Gareth Baker has grown his business in just seven years to having five CNC machines, a fabrication and inspection department and ten staff, starting with one machine in a unit the size of a double garage.
The accounting package chosen in the beginning quickly became unsuitable for his growing engineering business, and after a lot of research and demonstrations, Gareth decided to implement Statii.
We interviewed Gareth to learn more about his journey to becoming the Managing Director of Leeds Plastic Engineering and how using Statii has helped him along the way.
The old accounting software didn't create work orders; instead, they manually raised documents. After launching Statii and experiencing how simple raising a work order and sending it to the workstation was, the only thing left was collecting performance data.
Intending to link the entire business together and put every department on one system, Leeds Plastic Engineering decided to implement the shop floor data collection (SFDC) system shortly after launching Statii. The office team could raise work orders and send them directly to the shop floor with drawings and other attachments, and shop floor personnel could also clock on to jobs.
All the information means Gareth can identify which jobs are overrunning in real time and discover why. "The shop floor data capture comes into its own when you're reviewing jobs." says Owner Gareth Baker. Quoting future work is also more accurate with historical data to see how long jobs previously took.
Using an accounting package meant Leeds Plastic Engineering could create jobs, send quotes, raise purchase orders and deliver invoices. But missing several crucial documents to a manufacturing process meant nothing was truly linked. A single job had several documents all created and stored in multiple places, and like many small businesses, they were using a paper-based system in which they had to store and file.
With Statii implemented, all they need to do is convert a quote to raise a sales order, and every related document is automatically created and attached to the sales order for organisation and searchability purposes. "With Statii, everything's linked and it's all in one place. Anyone can find a document." says Gareth.
Gareth said, "It's really easy to use. Just put all the information in at the start, and you don't need to worry about anything else. Just do all the work at the enquiry stage, and everything else is just the push of a button."
Gareth added, "we're not searching for bits of paper, looking around for things. Everything we do goes on Statii."
Before implementing Statii, Leeds Plastic Engineering had to create each quote individually and create new costs each time. With many of the parts they create being "similar or in a family", according to Gareth, quoting was a labour-intensive process and could only accurately be done by a few team members.
With Statii in place, quoting can be done by selecting pre-populated fields with costs added at set-up. Selecting inventory items or production functions is as simple as two clicks and ensures accurate pricing.
As many of the parts they create are similar or re-productions, Gareth says, "It's easy on Statii to find parts and copy the data you've already got to generate a new price. You can do that really quickly."
Now any team member can requote and alter estimates, "It makes everything more traceable and the quoting a lot easier… anyone can pick up a quote and manipulate it. It just became less laborious." Gareth added.
A goal of the business was to gain the ISO 9001 accreditation; for that, the company needed processes that ensured quality standards and continual improvement.
Statii not only helped make this possible but also made keeping the accreditation effortless. Gareth said, "Every time we've done our yearly review, Statii always comes up top trumps with the assessors", adding, "You can go from enquiry right through to invoice, and everything is on there. You've got no problems with your traceability and processes. Anything they ask for, you can print it off straight away."
Gareth says that when it comes to continual improvement, "you can run that many reports, and at the push of a button, you can really delve deep into how your company is performing. Whether it's on-time deliveries or how many enquiries turn into quotes."
Statii makes it easy to identify areas that need improving, and with a wealth of historical information, you can determine which processes put in place have had a positive effect.
The main requirement of an MRP system was that "it was easier than what they were already using." says Gareth. He found quickly that many MRP systems tried to be too clever, and instead, they created a bloated system that would "become more of a hindrance than a time saver." according to Gareth.
This wasn't just for day-to-day use but for future training as the business expands and new users have to start using Statii. Created by manufacturers with real-world experience, Statii has been developed to be highly functional and intuitive for precisely this reason.
"We had a short tutorial, and we were just away, straight away." Gareth added, "once you've had a five-minute tutorial, it's not hard to see what's going on."
Even the indicator system, which provides users with a total number of active processes and quantity of overdue items for every feature in the system, "sounds simple, but it's very helpful." and "it wakes you up to sort the problem out." says Gareth.
If you need support or training, Gareth explains, "there's always someone answering the phone who's knowledgeable about the software and the problem you've got." adding, "first thing in the morning or last thing at night, you can't fault it.