Mestec factory floor data capture system delivers a three-month payback

Posted on 11 Jan 2013 by Malcolm Wheatley

Adding factory-floor transactions to an ERP system can slow it down significantly. CSM UK found that it doesn’t have to be that way.

When bakery products manufacturer CSM UK bought a Surrey-based baked goods business to add to its existing network of UK factories, the challenges were clear.

Most obviously, the newly‑acquired business had levels of product traceability that fell far below CSM’s standards. Labour‑intensive spreadsheet‑based systems were rife, including a spreadsheet‑based system for calculating and recording product ‘best before’ dates. And customers—the major supermarket chains—had become wary of broken promises regarding corrective action.

Clearly, ERP offered a way forward. But, standardised on Microsoft Dynamics NAV as an ERP system, CSM feared widespread degradation of NAV’s response times if it simply added the new business’s factory-floor transactions to the system.

“What worried us was the productivity-sapping effect of adding an enormous number of new factory-floor transactions to the system—not just at the new plant, where we wanted to improve productivity, rather than worsen it, but elsewhere within CSM’s UK organisation, as well,” says Gareth Read, business process manager at CSM UK.

The answer? An innovative ‘Manufacturing Smart Box’ system from Mestec.

“Compared to performing transactions within Dynamics NAV, it seemed very simple and easy to use,” says Read. “The answer seemed obvious: use the Mestec system to capture transactions, and then get the system to update Dynamics NAV, via an electronic interface.”

Halfway through the twelve-month turnaround plan that CSM had put in place, not only has the goal of avoiding degradation on the Microsoft Dynamics NAV system been fully met, but operatives have been freed from working with labour‑intensive and error‑prone manual systems.

“The Mestec system has been designed from the ground up for factory-floor data capture, with simple, clear, easy-to-use screens,” says John Main, head of planning and logistics at CSM UK. ”Changing an ERP system is costly and risky: using a system that is fit-for-purpose reduces both the cost and the risk—and compared to manual systems, greatly boosts productivity.”

“Overall, we reckon that our investment in Mestec has delivered a three-month payback, as well as helping us to deliver a better customer experience,” he sums up.

To learn more, click here to read the full case study.