PSL Datatrack

  1. PSL Datatrack Proud To Support The BTMA
    19 May 2017

    As a long standing member of the British Turned Parts Manufacturers Association (BTMA), PSL Datatrack recognises the important role that the organisation plays in helping the manufacturing industry to source high quality precision turned parts and machined components, as well as related manufacturing software and production services. A number of members are PSL Datatrack users themselves and amongst these are Wealdpark Limited and Qualiturn Products Limited, whose directors are currently President and Vice President of the BTMA respectively.

    “It is fantastic recognition of the quality of our system to have both the President and Vice President’s companies relying on PSL Datatrack production control software to help run their businesses.” says Geoff Gartland, Managing Director of PSL.

    Phil Smith, BTMA President and Managing Director of Wealdpark uses their membership of the BTMA to full advantage, including its role as a forum for exchanging ideas with other members. “One of the great strengths of BTMA membership is the opportunity to network and discuss technical information. Full members are in the same type of business and face similar challenges. The rivalry is friendly but supportive, with different companies often finding alternative or better solutions to specific production problems which they can share to the benefit of everyone.”

    Wealdpark first invested in PSL Datatrack eight years ago, having considered various software suppliers and chose the system to overcome the burden of repetitive administration in their production process. Over the years, PSL Datatrack has enabled Wealdpark to streamline and speed up its production processes. It has also helped to free up Phil's time, enabling him to fulfil the busy and challenging role of BTMA President. “To be honest, it is difficult to see how we managed before we had PSL Datatrack.” says Phil.

    Nick Groom, BTMA Vice President and Managing Director of Qualiturn, has a similar story to tell. His company has relied on PSL Datatrack since 1994. “The longevity of our relationship is testimony in itself to how much we think of the PSL Datatrack system. Within the BTMA, everyone can see what we have achieved as a company and the different technologies we have employed to reach our current position. If we have a good solution for a specific production task we are happy to share information – the use of PSL Datatrack Status Boards is a good example.”

    Nick says working with PSL Datatrack is a strong two way relationship whereby he lets PSL know what Qualiturn need and offers ideas for enhancing the software. Indeed, many of Qualiturn's suggestions have been submitted through the wish list system and have become part of a subsequent product release to the wider PSL Datatrack community. Geoff and his team support Qualiturn not just on a day to day basis, but with recommendations on how the software can be used to help the company to be ever more productive.

    “We have known both companies for a long time and are delighted to continue to work with them as well as other members of the BTMA.” comments Geoff. “The BTMA is an excellent association for any company looking to source turned parts and machined components as well as for companies like PSL Datatrack as it keeps them fully abreast of the subcontract manufacturing industry's ever changing needs.”

    PSL Datatrack Proud To Support The BTMA
  2. PSL Datatrack Provides Complete Production Control To Sub-CNC
    19 April 2017

    Sub-CNC Precision, a privately owned subcontractor specialising in the machining of high quality turned and milled components has invested in PSL Datatrack production control software to provide greater control over the business, improve efficiency and save time whilst maintaining a highly reliable service to all customers in terms of both product quality and customer service. Over the last five years Sub-CNC has invested in the latest production technology, remote monitoring services including CCTV and machine diagnostics to support unmanned machining. Investment in PSL Datatrack software for stock control, work in progress and scheduling control, as well as other administration tasks is now making a major contribution to the company's continuing success.

    Sub-CNC supplies turned parts in high volumes and provide a stock holding service for its customers. This has proved popular, particularly over the last 18 months, helping the company to secure longer-term orders and giving customers the benefit of next day deliveries and cost reductions for higher volumes. State-of-the-art Citizen & Miyano machine tools enable Sub-CNC to achieve competitive cycle times whilst PSL Datatrack enables efficient workload planning throughout the workshop.

    Prior to investing in PSL Datatrack, Sub-CNC used a combination of Word and Excel files to manage the administration of the business. This approach required a lot of repetitive data entry, had become very time consuming and, as the business grew, was prone to error even for simple tasks such as producing delivery notes and certificates of conformity. 

    George Dingley, Director of Sub-CNC, recalls “By the end of 2014 the order throughput and document management of our thriving business had become a handful using our existing in-house system and we took the plunge to get on board with PSL Datatrack.”

    “The facility to have accurate data, a complete component stock list, and a stream-lined delivery process was very appealing, “says George. “I had used a different system at a previous company and also had an online demonstration of another but we felt that neither of the other systems focussed on what we were trying to achieve. We wanted a system designed for our business, not some huge management system with every bell, whistle and a long learning curve for our staff.”

    Both PSL Datatrack and Sub-CNC Precision are members of the BTMA. Informal preliminary discussions had already taken place but it was at a Mach exhibition where PSL Datatrack were exhibiting that George’s eyes were opened to the flexibility that PSL Datatrack manufacturing software could offer.

    Sub-CNC Precision was attracted by the flexibility of being able to add features and modules to the system as and when a need arose or their business developed further. PSL Datatrack was very helpful in assisting Sub-CNC to gain grant funding towards the project.

    “The system is very logical and like all new systems, staff had to get used to it but it soon became second nature.” Staff got to grips with it and with PSL Datatrack’s help; we were up and running quickly. As a smaller company, we like the fact that there is “no fat” in the PSL Datatrack software and there are no unnecessary areas of the software to distract users.” says Yian Stavrou, Director.

    Sub-CNC invested in modules to control Quotations, Sales and Purchase Order-processing, Works Orders, Material Stock, Component Stock, Delivery Notes and Invoicing. Having total control and traceability over every aspect of putting a job through the workshop is a major advantage. There are time savings at every corner and ISO 9001 recertification, which is vital to the company, is now “a breeze by comparison.”

    The flexibility and timesaving from using the Quotations module is a major benefit. “We often get price break requests on the same part and before PSL Datatrack, these used to sit idle awaiting the effort required to work them out. The module has saved us a lot of time, and I’m confident we are winning more work because we are simply quoting more.” says Yian.

