Supply chain automation saves Grant Instruments up to £40,000 a year
A world leading medical design and manufacturing business is saving up to £40,000 a year on inventory costs after automating its entire supply chain with an advanced SYSPRO Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution and K3 DataSwitch.
Servitized Business Model
Grant Instruments is utilising the two applications from K3 Syspro to start to servitize its business model and respond more effectively to customers. Already the integration between the two solutions has helped the company to significantly streamline its stockholding process and has enabled it to slash average delivery times from 10 days to just five days. Today, the business holds half the stock it used to hold 18 months ago, but is continuing to complete double the amount of orders. This transition has been made possible not just through the import of transactional data into SYSPRO, but from the extraction of that data, and the analysis that followed.
Paul Gill, Systems Development Manager at Grant Instruments, explains:
“It is difficult to plan for demand in our business because we don’t experience any consistent peaks or troughs; it really is quite random. This made it difficult in the past to source the right number of raw materials for incoming work and we tended to purchase material in bulk to fill the warehouse. What we ended up doing each year was only using a percentage of this stock in production, wasting a large percentage of storage space and material costs.”
“As part of our SYSPRO investment, we wanted to utilise the data we were sending into the system to ascertain how many raw materials and how much storage we required, when compared to the average number of jobs we take on throughout the course of a year. By analysing this information we have been able to halve the level of stock we held 18 months ago, but without reducing work. Instead, we are using SYSPRO to be more responsive to our customers and to start storing more of the right raw materials. We now order stock as demand requires, and this has meant that we understand in more detail how much storage space we actually require. By renting out the additional storage space we no longer use, and being smarter with inventory management, we are saving up to £40,000 a year.”
Seamless Inter-company transactions
Grant Instruments specialises in the design and manufacture of medical equipment for sample preparation, scientific analysis, data acquisition and data analysis, providing solutions to the global scientific and industrial markets. The company has a worldwide reputation for paying the highest attention to quality, reliability, service and support and is one of a growing number of manufacturing businesses always seeking to automate and integrate its entire value chain as the manufacturing sector enters Industry 4.0.
Operating seamlessly with SYSPRO is K3 Dataswitch, a data manipulation and systems integration tool. The product has the potential to allow Grant Instruments to quickly and efficiently trade with itself overseas. In addition to its Cambridgeshire site in the UK, the business also operates sites in China and India. The business is exploring the possibility of using DataSwitch to facilitate seamless inter-company transactions between China, India, and the UK, thus allowing Grant Instrument’s overseas subsidiaries to quickly and easily purchase stock manufactured in the UK to supply to customers across the globe.
Linda Harvey, Finance Director at Grant Instruments, explains:
“Utilising DataSwitch for inter-company trading would be very useful. Customers overseas recognise the quality of British manufacturing and the renowned ‘Made in the UK’ stamp. Our India site in particular receives numerous requests specifically for UK-manufactured products, which we cater for.”
“Of our customer base, we have a number of large customers who have previously told us that they would like to trade with us via Electronic Data Interchange. DataSwitch would give us this ability. As we come to understand how to operate DataSwitch more effectively, we are discovering new ways that it can support our business and further streamline our supply chain.”
SYSPRO and DataSwitch are not the only products delivering a noticeable Return on Investment for Grant Instruments. The company is also utilising K3 Syspro’s email automation solution, Automail, which integrates with SYSPRO to automate invoicing and sales processes, which were previously labour intensive and therefore, time consuming. The business estimates that it sends out 50 documents every day relating to invoicing and sales, representing a significant saving on postage costs, up to £160 a week.
Integration and Automation
Linda Harvey comments:
“Our customers really like what we are doing with AutoMail and, so far, feedback has indicated that they prefer to receive this communication electronically rather than by post. For us, it’s another stream of automation to our processes, which is resulting in overall time and cost savings. Any way that we can continue to streamline our processes, whilst continuing to add value and additional services to our customers, we will investigate. K3 Syspro provides the tools to enable us to do this.”
The recruitment of a new Operations Director five years ago proved instrumental in helping Grant Instruments to integrate its business applications and automate manual-intensive processes in order to experience marginal gains. Prior to this, the business utilised SYSPRO on a smaller scale to process blanket purchase orders, calculate Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) and process financial information. Since changing the way the business views SYSPRO, the company has continually found new ways to utilise K3 Syspro applications to drive further value across the business. As the business looks to upgrade its SYSPRO solution to version 7, and take advantage of enhance functionality, the solution has become an integral part of all business operations.
Paul Gill summarises:
“Today, all of our financial transactions are processed through SYSPRO. We use the data inside the system to generate profit and loss reports, which we previously had to generate manually. We can also record budgets in SYSPRO so that our local managers can make faster and more accurate decisions regarding purchasing. When we stopped thinking of SYSPRO as another off-the-shelf system and started to explore its capabilities, we really started to extract value from the solution. Businesses spend lots of time importing data into ERP, but we have experienced that the real value comes in extracting that data afterwards and using it for analysis. That’s how we have been able to offer greater services to our customers and that’s how we have been able to integrate and automate our business.”
Grant Instruments is deploying SYSPRO on premise, with its own technical team responsible for managing and maintaining the solution. The company has the assistance of K3 Syspro’s own dedicated team to fall back on should they have a query that they cannot answer in house. Already the company has benefited from the expertise and bigger picture thinking of the K3 Syspro team.
Linda Harvey adds:
“The K3 Syspro team have more than earned their money from us over the last few months. They fully understand the benefits of operating an integrated supply chain and more importantly, they know what the small steps are that we need to take in order to experience bigger gains. For K3 Syspro, ERP goes beyond financial data collection and processing, they can see the whole picture and the benefits that their technologies can provide to the entire supply chain.”