E-MAX CASE STUDY

Impress Group

Opening up new markets

Summary

After several years of frustration with their incumbent ERP software, Impress Group, a leading supplier of specialist pressings and other specialist manufacturing services, sought a solution to help them achieve their challenging growth ambitions. Lack of functionality, the costs required to upgrade their current software and a keen enthusiasm to improve the efficiency of their processes meant that a new ERP supplier was required.

E-Max Systems were appointed to provide a solution. Their functionality rich yet cost-effective ERP software provided Impress with the means to:

  • Reduce processing times without additional resource
  • Improve stock control and work allocation
  • Increase output to new markets, including aerospace, medical and rail

and has provided a robust business wide operating system which has enabled Impress to increase production efficiency, expand from 1 to 5 companies and increase turnover to £7m in the last financial year.

About the Client

The Impress Group provides quality precision engineering services to the UK and international markets and are a leading UK supplier of specialist pressings. Comprised of several specialist companies, the Group offers an extensive range of services including pressings, coatings, CNC milling and turning, laser cutting, sliding head machining, fabrication and specialist welding, and sheet metal forming, enabling them to oversee the whole manufacturing process in-house. Based in North East England, Impress are currently celebrating their 20th year in business.

The level of quality, attention to detail and personal service provided by the Impress Group has enabled them to develop an excellent reputation within the industries they support. Their customer base includes companies operating in the sub-sea; oil, gas and exploration; rail; marine; defence and aerospace. Having worked on multiple high-profile complex projects, including The Halo in Trinity Square, Gateshead and the Diamond Light Source, the team at Impress thrive on being able to provide professional quality solutions to their customers.

The Challenges

In 2011, the management team at Impress were ready to take the company to the next level. Impress was continuing to grow at a constant pace but needed to manage that growth and increased flow of information across the company. The ERP software in place was unable to handle the new processes the team wanted to implement and couldn’t be adapted without incurring significant costs.

The key challenges the Impress Group faced at that point were:

  • Inflexibility of their current ERP software
  • Increasing costs to maintain software, with even higher anticipated costs to improve it
  • Missing functionality within their current software
  • Strong growth rate into new and existing markets meant more data needed to be maintained and analysed
  • Lack of useful data to make quick decisions

With demanding new objectives in growth and efficiency to be met, the management team knew that they needed to find a solution.

“It has allowed us to grow as a business and move into other areas. E-Max’s software gave us the ability to process, prioritise and schedule huge amounts of orders. This was previously not achievable with the available staff without employing more people and provided an immediate ROI on that alone.”

Stephen Patrick, Engineering Director, Impress Group

The Solution

Having recognised the constraints of their existing software, the management team decided to investigate alternative software options that better suited their growth and development ambitions.

This new ERP software needed to include some key functionality that they had identified as being essential for increasing their efficiency and thus competitiveness. It was important that the new system offered options to:

  • Process multi-level BOMs (Bill of Materials)
  • Log and manage non-conformances
  • Improve and streamline document control

Rather than go through the expense and time required to develop a bespoke ERP solution from scratch, the team looked for an off the shelf package that would provide a good return on investment.

After initial discussions with several ERP providers, the team at Impress decided that E-Max offered the most flexible, functionality rich and cost-effective way forward. Because of the flexibility of E-Max’s software, the E-Max development team were able to tailor the software around Impress’s processes and capture the data required for accurate decision making. Business wide reports were customised to provide a 360° view of the business.

Stephen Patrick, Engineering Director at the Impress Group, noted that “The installation went well and was very straightforward. Our users found it strange using a new system at first but they all got to grips with it quickly. The system is easier to use than the other systems I have seen. Its features are extremely user friendly and the system offers flexibility throughout.”

The Benefits

Immediately on implementation, the Impress Group achieved significant reductions in the amount of processing time required for jobs and BOMs. BOMs became much easier to create and can be linked to routes and operations, which was not an option previously.

Documents are now stored electronically and linked to almost every entity in the system, all of which can be added, changed and deleted accordingly. For a company that was previously very document heavy, this has been a very welcome progression.

The system also provided Impress with a business wide planning and costing tool, providing greater clarity on job costing at estimate, planned and actual cost stages. This helped Impress to identify and resolve any areas within the company that were underperforming.

E-Max’s software enabled Impress to take on jobs from new customers who required full traceability from their suppliers. Audits are now straightforward with E-Max integrated into Impress’s quality procedures.

Every Impress E-Max user was able to tailor their own dashboard views to give them a real-time snapshot of the business KPIs and metrics that were relevant to them. Being able to see this information on a single screen has enabled greater focus on performance across the entire company, leading to improvements in Impress’s operating efficiency.

Stephen also noted that “E-Max has made the process of job cards more streamlined along with purchase orders. We can now easily see what materials have been ordered for each job, when to expect them and store all relevant information on routes, notes, operations and, if necessary, non-conformances for every job in an easily accessible format. Pre-E-Max, we really struggled to collate all of this information.”

The Results

Impress have continued to grow since the implementation of E-Max in 2012, and have expanded from a single company to a group consisting of 5 specialist engineering and manufacturing companies. Their current annual turnover has increased to £7million and the management team freely acknowledge that this growth would not have been possible without E-Max ERP software.

In that time, E-Max has allowed Impress to:

  • Reduce processing times without additional resource
  • Improve stock control and work allocation
  • Increase output to new markets, including aerospace, medical and rail

Stephen concluded

“It has allowed us to grow as a business and move into other areas. E-Max’s software gave us the ability to process, prioritise and schedule huge amounts of orders. This was previously not achievable with the available staff without employing more people and provided an immediate ROI on that alone.”

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