    Converting quotations into job cards has been another huge time saving tool. These used to be manually generated in Word and invariably would wait until there was a window of spare time for someone to devote to the task. In extreme cases this could have eaten two weeks into a four-week lead-time on an order before the job card was available on the shop floor, becoming quite stressful during busy periods. Orders are now processed within minutes of them arriving and are acknowledged to the client so that they know it is being dealt with promptly.

    PSL Datatrack provided comprehensive support to Sub-CNC at all stages of the purchase and implementation process, particularly to ensure that external documentation was clear and well presented. “Nothing was too much bother for the PSL Datatrack team who designed the layouts to fit our needs. We were even able to have alterations made after the installation as our ideas evolved. Telephone support is always prompt and professional and the system very reliable.” concludes George who, along with his colleagues, is considering further investment in additional PSL Datatrack modules.

    PSL Datatrack Provides Complete Production Control To Sub-CNC
  3. PSL Datatrack system at Killala plays key role in Company's Success
    22 February 2017

    In the short time since the leading sub-contract engineering company Killala Precision Components of County Mayo in Ireland was acquired by a brother and sister partnership, the company has taken major strides forward. The new owners are well on the way to realising the great potential for the company's precision engineering services having made significant capital and other investments to help achieve their goal.

    One of the initial decisions was to invest in the PSL Datatrack control software. This decision was made based on the system’s ability to interrogate the information recorded from the shopfloor and use it to inform other areas of the system including order entry, purchase orders, stock control and deliveries. This seamless use of data enables Killala to provide a highly efficient service to their customers.

    Killala Precision produces high quality turned components in batches from 50 to 500,000 for customers in many different markets including the automotive, medical, refrigeration, oil & gas, brewing, hydraulic and pneumatic industries. As part of the other investments made several Tornos machine tools have been acquired - all designed to ensure that their customers get the best possible service and quality at the best possible price.

    The early investment, after the takeover, in a Tornos Sigma 32/6 was made because the company was turning away work due to limited capacity on existing machines. So successful has this investment proven that the company has just taken delivery of a third Tornos machine, a second Sigma 32/6,and may well make further similar investments.

    The PSL Datatrack system has made significant improvements within the overall context of production machines at Killala. For example, two of the PSL Datatrack modules in use are Tool Definitions and Bill of Tools. 70% of the company's work is repeat business and with these modules, once the job is defined and the process layout set, the tooling required is automatically selected thereby ensuring significant time savings on machine tool set up. Saving set up time is a vital part of maximising the return on investment in high-tech machinery.

    The PSL Datatrack software was brought in to replace an existing system and the significant improvements that it has made to Killala's business administration are recognised by the company.

    “PSL Datatrack is not a standard off the shelf system because it is very adaptable and has been adapted to our needs,” says Director/Owner Brian Irwin. “This flexibility has been vital to us on a day to day basis.”

    The company is ISO9001: 2008 accredited and therefore traceability of materials and tracking of orders is critical. Both these requirements are being met in full by PSL Datatrack, as well as producing more informative management and production activity reports to enable more informed business decision making.

    For Killala, being able to meet precisely the needs of their customers is central to the company's philosophy for success. This includes effective communication with them on deliveries, whether they are ship to stock or on a JIT basis. Within PSL Datatrack, emails can be automatically generated to inform customers when their order has been despatched. Killala uses PSL Datatrack with a base currency in Euros rather than Sterling, treating sterling as a foreign currency – a first for PSL Datatrack.

    Killala Precision's service may seem like that of many other sub-contract engineering companies, however, the company has its own particular routines and requirements when it comes to production management – and that is where PSL Datatrack has been particularly important. “We wanted really high levels of visibility regarding our shopfloor activities,” says Declan Loughney. “Many shopfloor data collection systems similar to PSL Datatrack are more geared up for reporting on smaller production runs. The PSL Datatrack modules have, however, been configured especially for us to provide information collection on longer runs too.”
    Equally, the technical back up provided by PSL Datatrack and the on-going customisation of the system have also been major positives for Killala Precision. “The combination of system flexibility and the day to day support we receive from PSL is excellent, helping us to maximise our investments – not just in PSL Datatrack, but also in the performance of our machine tools and production systems,” continues Declan.

    PSL Datatrack sales and purchase order processing, sequential scheduling, shop floor data collection, bill of tools and tool definitions are all now being successfully implemented by Killala. They are providing the company with the ability to retrieve and review all the key performance indicators (KPI) relating to their production programmes and make the required improvements to continue the success achieved to date.

    PSL Datatrack system at Killala plays key role in Company's Success
  4. Seychell Capitalises On Full Implementation Of PSL Datatrack
    22 February 2017

    Seychell Engineering had been operating for some 30 years as a successful manufacturer of bespoke engineering products when new owner, Roger Williams, acquired it in April 2013. He took over a profitable business with a good customer base in the scientific, medical, aerospace, marine and motorsport sectors that still had potential to grow. To build upon this, it was important to ensure that the company's existing PSL Datatrack production control software was being utilised to its full advantage.

    Having carried out a full business review, followed by implementation of a program of changes and improvements to many areas of the business, including branding, marketing, engineering processes, IT and administration. Roger concluded that the PSL Datatrack system was ideally suited to the needs of Seychell's business now and for the future. “It was clear that it had the functionality that I wished to implement to help improve the business.” he said. Roger recognised though, that the company needed to make better use of the system to achieve the improvements he desired.

    Roger also identified that, historically, vital information about production processes and customers requirements was not being recorded fully; important information was being held in people's heads. This problem was demonstrated when a key member of staff was ill for several months not long after the business had been acquired. PSL Datatrack provided training to help the company overcome these issues.

    The PSL Datatrack system, from quotation to invoicing plus scheduling, shop floor data collection, job costing and purchase invoicing has now been fully implemented. As part of his review, Roger had identified that not all of the PSL Datatrack modules that Seychell had originally invested in were being used to their full potential. Investment in staff training has made the business more efficient and ensures a much faster response to customers' needs.

    Following training, better use of the Quotations module has given the company a much more efficient and accurate method of pricing jobs, together with accurate management of component manufacture to ensure that only correct issue drawings are used. Accurate processes together with the implementation of the Scheduling and Shop Floor Data Collection modules enable Seychell to give their customers very accurate delivery date estimates. Production capacity status is now visible without having to physically go to the shop floor to find out and Seychell are now able to monitor machining and other process times. No such information was previously available whereas now the company can compare actual costs to quotation and therefore accurately monitor profits and learn from variances.

