Metrol Springs take pride in having over 30 years of experience in British Manufacturing with their products being designed in the UK. The company’s extensive range of products includes gas struts, custom and access hardware, Accuride slides and a vast selection of nitrogen gas springs which can be used in an array of settings from the most basic, domestic applications through to some of the most demanding industrial and marine uses. Metrol Springs manufacture the gas springs for metal stamping and for the automotive industry, supplying to JLR, Honda, Nissan and some of their Tier 1 suppliers.
To further guarantee quality, all their products are produced in compliance with ISO9001:2008 and are thoroughly tested to meet the standards of the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED97/23/EC).
With Growth Comes Change
After the financial problems the business started growing and the growth mirrored the rise of JLR. The problem with growth is using archaic methods expose inefficiencies. Chris Pegram at Metrol Springs said: “we were using Sage accounting package but it didn’t lend itself to manufacturing. We also had too much human input into the process through excel spreadsheets.”
The existing processes and inefficient way of managing operations was one of the main drivers for purchasing a new manufacturing system. Chris continued “we had stock control issues. If you cannot control and move stock around the building the whole place will become inefficient. Another factor was traceability. We manufacture large gas springs and it is forced upon us to be compliant to ISO 9001. We needed an electronic system that would give us this traceability.”
Metrol Springs evaluated various vendors such as Sage Manufacturing software, which is a bolt on to the accounting software as well as Datatrack. Chris said: “we actually bought a license for Datatrack but when I started using the tool I found it was actually counterproductive to what we were trying to do. I felt Datatrack was unnavigable and lacked flexibility. Furthermore, Datatrack couldn’t integrate with the sales and web part of our business.”
ProgressPlus was recommended to Metrol Springs from another vendor. Chris continued: “ProgressPlus is intuitive and really easy you use. It has a similar interface and similar symbols to popular software and this made it a lot easier using the product.”
Metrol Springs had worries about implementation and customisation. Chris said: “after the problems with Datatrack, it decreased my level of confidence on software systems working for us.
- How do you go from our antiquated system to a system like ProgressPlus that is well controlled?
- How are we going to implement it?
- How are we going to get data on to the system?
- How are we going to deal with customising certain parts of the software to fit our way of doing business?
- In particular, with European Pressure Equipment Directive we have to do things in certain ways. How do we get your system to deal with this?
So these were some of the worries.”
The business has never been through change management with software. Chris said “it is fantastic when the managing director of Berkeley Myles Solutions, Tony, comes into your business and shows all these great features on the product but then you have to think, how are we going to fit this software in our company and get orders out of the door?”
Light at the end of the tunnel
There was an ease of concerns during the demonstrations of ProgressPlus. Chris commented: “Tony was very descriptive, explaining this is the way Berkeley Myles Solutions would manage it and this is how we are going to make it happen. Additionally, Tony took time to upload our data for the demo. This made it more relevant and easier for us to understand the system.”
As a leading software business Berkeley Myles Solutions provide online support. Chris said: “after you purchase the software; after-sales support visit your premises and assess your needs and give you lots of homework. What if we needed help? You get a bit worried as they are based in Scotland.”
Chris continued: “The online support has been fantastic! You call Berkeley Myles Solutions, one of their technical support analysts, James in our case, logs into your system and it is like he is there. Sometimes we made silly mistakes, got stuck with something and Berkeley Myles Solutions was always there to provide to fix it or show us how to fix it.”
As well as the online support we received implementation and training support. “Our Implementation Consultant, Colin, was really good when he visited us. He took the time to understand our business and our processes, what we were trying to do and set up ProgressPlus to fit our business needs.”
Two Months To Implement
Another concern for companies buying software is the length of time it will take to setup. Chris said “From day one when I put ProgressPlus on my PC, it took me less than two months to get started, which is perfect as other vendors told us it would take a year.”
Chris went into detail on the particular benefits of ProgressPlus: “ProgressPlus does everything we need it to. It’s not difficult to learn and after Colin’s help I conducted a lot of the internal training myself. The software has made us more efficient and has taken a lot of the human element out of what we used to do. With better production planning we can see our shortfall and don’t run out of parts anymore.”
There was a function in particular that helped Metrol Springs. “A massive solution was with packing lists. When shipping to China we had to create 20 different invoices and this made a packing list. We had to cross reference the packing list with the invoices to make sure the data is matched. If any part is wrong or even if there is a spelling mistake it can cause the shipment to get impounded. The support team came up with a packing list feature specific to our need.”
Chris continued “With Berkeley Myles Solutions there is never an attitude that it cannot be done, their approach is let’s see if we can find a solution. In business, this is the way it should be, but so many other companies say no!”
A production control system is so integral to a manufacturing business. Chris said: “I thought the biggest move for the business was moving to a new larger factory, however I would say implementing ProgressPlus is the best move we have made and has helped us improve the business.”
Your Overall Opinion
Chris concluded: “Berkeley Myles Solutions is fantastic and I would recommend them to anyone. I am really impressed. What I am particularly impressed with is the flexibility, attitude and willingness to try everything to tailor the system to suit our specific requirements. From packing lists to ship goods to China, to tailoring templates to detail specific information, to integrating web shops and UPS Worldship, there has always been a positive approach and successful outcome. I think this is also a key issue when implementing a new system, can it be adaptable to specific requirements, having a company that supports and actively works with you to achieve this makes a huge difference to the successful implementation.”