Helping Techflow grow

Posted on 31 Jan 2014 by The Manufacturer

A new ERP systems is supporting growth and business improvement at Techflow Flexibles

About Techflow Flexibles

Location: Cramlington, Northumberland

Products/services:  Analysis, design, manufacture and supply of hoses for the oil and gas industry

Key customers: BP, Total and Samsung

Markets: 90% export with Brazil and the Middle East representing two significant growth areas

In February 2013 Techflow Flexible moved into a new 183,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in order to meet the growing demand for its wide range of products and support services.

But growth is not only about increasing footprint and capacity. To keep up with expanding demand Techflow identified the need for a fully integrated IT infrastructure to help maximise its profitability and support the delivery of customer satisfaction.

And so, ahead of its move to new premises in 2012 Techflow Flexibles decided to replace its existing, manually-maintain and basic IT system and install a K8 Enterprise, an integrated ERP solution which matched the needs of its technically demanding sector and the company’s growth ambitions.

K8 Enterprise won out over other systems Techflow Flexibles assessed thanks to its flexibility and tailoring capabilities – it’s a standard system without the need for bespoke developments.

Clearly, implementing a new system represented a major change for the company.

Terry McDonnell, commercial manager, recalls: “We needed to improve the quality of our processes for everyone’s benefit. It was also essential to have accurate, real-time management information covering all areas of the business.”

One step at a time

K8 Enterprise went live in September 2012 and by taking a step-by-step approach to transform functions in each department, the company ensured that everyone was comfortable with each phase before rolling out the next module.

“We took the decision to go for some quick wins, particularly in accounts and purchasing, and be able to demonstrate the benefits to everyone,” explains Mr McDonnell. “There were no major issues as we progressed. Virtually from day one, K8 Enterprise began to prove its worth.”

“To an extent, implementing the new system was a leap into the unknown, but with the support of KCS Datawright, we were confident of achieving the results we were looking for.” Terry McDonnell, Commercial Manager, Techflow Flexibles

K8 Enterprise delivering

There is little doubt that K8 Enterprise is delivering the value and benefits that Techflow Flexibles requires. “The job card and bill of materials functions give us complete control of every order and our production planning processes have been improved and are much easier to administer,” says McDonnell.

The company is also able to use K8 Enterprise to effectively manage lean manufacturing. Just-in-time ordering from suppliers is saving the company money, resulting in lower stock holdings. On time delivery has also improved – this is often a critical requirement and delays can have a considerable impact on production.

“With K8 Enterprise, our staff are now much better informed about what’s going on across the business, the system’s management information dashboards mean that our communications and decision-making processes are much more efficient and accurate,” says McDonnell.

A significant aspect of implementing any new system is the extent to which a business has to adapt its processes to suit but for K8 Enterprise, Techflow Flexibles found there was a close fit, “We were able to ensure continuity and the system’s capability in terms of audit and full traceability means that controls are much tighter now, particularly if an issue occurs,” comments McDonell.

Furthermore the K8 Enterprise system is just part of the story.

Fundamental to Techflow Flexibles’ strategy is the continuing role of KCS Datawright as a business partner. “We are going through an exciting phase of development and it is particularly reassuring to know that no matter what, we can call upon the KCS Datawright team to support us as we move forwards. We have a trusted and valued relationship which is working very well,” McDonell sums up.