    Roger noted that the team at Seychell have found the PSL Datatrack system very easy to use due to commonality of functions throughout the modules. This was important when implementing many changes as the staff were naturally nervous of change and had previously only been using a small amount of PSL Datatrack's full functionality.

    “PSL Datatrack is a modular system that can be built up. This has been very helpful, as it has meant that we have been able to implement new processes in stages rather than all at once. It has also allowed the company to subsequently purchase additional PSL Datatrack modules as they are required.” says Roger. Seychell will now add the Quality Assurance and CRM modules over the next twelve months to continue to enhance the efficiency of the business.

    According to Roger, the support provided by PSL Datatrack is always quick and accurate. “PSL Datatrack continually develops new functionality for the software and good on-site support has been provided during the planning and implementation of training & new modules. I am very happy with the system and the huge amount of change we have implemented in the company over the past year which has been highly successful without any issues.”

    Seychell Capitalises On Full Implementation Of PSL Datatrack
  5. ISO accreditation the easy way with PSL Datatrack
    21 February 2017

    When Bernard Holmes Precision of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, decided to acquire ISO 9001, this leading sub-contract precision engineering company was keen to implement a production management system that would make the path to accreditation as smooth as possible. This was achieved, with zero non-compliance, within six months of investing in PSL Datatrack business administration software.

    Bernard Holmes’ Assistant Manager, Russell Thackray, says, “I would definitely recommend PSL Datatrack to any other company like ours looking for ISO 9001 accreditation. It made our presentation to the auditors highly professional and we were able to confirm everything they needed to know about our company information and procedures with just two or three clicks of the mouse.” The decision to gain ISO 9001 accreditation was based on the desire to attract more work from larger organisations, especially in the fields of renewable energy that overwhelmingly insist their suppliers have such accreditation.

    “We also wanted to step up our administration and quality procedures in general as part of our policy of continuous improvement,” says Russell, “historically the company’s records had been paper based so finding customer information was never easy. Growing the business without increasing the number of administrative staff meant it was vital to remove the burden of manual administration in order to give time to developing the business and capitalising on an upturn in the economy.”

    Bernard Holmes is a company that has always kept its eye on current trends and industry news; in particular they noted how the PSL Datatrack name featured time and time again in the media as being the type of production management system ideal for their size/type of business. “We noted that some very well known names in the sub-contract engineering business were already putting their faith in PSL Datatrack,” says Russell.

    Bernard Holmes spent time investigating the market, speaking to suppliers of other manufacturing systems, as well as PSL. It was concluded that PSL Datatrack would best meet their needs. “PSL Datatrack was the only system – and the only company – that gave us the confidence that we would get the system up and running quickly. We have other responsibilities in the business so a system that could almost look after itself very quickly was just what we wanted,” says Russell. The system was swift to implement through quality induction training backed up by the availability of additional training and technical support as required.

    PSL Datatrack is a modular system enabling customers to start with a system sized to suit their immediate requirements with the ability to extend it as and when required. Bernard Holmes invested in a core system, Quotation to Invoice, to manage Sales and Purchase Order Processing. These core modules provide process control and traceability on every works order, helping to fulfil customers’ demands more quickly, improving delivery schedules and increasing machine utilisation.

    In the last few months, Shop Floor Data Collection and Job Costing modules have been added, enabling the company to track customers’ components through the entire production process and the time taken to manufacture them. This has led to identification and resolution of jobs that were not achieving their expected margin, resulting in a direct return on investment many times over.

    Extra users have already been added to the system to give other key staff access. “The modularity of PSL Datatrack has been very useful and we can continue to expand the system into other parts of the business whenever we want to. The longer we have PSL Datatrack, the more we realise how much it can help a business like ours,” says Russell who hopes to make further investments, including the Time and Attendance module, over the coming months.

    In conclusion, Russell Thackray says: “We bought PSL Datatrack in anticipation of starting the process of becoming ISO 9001 registered to help us get better organised. Within six months of having PSL Datatrack installed we had approval, the auditor was impressed with how quickly and easily everything flowed from one module to another."

    ISO accreditation the easy way with PSL Datatrack
  6. PSL Datatrack is essential investment for start up sub-contract engineering firm
    21 February 2017

    Newly established Sheldon Precision, based in Devon, specialises in turned parts and provides services to many different industry sectors. Owner, Howard Sheldon, made two major decisions at the outset which were to invest in PSL Datatrack production control software and a high speed Citizen A20 CNC lathe.

    In both cases Howard recognised the importance of investing in the highest quality software and production equipment. With using PSL Datatrack he knew there would be no learning curve having implemented PSL Datatrack at his father's sub-contract engineering company. Howard knew that the software's ability to significantly reduce administration time and improve production efficiency were essential to get his own business off to a flying start.

    “The administration that can be involved in creating spreadsheets, delivery notes, quotations and invoices manually can be a real burden and is lost time that a start-up company can ill afford,” says Howard. “Being efficient from the start is essential.”

    “I knew that at some future stage of Sheldon Precision's growth that I could be confronted with the challenge of moving from manual to software based business administration. An established business can manage this transition however it is far better to make the decision to invest at the outset and reap the benefits from day one."

    Investment in this type of business administration software is often considered too big a cost for a start-up however PSL Datatrack provided Howard with valuable advice on how to apply for available grants. Howard knew that any further investment in PSL Datatrack could be built up over a period of time, because the system is modular.

    “The work and administration involved in start up sub-contract engineering can be very demanding and PSL Datatrack is always keen to support companies such as Sheldon Precision,” says Geoff Gartland, Managing Director of PSL Datatrack.

    Sheldon Precision uses the PSL Datatrack software from quotation to invoice, providing control and traceability for every order at every step along the way. “Datatrack is a business system that runs the business,” says Howard. “Without it would be like having a shop without a till.”

