographs, spectroscopes, centrifuges and deep freezers etc. —are used in laboratories across the globe. There, they help advance progress in a broad range of industries, including materials analysis and testing, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medicine, food and beverage, and forensics.

Gilbert Sin, Chief Financial Controller at Techcomp Group, explained, “Our mission is to facilitate research to drive innovation and create a better life for everyone. Our instruments enable scientists to generate discoveries, unlock new potential and accelerate advancements to convert that mission into reality.”

We chose Epicor Kinetic because it’s easy to use, is customisable to meet the unique requirements of our different businesses, and also it made good financial sense. Unlike the other major vendors such as SAP, Microsoft and Oracle, Epicor offers concurrent user licensing. Since our business spans the globe and time zones, this model was the most cost-effective.

Techcomp customers include universities and research institutions, government agencies, industrial enterprises, and medical groups. The company has an excellent reputation for manufacturing precise and accurate equipment and for outstanding service delivery. These superior standards helped fuel rapid expansion, both organic and via a number of mergers and acquisitions. 

In addition to sites throughout Asia, Techcomp has acquired companies across Europe and the U.S. and today has facilities in more than 15 countries. Sin revealed, “Four years ago, we realized we needed a more efficient way to manage our expanding organization. At first, we considered a CRM platform but soon realized what we really required was an end-to-end ERP solution. We chose Epicor Kinetic because it’s easy to use, is customisable to meet the unique requirements of our different businesses, and also it made good financial sense. Unlike other major vendors such as SAP, Microsoft and Oracle, Epicor offers concurrent user licensing, enabling a pool of licenses to be shared across a group of users. Since our organisation spans the globe and time zones, this model was the most cost-effective.”

Efficiency, Visibility, Traceability

Sin highlighted several examples of how Epicor Kinetic has facilitated improved processes at Techcomp.

A significant advantage was the ability to establish price controls. In the past, the company relied on Excel spreadsheets to manage discounts. Sin said, “We had a manual process that demanded discipline and a good memory. Now, with Epicor Kinetic, we have an automated and standardised procedure for discounts as well as a clear tiered approval process.” He continued, “The benefit is that our decision-making is much more objective. We know what the list price is for each customer and have a superior understanding of our profit margins. Epicor equips us with tangible data to share with a sales rep who is pushing for a deeper discount, and also we use the information to solicit discount support from suppliers.”

Similarly, Epicor Kinetic enables an enhanced BOM (bill of material) methodology. “We have been able to standardise the steps for tracking the production process which in turn yields sharper insights about where we are—in terms of product cost—at each step. Epicor also has given us the ability to identify root causes more readily, whether it’s a material or a process issue. This saves us both time and money in pinpointing and ameliorating problems,” Sin shared.

Supply chain management is another vital area that has benefited from Epicor Kinetic. Sin emphasized, “Epicor gives us visibility so we can consider all the variables and reassess lead times to support the post COVID-19 environment. For instance, printed circuit boards (PCB) availability has become a big problem for everyone. Lead time used to be five months; today it is 14 months. Epicor gives us the information to plan ahead, to shorten that planning process, and to make adjustments as dates and suppliers fluctuate.” He shared that Epicor also aids with procurement priorities, providing information about what to order and when; “Epicor has given us the data and tools to standardise many intra-company processes.”

The primary benefit that Epicor Kinetic provides us is more knowledge. We have better information to make strategic decisions about where to invest, which products are most profitable, and which models are most efficient.

Additionally, Techcomp recently deployed Epicor Mobile Warehouse at the Shanghai facility. Sin commented, “We expect to improve inventory management and quality control by serialising components to improve traceability of problems and shorten diagnostic time. We also expect to improve our QA rates.”

Data-driven Decision-making

Looking to the future, Sin plans to onboard additional Techcomp European sites to Epicor Kinetic over the next twelve months. He elaborated, “Our non-Asia companies understand the benefit of a single system to share information and they want the data and heightened acumen that Epicor Kinetic delivers.” Techcomp Group currently have a hybrid cloud model—which gives the Techcomp group flexibility to scale in different regions. A subsidiary Techcomp company, Scion Instruments, based in the UK, uses Epicor Kinetic deployed in the cloud. Scion Instruments has employees in the UK and The Netherlands benefiting from a shared cloud data view.

The interest and willingness to tolerate change to achieve the benefits doesn’t surprise him. Sin disclosed, “Others have seen that the primary benefit Epicor Kinetic provides us is more knowledge. We have better information to make strategic decisions about where to invest, which products are most profitable, and which models are most efficient.”

Company Facts

  • Location: Hong Kong, China, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Specialist Industry: Scientific Instrument Manufacturing
  • Website: www.techcomp.com.hk

Challenges

  • Insufficient process standardization.
  • Lack of visibility to supply chain.
  • Inadequate data to guide strategic and operational decisions.

Benefits

  • Insights drive business strategy and process improvements.
  • Improved price and MRP controls.
  • Easy customisation to meet discrete business needs.

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