There are a number of inherent challenges in looking to consistently deliver the levels of flexibility and quality required by A E Harris’s growing customer base, first and foremost, the nature of the customers themselves. Director Jerry Smith explains why. “The diversity of our customer base means that not only do our order sizes vary considerably, the way these orders are placed come in many different forms.” He continues, “We get everything from new business, repeat business, and repeat business but with modified designs, some in defined batch sizes with others to be called off over anything up to a year depending on demand. Even allowing for an average of 20% of workload being replaced each year, our orders come in pretty random buying patterns.” Even then there can be further complications with customers wanting to change specifications and/or order sizes just before or even mid-way through a production run. Ensuring this information is transparent to all those teams involved from order receipt through to despatch is paramount”.
The upgrade to EFACS E/8 involved more than simply moving to a different system, it required a transition to a much more modern use of IT at a business level and a much more up-to-date IT experience at an end-user level. Users quickly found the operating environment to be simple to understand and easy to use which contributed to the delivery of cost savings within the first quarter of going live. This was matched by better production levels, achieved with existing staffing levels as well as greater accuracy and visibility of information within the company.