    For repeat orders PSL Datatrack is particularly valuable - with a few clicks of the mouse it recalls all previous quotations for a customer. Costing, tooling, materials, batch sizes can be recalled, cost analysis can be undertaken very quickly and new quotations for different batch sizes can be generated easily. “With PSL Datatrack another benefit is that all our customer paperwork is presented professionally with our corporate branding and this creates an excellent impression. This is extremely useful for a small start-up company,” says Howard.

    Looking to the future, Sheldon Precision is looking to capitalise on the modularity of PSL Datatrack and invest next in the quality control module. This will provide a simple means of recording important supplier and customer non-conformity information - essential to effective quality control, essential for when the business seeks ISO accreditation.

    Howard concludes: “I have seen PSL Datatrack work highly effectively for a multi million pound turnover company with 60 employees and a far larger customer base than mine at present. I therefore know that the system will grow with me right into the future, taking care of the administration whilst I focus on the engineering and providing the best service to customers.”

    PSL Datatrack is essential investment for start up sub-contract engineering firm
  7. Fylde CNC Specialists Growth And Success Built On Solid Administration Foundations
    21 February 2017

    When in May 2014, Fylde CNC Specialists relocated to its brand new facility in Kirkham, Lancashire, the platform was established to further develop this highly successful and respected precision turning and milling subcontract engineering business. The new £1.2 million investment features the latest CNC machining technology and tool management systems in a state of the art development. Long before the move, in January 2011, the company had started to lay the foundations for its future expansion through investment in PSL Datatrack production control software.

    “Having recognised our customer and supplier administration procedures as areas of weakness and a potential hindrance to our plans for growth, we knew we needed to address them, “says Julie Fairclough, Office Manager at Fylde CNC Specialists. “Our record keeping was half manual and half computerised, using Excel spreadsheets. Retrieving information about our customers and the status of their orders was very difficult and time consuming. It was the same situation when looking for information on or from our suppliers. This was not sustainable for the business that we wanted to attract.”

    With a large base of global customers from sectors as diverse as the automotive and aerospace industries, the scientific and medical manufacturing markets, the electronics and telecoms sectors as well as the pneumatic and hydraulic engineering industries, Fylde CNC Specialists success has been based around its ability to listen carefully to what customers want and deliver on time exactly the solution that they require. With typical batch sizes ranging from hundreds to hundreds of thousands, tight control of manufacturing/assembly processes and the supply chain is essential. Control needed to be maintained and managed carefully as the business grew and more demands were put on administrative procedures.

    The search for a suitable solution led to PSL Datatrack, with its long track record in supplying modular production control software systems to the engineering sub-contracting industry. “We were looking for an off the shelf system with the flexibility to be customised to exactly what we needed and to grow with us," says Julie. “For us, this initially meant a package that could cover the fundamentals such as generating our customer quotations professionally, cost centre reporting, the raising of purchase orders, the monitoring of goods in/out, works orders and generally help us to manage and track key information we use in our manufacturing processes.”

    In the three years leading up to the company relocation to the new premises, Fylde CNC Specialists gained great experience using PSL Datatrack and the company was provided with extensive support & on-site training to ensure the potential of the software was maximised. Once the initial system was providing benefit to the business the company invested in additional modules including Gauge Calibration and Non-Conformance. “With automotive sector customers, for example, quality and traceability are absolutely essential - right back to the raw materials that we use. Finding information for our customers was often difficult and time consuming but with PSL Datatrack we now have the facility to present certificates of conformity to our customers very easily by retrieving them at the click of a mouse," says Julie. “In general terms, our control over our suppliers is much more efficient too as we can easily recall details of what materials we have historically ordered and the costs involved. Long gone are the days of hand written notes!”

    Other advantages of the PSL Datatrack system are based around its ability to provide real time and management information. For example, feedback on machine tool performance allows the company's management to intervene if necessary and make adjustments to machine settings to provide optimum results.

    For more efficient day to day running, the Time and Attendance module has allowed the company to dispense with analogue clocking in and out by staff and with manual calculations of hours worked. Instead, the module produces reports on employee hours worked and is used for payroll calculations. Another benefit is that at the customer invoicing stage, PSL Datatrack links to the company's Sage accounts system, avoiding the need for any manual input of critical financial information.

    There are now over 30 employees at Fylde CNC Specialists and in some departments at the new facility there are as many as five full time users of the PSL Datatrack system, underlining its importance to the company in so many different areas. This is the case on the shop floor, where the Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC) module records activity including the progress of works orders, as well as non-productive periods and downtime. There are other facets of PSL Datatrack which have yet to be fully utilised, such as the Sequential Scheduler module which can plan effective workflows for the whole of Fylde CNC Specialists operation.

    After 17 years in business, and having outgrown the old premises, Fylde CNC Specialists relocated into a new facility, which provides under one roof, an environment of quality, efficiency and innovation. It gives the company all it needs to accommodate more business and sustain its impressive growth. The company will continue to be a supplier of choice and attract new customers through its policy of continued investment in the latest CNC technology.

    The new Hurco VM20i multi axis machining centre and Citizen L20 sliding head lathes form part of a highly impressive plant list including state of the art tool management and environmental systems. “Supporting all of this, PSL Datatrack helps to bring the whole operation together in an accessible, easy to use system that has provided the foundation for our continued success,” concludes Julie Fairclough.

    Fylde CNC Specialists Growth And Success Built On Solid Administration Foundations
  8. Feeding on success with PSL Datatrack
    20 February 2017

    Hydrafeed of Milton Keynes is a well-known barfeed machine manufacturer that also runs a major subcontract engineering business. With such a vast range of products and services, managing the manufacturing and associated administration processes that go with them represented a major challenge. This has been solved with the implementation of PSL Datatrack production control software which records and tracks all aspects of the company's production processes from the initial quotation through sales order processing, purchasing, planning, manufacturing, quality and deliveries to invoicing.

    Hydrafeed moved into the production of short magazine barfeeders alongside the manufacture of abrasive belt machines, part unloaders and barrel finishing equipment over 20 years ago. Supplying major machine tool manufacturers, Hydrafeed’s barfeed systems are usually sold as a package with new CNC turning centres or directly to companies looking to increase production capacity by introducing automation. Simultaneously, Hydrafeed's engineering subcontracting work has blossomed and is provided to a diverse range of companies in industries such as automotive, aerospace, packaging, test equipment and tobacco.

