A leading systems design and manufacturing company, specialising in the protection of electronic equipment in harsh environments, used its ERP/MRP system to increase turnover by more than £5m with no increase in overheads or staff.
Aish Technologies used to process around 4,000 work orders a year. Now, since bringing in the market-leading Jobshop advanced production planning and control system, the same number of staff manage 10,000.
Operations Director and Company Secretary Nigel Barnes says introducing Jobshop just three years ago showed that they needed to make major changes to the way they worked. “We recognised that the business was heavily dependent on non-added-value staff to make it work. We were carrying a high burden of overheads to make the company function as it did. Our long-term solution was to say if we’re going to implement Jobshop it had to provide the capacity to grow the business without increasing this overhead burden.
“However, as we always utilise the tools we have to the fullest possible extent, we’ve grown the business instead, by using Jobshop, increasing turnover to £12m, and we haven’t needed to increase staff.”
Aish makes full use of many of Jobshop’s extensive suite of functions, including Sales Order Processing, Material Requirements Planning, Purchase Orders, Work Orders, Scheduling, Shop Floor Data Capture, Materials Control, Costing, and System Management. “Therefore, Jobshop has made a monumental contribution to our recent success. We couldn’t have grown the business without the step change improvements in both procurement and progressing the scheduling work load without Jobshop.”
Established over 120 years ago Aish Technologies, based at Poole, in Dorset, develops and manufactures innovative, purpose-built, rugged multi-function consoles, cabinets, electronic racks, flat panel displays, land system vechiles and Impressed Current Cathodic Protection (ICCP) systems.
“We take a customer’s requirement and then produce bespoke enclosures which protect their equipment from harsh environments.” Products are supplied to over 70 Navies worldwide as well as a variety of other defence and maritime industries.
In the short time they have used Jobshop they have taken an active role in helping to develop it. “Other systems we looked at didn’t give us any opportunity for working together with future input on developments. If we need a bespoke functionality Jobshop will create it for us, and if it can benefit other customers Jobshop will look at it being included as part of a future (general) release.”
An example is the costing module. Nigel Barnes says they had specific requirements about costing contracts and controlling Work In Progress through the process. “We became heavily involved in the specification and layout, and then we supported Jobshop’s work in developing it, through in-depth testing. Following on from that, we now often undertake testing of other new functionality to assist Jobshop with its ongoing development.”
Other Jobshop users regularly visit Aish to see how they implement certain functions. Paul Hardwick, Aish’s Information Systems Manager, says: “We have a growing reputation of using Jobshop to take our business to the next level.” And Aish are so pleased with the complete package that they have committed to it long-term by arranging, at their own instigation, a five-year maintenance agreement, instead of Jobshop’s usual annual agreement.
The enhanced Crystal Reporting system plays an important part in how they use Jobshop. Nigel Barnes says: “We’ve bespoked almost all of the external documents to meet our exacting requirements. Jobshop is a great database, it’s got all the data we need to run the business, and we have very strong views on exactly how we want to present that data, both internally to the shop floor and the management team, and externally to customers. It’s so easy to get the data we need and present the report in the exact format we want.”
Data Services Manager Phil Bew ensures the Jobshop functions are available to those who need to use them, including providing some extra tools on Shop Floor Data Capture screens with Crystal Reports to enable shop floor workers to see what they’ve done. “Everyone on the shop floor books their time through the Shop Floor Data Capture function, and we provide 15 touch screen terminals around the factory, on specially produced stands.”
They have also set up a number of codes to analyse what their indirect, non-rechargeable staff in terms of overheads, are working on. “This means we can fully understand what’s driving costs throughout all areas of the business by utilising Jobshop’s time booking system.”
Nigel Barnes says that overall, Jobshop gives managers a far better understanding of the business, including what they need to do and when they need to do it. “It gives us exceptional control across all contracts, telling us which orders have to be placed on any given day, and which parts have to be released into the manufacturing process. The costing engine enables us to identify the gross profit at the budget stage, anyone can see any data from any screen relating to where a job is and how it’s progressing. It also gives us far greater visibility in what products we’ve got in the stores and gives us total control over all surplus material.”
He is already preparing for the next area they would like to develop in conjunction with Jobshop: “We want to look next at how much time the processes take, how many keystrokes people have to make, and how people’s workflow interfaces with Jobshop to allow us to get even more benefit from the system with less interaction.”
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