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Impressed Customer buys Software Company

GOOLE chemical contract manufacturer Grotech Production Ltd liked its new production management software so much that they bought the company that sold it to them.

Grotech invested in the system from WBSolutions in Goole in a bid to digitalise the way it controlled its business. The company was so impressed with what the software was doing for their business that they bought out WBSolutions to create Grotech Data Solutions (GDS).

“We were looking for a way to improve our productivity and profitability. Lean improvements were obviously needed but the short run nature of our business made it difficult and expensive to capture and analyse line performances in time to act on them to increase efficiency,” explained Grotech Production Ltd’s MD Martin Usher.

The solution that WBSolutions came up with targets three main areas: the real-time output rate of the lines (units/minute); the length of individual line stoppages (stop time minutes) and the reasons for each stoppage (stop causes).

Real time manufacturing data is captured using Raspberry Pi, WiFi tablet and Cloud technology so managers can see instantly whether production is on schedule and take swift action to get it back on track.

“The new digital ways of working are enabling us all to pull together in an almost seamless way. Engineers can see when there’s an issue on a line without having to be notified by staff on the factory floor and can take action straightaway. The Production Manager can see where the problem lies and keep an eye on the production schedule. Operations staff have the information on tablets attached to the line so they are kept up to date also. Even I can see it if I’m working from home!” said Martin.

“It’s giving us all complete visibility of what’s happening within the company which is resulting in greater efficiency and productivity.”

The use of Cloud technology means the system can be accessed and updated from anywhere with an internet connection and the software can be set up for unlimited users. As well as helping to improve manufacturing performance and productivity, when combined with modules covering sales, purchase and works orders plus stock levels, GDS software can also contribute towards planning and inventory control.

“Most computerised manufacturing resource planning systems are angled towards large manufacturers with high volume production runs and big budgets. With GDS we offer solutions based on a modular approach so each customer can put together a software driven management system that work for them. This is much more cost effective and tailored to the needs of small and medium manufacturers,” said Mark Eland, Finance Director for Grotech Production Ltd and GDS.

“It’s proving beneficial for Grotech Production Ltd and we’d like to share what we’ve learned with other SMEs.”