    When current Owner and Managing Director, Martyn Page, took control of the company in 2012, he recognised that a major overhaul of Hydrafeed’s outmoded production administration procedures was needed. Implementation of a system was an essential element of his five year investment plan that also included the acquisition of new machining centres and lathes.

    PSL Datatrack production control software was seen as fitting in well with Hydrafeed's business model as it is designed for small to medium sized  engineering  companies. However, for many years they had been using an old DOS based system, so it was clear that the new software would need gradual implementation. The focus was initially on the subcontracting business and was followed by roll out to the manufacture and assembly of the barfeeders.

    PSL Datatrack starts with the generation of a customer quotation - it is the catalyst from which everything else associated with administration of an order evolves. The works order follows, generating the material requirements and the purchasing module is used to organise the material needed to fulfil an order. A job is then traced through the shop floor with the recording of the costs of the processes, materials, tooling and - if applicable - the cost of any subcontracted services.

    The software helps to avoid unnecessary overproduction whilst reducing administration. It records, and values, the actual time taken for manufacture, creates a history of when parts are made, on which machine and by which person, as well as ensuring jobs are prioritised and materials are available before set-up commences.

    Major improvements have resulted in the speed of order placing, raising enquiries, material allocations, traceability and the generation of certificates, vital to ISO and aerospace requirements. The history of materials used has led to improved reporting for supply monitoring, more accurate stock records and enables the company to give better information to suppliers when negotiating prices. Furthermore, when an order is repeated all the historical data is available, saving further on administration time and effort. PSL Datatrack will also highlight potential errors before they can occur - for example if a customer asks for a part to be produced from a drawing that has been superseded, it will intervene and prevent anything being made with a part number that is not linked to the correct drawing.

    “PSL Datatrack is making Hydrafeed more efficient, competitive and professional,” says Martyn Page. “We are in a position to win more engineering sub-contract work and continue to expand our barfeed operation, confident in the knowledge that PSL Datatrack will allow us to cope as it can be adapted easily to new requirements.”

    Feeding on success with PSL Datatrack
  9. Williams & Oakey's leap of faith more than repays itself
    20 February 2017

    A number of engineering subcontractors still use DOS based production control software to manage shop floor manufacturing and assembly activities. As this platform is no longer supported, it has become increasingly difficult to rely upon its continued use. This was exactly the situation faced by Williams & Oakey, and now having made the successful transition to the Windows based PSL Datatrack production control software, the company has been delighted with the results.

    “Moving away from the bespoke DOS operating platform was not a decision that was taken lightly,” says Williams & Oakey's Materials & IT Manager Martin Presley. “We had become too comfortable with the old system and there were inherent risks in trying to continue, so in 2012 we started to look at alternatives. We spoke to a number of software companies but were attracted by an article we saw in the press about an engineering subcontractor in a similar situation to us. They had gone down the PSL Datatrack route without any difficulty. We had a presentation from PSL Datatrack and also made a visit to an existing customer. That convinced us to go with PSL. Their software is flexible, modular and we felt it would be easily adaptable to our specific business model.”

    Based in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, Williams & Oakey has been in existence for nearly 60 years, with its core business supplying high quality machined parts and fabrications to a range of customers in many different industries. The emphasis has been on offering a one stop shop, engaged not only in precision CNC machining but also pre-treatment and finishing using the latest powder coating technology. Quality standards are essential and with its ISO:9001 accreditation, the company provides its sub-contract services to many companies where traceability is a prerequisite. This includes supplying a market leading actuator manufacturer with EP (explosion proof) and WT (water tight) castings. The company also has a full range of facilities including pressure testing, quality control, secure storage and the despatch of finished fabrications directly to its customers' own clients. Latterly, there has been expansion into other new business areas including hydro-dipping and alloy wheel refurbishment.

    Controlling all the processes through the factory had always been undertaken using the bespoke DOS system, but this had put a lot of pressure on Martin who was responsible not only for writing and running all the software programs, but continuously adapting older technology to work alongside the modern alternatives enabling the company to maintain continuity of production.

    Although the situation had became more and more untenable, the final decision to switch to PSL Datatrack was not without its concerns. “Having worked with DOS for many years, there were worries about the transition to the Windows based PSL Datatrack system. We were concerned about potential loss of manufacturing data – essential to our traceability – and also whether the theory of using PSL Datatrack might not be quite as easy in practice if the learning curve was steep for our staff who had been so accustomed to the DOS platform. Making the leap of faith has been the right decision.”

    “One of the pleasant surprises of switching to PSL Datatrack was the low financial investment that it entailed for us. There was no need to invest in new servers as PSL Datatrack could be run from the company's existing PCs.” said Martin. Williams & Oakey was able to take advantage of the modularity of PSL Datatrack production control software and only invested initially in the core modules under a single user licence. These included Quotations, Works Orders, Purchase Orders, Goods Received, Material Stocks, Component Stocks, Deliveries and Invoicing.

    Working closely with PSL Datatrack, Martin used all his experience and took responsibility for learning about the operation of the software. He then successfully implemented the live system in stages. It now controls every aspect of the progress of every customer order, from quotation to invoice. It generates all the accompanying documentation right down to batch identification labels and deliveries, not just for direct customers but also on Williams & Oakey's customers’ headed paper to be sent directly to their clients.

    Supported by PSL Datatrack, Martin chose to train in-house all the company's shop floor and office based staff on how to use the software. Today, there are two Datatrack stations in the factory where operators clock in and out as well as logging all the required information about every order that passes through, essential for traceability. Management reports can be produced as required to check any aspect of the production process and on the shop floor, documentation such as inspection sheets can be generated.

    Following the success of the initial implementation, Williams & Oakey took advantage of the Time & Attendance, Shop Floor Data Collection, Scheduler and Non-Conformance modules. In addition they added extra user licences to give access to more staff and even closer control of the engineering process. This has provided more in-depth reporting that allows the company to intervene as necessary and change manufacturing procedures in order to improve efficiency. “PSL Datatrack is very flexible and we have received excellent support when we have wanted to customise the software to suit our particular reporting requirements.” says Martin.

