A much faster turnaround in quotations and an increase in orders for Bedford CNC has reinforced the fact that production control software is a worthwhile investment for subcontract precision engineering companies of any size, not just larger organisations. Less than two years after initially investing in PSL Datatrack's Quotations package, the company has now invested in three more modules: Works Orders, Deliveries and Invoicing. Director Andy Soos says that the investment in this software has been as essential as ongoing investment in the company's production machinery, which includes the latest DMG Mori CMX 800V vertical milling centre.
Bedford CNC has become a lot more efficient since investing in both the new software modules and milling centre. Response to requests for quotations (RFQs) is now much faster, taking just minutes when supplier material costs are already logged on the system and only a touch longer if new prices have to be obtained. “In a sense we have created a problem which we are happy to deal with. PSL Datatrack has given us the platform to get more business through faster response to RFQs and the DMG Mori is enabling us to get through the work quicker, so we now have to actively look for new business confident in the knowledge that we can process it smoothly,” comments Andy.
The company's small but impressive production capacity also includes a Haas CNC lathe, Bridgeport CNC machining centres and a Citizen L20 sliding head lathe. Together with a CMM, these enable the company to produce high quality finished components with the traceability that is absolutely essential for its customers in the aerospace, automotive, defence and general manufacturing sectors.
Since Bedford CNC first invested it has taken just a few clicks of the mouse to raise, print and email customised quotations on professionally produced letterheads, designed by PSL Datatrack. The Quotations module also benefits the company in a number of other ways. A quote number is allocated, descriptions and drawing numbers defined, information on machining times and hourly rates recorded and the cost to the customer automatically calculated. Information on expected delivery time is included, subject to material or subcontract supplier lead times, and the system stores the correct drawing against the quotation with issue control.
With all this information already held within the system, taking the next step into the Works Orders, Deliveries and Invoicing modules was practical, simple and logical. When a quote is converted into a firm order, Bedford CNC now uses the Works Orders module to progress it through the shop floor without having to re-enter any information. The order details are carried right through the remainder of the production process for use in the Deliveries and Invoicing modules.
The software ensures that invoicing cannot be overlooked once deliveries have taken place as invoices are produced quickly and efficiently using information from the Deliveries and Works Orders modules, streamlining the whole process to save valuable time and effort.
With quotations already looking highly professional to reflect the company's core values of quality and good service, Bedford CNC wanted to extend this positive visual identity into its other documentation and this is now reflected in its delivery notes and invoices. The Deliveries module also produces essential Certificates of Conformity that play a key role in the company's quality control and track/trace functions.
“We are engineers, not administrators, and we can now focus on what we do best – manufacturing high quality components and looking for new business opportunities. When the time is right we can look to invest in additional complementary modules to streamline our business even further,” concludes Andy.
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