Leading North East engineering firm, Teescraft Engineering, has recently invested in its future success with the implementation of a new enterprise software solution, provided by innovative local software company, E-Max Systems.
The multiple award winning Teescraft has gained a well-earned reputation for producing quality precision components, to which they supply to industries including power generation, oil & gas and automotive. But faced with the increasingly competitive nature within these sectors, the Tees business has taken the bold step of investing in state of the art software to keep them ahead of the game.
“We needed a tool that could drive our business forward,” said Michael Carr, Plant Manager of the Stockton-on-Tees site. “We lacked visibility across the business generally but particularly across our job costings. It was difficult to measure all the costs that should be attributed to manufacturing and calculate whether the work we were undertaking was all profitable.”
Prior to implementing E-Max ERP, the company relied heavily on manual calculations and previous experience to guide them in their planning activities. However, Carr acknowledged that this led to issues at production. “We would do our capacity planning at quotation but this often threw up capacity clashes when we arrived at the manufacturing stage.”
After being given the inside track on E-Max by a colleague who had used the system at a previous employer, Teescraft chose to implement E-Max ERP at the Stockton-on-Tees site. And the implementation? “Overall it was a very positive experience. Understandably there have been a few ‘speed bumps’ along the way but nothing that we wouldn’t have expected. Whenever we’ve encountered any issues, there’s usually somebody on the other end of the phone or email to help us out.”
E-Max ERP is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system designed specifically for manufacturing and engineering companies and allows a user to take a potential order from the quotation stage all the way through to final invoicing and accounts. By connecting all departments across a business, the information is easily accessible and there is a level of transparency that’s otherwise difficult to achieve with multiple systems.
In fact, that transparency has enabled Teescraft to identify what needs to change within their business to enable them to achieve their objectives. “We can now clearly see how we’ve fared on completed contracts,” noted Carr. “Using E-Max’s SFDC (shop floor data collection) means we can accurately capture time and resource used for each job on the shop floor and allocate actual costs to these.”
Other benefits the company is enjoying are from the customised reports, which provide real time visibility of activities. Having this type of reliable data was a key goal for Teescraft from day one of the project and has given the team the ability to make informed decisions as and when they need to.
E-Max ERP has streamlined Teescraft’s processes, leading to increased efficiency and greater productivity. “Requests for Quote (RFQs) and planning are all now conducted on E-Max. When an order is secured, following an RFQ, planning and timings are already there.” Which leads us nicely onto Carr’s favourite feature: “Capacity planning – 100%! Although E-Max benefits almost every facet of our working day, from a personal point of view, the capacity planner has made the most significant difference to the way we operate. Scheduling is virtually automated and we can instantly identify any jobs that have issues and take affirmative action.”
“There’s no doubt E-Max will help us manage multiple business functions and further streamline and automate daily business operations. Our customers are the real beneficiaries of the software, as we produce our quality components quicker and more efficiently. We may have only been fully up and running with E-Max ERP for the last 5 months but it’s already very clear to see how E-Max will shape our business and make us more competitive for the future.”
Putting the engine into engineering
Teescraft Engineering is one of E-Max Systems newer clients but the company has a long history of serving similar engineering and manufacturing businesses. Jason Pritchard, sales director of the Thornaby based software provider, is quick to highlight that over 90% of E-Max’s clients operate in the manufacturing and engineering industry.
“The reason we have so many clients from this background is quite simple – our software truly has been designed for engineers by engineers. Our founders were engineers who understood the difficulty of finding an end-to-end system that met the specific needs of engineering and manufacturing businesses. We’ve continued to develop our solutions to cater for new requirements that have arisen from new technologies and production methods.
“Where we really set ourselves apart from other enterprise software providers is in the core manufacturing functions of production, planning and scheduling. Although our software will effectively run a company – think of it as the engine driving all the information from initial quote through to back end accounts – it’s the attention to detail in these specific manufacturing areas that makes E-Max special.
“Our clients appreciate all the little things like being able to apply a cost per tonne to each material or part, calculate speeds and feeds and use lengths and breadths to reduce wastage. Our scheduling allows optimisation of activities so material logistics and setup times are reduced.
“There are so many layers to our software which can benefit any business that makes things. In fact, we recently had a consultant tell us he’d rarely seen a product below tier 1 which offers such a comprehensive solution for manufacturers and that E-Max punches well above its weight. Feedback like that reaffirms that we’ve done the right thing in remaining true to our roots and striving to develop the definitive solution for SMEs in this sector.
In these current challenging times, British manufacturers need every advantage possible – we believe E-Max can deliver that.”
This article was first published in the Autumn 2020 edition of Tees Business News and is reproduced with their kind permission. Pictures by Tom Banks.