    There are plans to continue to expand on what PSL Datatrack can offer, such as setting up a complete database of customer engineering drawings under document management and also the possibility of extending the use of the software to manage the successful hydro-dipping and alloy wheel refurbishment side of the business.

    PSL Datatrack is helping Williams & Oakey to maintain its position as a highly reliable supplier of high quality precision engineering services at a time when the industry is becoming increasingly competitive and in a period of change. “We have put our faith in the professionalism of PSL Datatrack and it is really paying off. I don't have to run or write the software anymore and can focus my time on the important management of our processes. Now we have the PSL Datatrack production control system, the benefits are immeasurable.” concludes Martin.

    Williams & Oakey's leap of faith more than repays itself
  10. APT centres long term success on PSL Datatrack
    20 February 2017

    During 2015, APT (Automatic Precision Turning) celebrated 60 years in business and is now looking forward to further success in 2016. The company's PSL Datatrack production control software will feature as the cornerstone of its operations.

    As one of the UK's leading sub-contract engineering companies, APT has a very successful strategy of continuous investment in its production capabilities, including high precision CNC Multi-Axis Turning Centres and Vertical Machining Centres. These are a testimony to the company's core aim of offering reliability, precision, speed and high quality service to its customer base. Alongside these investments, the first involvement with PSL Datatrack came in early 2012 after the software had come to their attention through its successful implementation within other engineering sub-contractors and as a result of PSL Datatrack's publicity campaigns in the engineering media.

    APT supplies high precision turned parts and components from 1mm to 42mm diameter, as well as intricate prismatic parts in batches of up to one million, produced in materials as diverse as aluminium, brass, steels, plastics and high temperature alloys. Their broad client base covers industries such as aerospace, automotive, medical, motor sport and security with many customers taking advantage of APT’s AS EN 9100 and ISO 9001 accreditations. With so many manufacturing permutations, APT had recognised the need to improve its administration and PSL Datatrack provided the ideal solution.

    “At the time we were looking to replace our many separate Excel based recording systems and our previous manufacturing control program from another software supplier. We needed to combine our various databases and resources into one integrated system that would provide overall complete control of the many variables within our production processes and PSL Datatrack fitted the bill,” recalls Nick Baller, Operations Director at APT.

    As a modular software system, PSL Datatrack is designed to integrate different manufacturing and administration routines, thereby saving time and money. APT subsequently invested in the PSL Datatrack software in order to have total control over their processes from customer enquiry through to delivery and invoicing - reflecting their own commitment to giving customers an engineering service from initial drawing to the finished part.

    PSL Datatrack handles APT's quotations, works orders, purchase orders, stock, non-conformance reports and much more, ensuring traceability, close batch control and full compliance with its quality accreditations. “No longer do we have to switch painstakingly between each of our previous standalone reporting and monitoring systems," continues Nick.

    Working closely with PSL Datatrack to ensure that the software is fully tailored to meet on-going, changing requirements, APT has also been a very active contributor to PSL's customer “wish list” programme. This ensures that the PSL Datatrack system is regularly updated and configured from the user's viewpoint and not just from the developer's own ideas for improvement.

    "We have seen many of our suggestions actioned and included in new versions of PSL Datatrack. This shows us that the customer “wish list” is not just an ideal but is taken seriously by the company as a real means of implementing practical improvements to the software's functionality. It has been very useful to have an input into this development,” adds Nick.

    PSL Datatrack has proven to be an easy to use system for APT, with the interlinked modules delivering significant time-savings, whilst the benefits of traceability that the system provides are making auditing quick and easy. As a result, the company is now looking at further investment in PSL Datatrack Time & Attendance and Assemblies modules as well as Status Boards to take efficiency to even higher levels by automatically distributing information and instructions to any department.

    APT feels that the support they get from PSL Datatrack is first rate with the provision of concise, well written Help Files, effective telephone support and if a query cannot be solved immediately, then a prompt call back from PSL Datatrack is always provided, giving APT great confidence in the service.

    Continuing investment in the latest manufacturing technology has seen recent acquisitions of new Star sliding head lathes, a Haas vertical machining centre and the latest Firbimatic solvent cleaning plant, to ensure customers’ get the superior clean product that they demand, Alongside this technology, PSL Datatrack software will play a pivotal role in maximising the benefits of these investments. “PSL Datatrack software is the industry standard and will be at the heart of everything we do as we move into our 61st year of operation and beyond,” concludes Nick.

    APT centres long term success on PSL Datatrack
  11. In Demand For Global Business Administration
    20 February 2017

    With its head office in the UK, manufacturing plants in China and customers throughout the world, Demand Technology is a global operation. The company keeps no stock of any of the wide range of customised products that it manufactures. To help manage and successfully co-ordinate all the administration associated with its purchasing, production and sales processes, the company relies extensively upon PSL Datatrack for its supply chain control.

    Demand Technology supplies plastic mouldings, die castings and precision metal pressings for RFI and EMI shielding applications within the worldwide communications, mobile phone and computer products markets. Co-founder Barry Kirkpatrick recognised the potential to use PSL Datatrack in his company's global business where the basic requirement was for a business administration system that would bring control to the whole manufacturing and supply chain.

    The company’s engineers design products that can be manufactured effectively at a competitive cost. They can also take customers’ designs and make recommendations on improved methods of manufacturing. Prototypes can be created or the project can be taken straight to tooling before first off sample manufacturing and then volume production.

    These processes are managed with PSL Datatrack, which has fulfilled Demand Technology’s requirement of complete control from initial enquiry to final delivery with complete documentation and traceability of each product sold along the supply chain. PSL Datatrack provides cross-referencing between purchase orders on the factories and final invoices to customers. Invoices from the factories are checked as part of a purchase order reconciliation process so there is no risk of duplicate invoicing. The receipt of invoices from the factories triggers the generation of an invoice that goes directly to the end customer by email and is also included with the shipped goods.

    PSL has been able to configure PSL Datatrack to serve this unique customer, offering continuity of use and familiarity for them during changes and development of their business. “PSL Datatrack has given us exactly what we required and offered the flexibility to be expanded as new customers/suppliers have been added and more functionality has been needed,” says Barry.

