The management team of subcontract precision engineers ADP Precision Engineering were on the lookout for a new production control system following accelerated growth of the business. The Newcastle-upon-Tyne based company had been relying upon its Sage 50 accounting software to control production, supported by the manual input of manufacturing data into Excel spreadsheets and Word documents.
This form of administration was slow, time consuming and not meeting the needs of a company embarking upon a new business phase. ADP recognised the need for software that was bespoke to the needs of the subcontract precision engineering industry and therefore selected PSL Datatrack. It would not only improve the administration of the company's existing production processes but also create a platform for the future.
ADP provides its services and high-quality products to a range of industrial sectors including automation/robotics, automotive, medical, oil & gas, rail and subsea engineering. One particular long-term, state of the art medical project that will help revolutionise the medical industry, and for which ADP is a sole supplier of machined components, helped to drive the need for a better production control system.
PSL Datatrack was identified as the solution that could meet ADP's immediate need of removing manual administration in the business. Thanks to its modularity, it also offered the platform for easy expansion in the future as the business grew and further control over different aspects of production were needed. Anthony Ingledew, ADP’s Managing Director, comments: “Previously we had to create a lot of manual documentation but after the initial setup of PSL Datatrack the result was a more centralised, efficient and streamlined system which massively aids the flow of the business.”
ADP acquired a number of PSL Datatrack modules at the outset covering sales, administration, purchasing, technical functions (including process layouts and Work In Progress), Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC), finance and management. Invoicing data can be imported to Sage 50, which is now used purely for its accounting capabilities.
One of the initial advantages for ADP was the time saved raising quotations, which became far more accurate and could be quickly adjusted for repeat business. After estimating the cost of manufacturing a component based on the process, material, subcontract and tooling involved, the information is retained in the system and is reused by the software right through to final invoice.
“We found the training to be very clear and easy to implement, moving at a pace that suited us. After sales support has also been excellent. There were a few things that we wanted to tweak, or add to certain reports, and these requests were dealt with in no time by PSL Datatrack,” continues Anthony.
‘Work To’ lists are now created at the push of a button. Work in progress is clear and easy to monitor, meaning management no longer need to intervene and manually check the progress of a job. Furthermore, full traceability is inherent to each order which is vital to the company's quality management systems and for maintaining its ISO 9001:2015 accreditation.
The system offers numerous benefits but there are some overriding advantages, according to Quality Manager Steve Cross. “We have spoken to staff within different departments and each say the modules they use on a daily basis have simplified and streamlined their area of the business. Some tasks that were very manual, mundane and time consuming are now completed in seconds. As Quality Manager, PSL Datatrack has made my life so much easier with all business data easily accessible. It has also made ISO 9001 audits easy with the full traceability and closed loop system being easy to demonstrate,” he says.
Aside from Steve, there are four other main users of PSL Datatrack including the company's two Managing Directors, secretary and office administrator. Shop floor staff record progress in the workshop through the SFDC module.
ADP has now added two Status Boards to display real time visual data around the factory. Information shown on these screens include goods due within seven days and works orders due within seven days. This information is helping to drive production and make the shop floor team more accountable in its work and inclusive within the whole operation. It is now easy for the team to see when products are due out and when materials are due in, allowing each cell to plan its workload more efficiently.
ADP closely monitors its key performance indicators (KPIs), covering sales won/lost, on time deliveries, supplier performance and cost of quality. These figures drive the company to provide high-quality products on time and at an affordable rate in a very competitive market. The introduction of PSL Datatrack has reinforced these capabilities and its statistics screen makes ADP very flexible in its approach.
The system has further helped with planning and means the company's customers receive work on a faster turnaround than would normally be the case. Steve concludes: “Our customers are benefiting from our investment in PSL Datatrack, as a result of our quicker response time to quotations, the opportunity to review job costings easily, our ability to pass on any potential savings and, as the system drives the business, it means they receive jobs on time. We couldn’t have found a better system than PSL Datatrack. It has suited our needs perfectly and we have already recommended it to one of our customers.”
Find out more about PSL Datatrack on their member profile page here