    In Demand For Global Business Administration
  12. Datatrack Provides Total Management Of Plastic Subcontractor's Administration
    20 February 2017

    From quoting to invoicing, ordering raw materials to fully traceable despatch, PSL Datatrack’s business management software has proven invaluable to Plastic Turned Parts (PTP) of Hertfordshire since day one of the company’s operation in 2004.

    “The administration behind the manufacturing of a wide variety of engineered plastics parts in many different batch sizes for many different customers would have been impossible without PSL Datatrack,” says PTP’s Managing Director Jonathan Newis.

    Located in Watton at Stone near Stevenage, PTP is a leading precision engineering company specialising in plastic turned parts, designed and manufactured to customer specifications. Raw materials include nylons, Acetal, Acrylic, Delrin, HDPE, polypropylenes, Rulon, PEEK, PTFE and many others. The company operates several CNC automatic fixed head and sliding head automatic lathes, including a Citizen K16 with an IEMCA bar feeder, a manual lathe and a CNC milling machine to engineer many types of plastic components for different industry sectors in batch sizes from below 100-off to over 10000.

    The company’s success has been built around the ability to create quotations more quickly than the competition, fast turn round of production and full product traceability together with the company’s ISO 9001 certification. To achieve these competitive advantages, the company relies upon PSL Datatrack software and its implementation has given Jonathan Newis the time to manage the whole PTP business rather than getting side-tracked into important yet non-productive administration duties.

    “It’s very important in a small company to have the time to focus on all elements of the business without having to worry about some of the important routines – and this is what PSL Datatrack lets me do,” he says.

    PTP specializes in plastic turned parts and does not try to mix metals machining. In doing so, the company has carved out a profitable market niche, as many customers do not want to buy from subcontractors that mix plastics with metal working activity due to contamination risks and lack of real plastics expertise. With this immediate advantage, it was important for PTP to also gain the confidence of customers by also having a first class business administration system.

    Various business software packages were examined before opting for PSL Datatrack on account of its simplicity to use and its flexibility which has allowed the company to add additional modules over time in line with taking on new and more customers. PTP used PSL Datatrack from day one and the first investment was in the Sales Module which included the creation of quotations, work orders, component stocks, cost centres, process layouts, deliveries and invoicing.

    The whole package was trialled, installed and up and running in just two working days. “This investment got our order processing operation working extremely efficiently,” says Jonathan. “Our quotations are based on creating a price for the job with information on raw materials quantities and pricing, materials in stock, estimated production times, machine utilization and man hours. PSL Datatrack creates this information for us and it can also be recalled at any time in the future, saving time and unnecessary administration with future orders.”

    Once the order is placed, the quotation effectively becomes the engineering specification and the manufacturing process. Required material stock levels that may be utilized are identified – vital for cost control and cash flow - and machine production parameters are set. Once manufacturing is complete, PSL Datatrack generates delivery notes and certifications that can trace the finished component all the way back to the raw materials supplier - vital especially for aerospace and automotive customers.

    “The PSL Datatrack system generates documentation for customers in a highly professional and consistent way in line with our corporate image. There is no doubt in my mind that our customers are impressed by this approach. In a competitive world, this also helps to give us an edge,” says Jonathan. “Tasks such as printing off a delivery note, for example, are also now very easy and the quote can be simply adjusted if there are any customer changes to the jobs.”

    PSL Datatrack is designed for implementation in manageable pieces, which is vital to growing companies. Shortly after introducing the Sales Module, PTP added the PSL Datatrack Purchasing and Goods Received Modules to cover purchase orders, goods received, materials and components stocks. Whilst scheduling at PTP is a manual system - as there are a relatively low number of machine tools involved - should the number increase, PTP would add the PSL Datatrack scheduling module.

    Overall Jonathan Newis believes that the amount of administration work covered by the PSL Datatrack modules would be astronomical if it had to be done manually: “To be able to give a fast price on the same, or next day, makes us very efficient and cuts out non-productive time – so important in today’s economic climate.”

    Datatrack Provides Total Management Of Plastic Subcontractor's Administration
  13. Applied Drilling Systems moves ahead with multi-faceted PSL Datatrack Support
    20 February 2017

    Formed as a precision engineering company to manufacture multi-spindle drilling heads for the woodworking industry, Applied Drilling Systems (ADS) of Clevedon is now firmly established as the UK market leader in this field. The company is now also successfully expanding its business into the area of precision engineering sub-contract services. A constant factor in the evolvement of the business has been its reliance on the PSL Datatrack production and business administration software to control the company’s operational procedures on both sides of the business, from initial customer enquiry to final delivery. PSL Datatrack has effectively replaced the vast amount of manual data input of various forms of documentation, which would otherwise tie up ADS management in non-productive administration tasks.

    ADS designs and manufactures customised drilling heads for manufacturers of kitchens, furniture and many other industries. These are fitted to leading makes of large through feed drilling machines, as well as smaller models, with each drill head designed on the company’s in-house CAD facilities.
    Before investment in PSL Datatrack software, quotations would have been raised using an electronic typewriter and with 100s of quotations going through in any given month, this was an extremely time consuming process. Learning from the experiences of sister company AIM, who already had implemented a PSL Datatrack system to support its aerospace sub-contract engineering business, Pete Wells, Manager of ADS could see how it could benefit his business too. “The issues were the same: we needed to speed up and carefully control all aspects of the paperwork associated with running the ADS business and PSL Datatrack was the proven answer.”

    Apart from raising quotations, many other areas of paperwork and administration needed to be addressed. These included raising order acknowledgements, delivery notes, proforma and final invoices as well as purchasing procedures covering orders on suppliers for components such as bearings and seals, goods received and materials stocks. Control and administration of these areas has been successfully achieved through investment in PSL Datatrack quotation, purchasing and sales modules.

    More recently the company also invested in the shop floor data collection module, which records production time and cost data. Comparisons can then be made between quotations and actual cost so that adjustments can be made to future orders to ensure profit margins are maintained.

    ADS produces a wide range of multi-spindle drilling head assemblies with differing degrees of complexity and specifications to suit the demands of the many different UK and overseas furniture manufacturing companies. Careful control of costs and customer administration are therefore essential. PSL Datatrack can be programmed, for example, so that specific customers can be set to receive pro-forma invoices and the system gives an alert before the drilling head is despatched to confirm whether payment has been received.

    The sub-contract engineering business has seen ADS’s involvement with customers from many different sectors including aerospace, nuclear engineering, food packaging and solar panels with typical batches sizes of 1 - 500. The administration requirements of each job are equally as important as they are for drilling head manufacture. PSL Datatrack is used for costing all assemblies including materials, machining and labour costs as well as any sub-contract costs. With this information, ADS can ensure that all this work is profitable and can also easily recall all details when repeat orders are received. 

    “Our business continues to evolve and during this time maintaining control of non-productive but vital admin functions is paramount. We could not maintain control without PSL Datatrack,” confirms Pete Wells.

    Applied Drilling Systems moves ahead with multi-faceted PSL Datatrack Support
  14. PSL Datatrack Production Control Team Grows
    17 February 2017

    PSL Datatrack’s head office team has experienced further growth recently as the company has now taken on its first apprentice. Dean Manley has joined the team at PSL in a Marketing and Customer Service role, an appointment which has seen the business’s staff count more than double since Geoff and Tara Gartland took over the company in 2013.

    Dean’s day-to-day duties will involve the development of the company’s online marketing projects, including social media activity, promotion of the PSL Datatrack website and email campaigns, as well as helping to provide the high quality customer service that the business prides itself on. He joins a strong support team at PSL and will receive internal training from technically able colleagues, whose backgrounds include experience in Information Technology, engineering, accounting and business management. This will aid the completion of his apprenticeship with an external provider.

    PSL Datatrack Director, Tara Gartland, comments: “Having Dean join the PSL team has already proved a real benefit to the company. I know he is looking forward to helping our customers more and to meeting the challenges of his apprenticeship training over the coming months.”

    PSL Datatrack Production Control Team Grows
  15. Datatrack Maximises Production Potential At Unicut
    17 February 2017

    Unicut Precision of Welwyn Garden City, the leading UK sub-contract precision machinist and BTMA member, is maximising the potential of its investment in PSL Datatrack production management and business administration software. It is helping the company to improve productivity in the provision of high quality, cost-effective parts produced on single cycle CNC automatic lathes. The company can take care of all customers' needs with component requirements up to 64 mm diameter and can provide a onestop solution for difficult to machine and very complex multi-featured components. PSL Datatrack has given Unicut the in-house capability to control and monitor any project or process from initial enquiry, through order processing, manufacturing, quality control, despatch and invoicing.

    Unicut Precision first invested in PSL Datatrack in 2005 and since then has benefited through the modular structure of the system by adding to it over a period of time to meet the demands of the growing business. The initial investment in PSL Datatrack by Unicut was made in order to improve the administration around the production, on short lead times, of large numbers of batches for companies from many different industries. PSL Datatrack allowed Unicut to create files for quotations, materials and tooling which could be immediately called upon when the orders were received.

    Modules for material stores, stock holding and subcontract processes, such as heat-treatment and plating, were also integrated into the route card together with on-line inspection report data and the printing of part identification labels. All information was automatically integrated with the company’s accounting software to produce delivery notes and for invoicing purposes.

    Subsequently, PSL Datatrack’s shopfloor data collection module has also been acquired and provides up to date information on the progress of every job. Further expansion of the system allowed Unicut to take advantage of parts scheduling and machine performance monitoring. Parts scheduling ensures that the right parts in the correct quantity are available in stock as required for any production batch and are issued as required or replenished. The machine monitoring module checks the performance of the company’s automatic lathes, identifying any deviances in the performance that may affect product quality, and in doing so, cutting out potentially time wasting operations.

    A quality control module provides information on supplier performance and reports are generated with accurate statistics about suppliers and their ability to provide their parts and services at the agreed and predetermined times and quality. This has resulted in a well controlled materials system, making the best use of cash flow, maintaining accurate stock information, avoiding over and under ordering and so ensuring the production line always has the correct supply of the highest quality raw materials.

    PSL Datatrack have continued to provide on-going development where Unicut required specific production information such as custom and management reports for analysis of contribution by dept., bar-coded shop floor data collection and material allocation.

    Shop floor responsibilities were enhanced by the ability to delegate the preparation of production route cards and job packs directly at the shop floor using information provided by the work-to-lists from the integrated scheduling system, presenting information in exactly the required format.

    Everyone at Unicut has intranet communications and can quickly access information and make decisions about the productions process based on real time data. Staff can also file jobs notes between shifts, exchange setting information, therefore ensuring accurate records of what is happening. Prior to consolidation, Unicut Precision ran PSL Datatrack across sites in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire and Bourne End in Buckinghamshire. Both factories used PSL Datatrack via remote links to share all the technical and commercial information generated by the system.

    “PSL Datatrack has allowed us on a step-by-step basis to improve our complete production and business administration systems. Initially used simply to prevent duplication of administration and paperwork, it has grown into a system that helps us meet customer requirements for shorter lead times and different batch sizes with the confidence to meet those demands,” says Director, Jason Nicholson.

    Datatrack Maximises Production Potential At Unicut
  16. Inro’s Success Kept On Track With PSL
    17 February 2017

    Based in Chingford, Inro’s position as one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of turned parts has been accomplished with the help of some important strategic decisions made by owner Roger Innes. These have included major investment in the latest CNC turning technology, offering up to 10 axis machining capability, and continuing reliance on the PSL Datatrack business administration software to manage the company’s production procedures.

    Investment in PSL Datatrack software commenced some ten years ago when Inro’s production was based around multi-spindle automatics. The company identified a need for software to manage the administration of parts programming and storage associated with its fast growing turned parts sub-contract engineering business. A major order covering the complete assembly of fishing gear meant that Inro needed to know in real time what parts and stocked quantities would be required to fulfil the order.

    From that time onwards, Inro has made staged investments in the modular PSL Datatrack system, adding new modules as the company’s business has grown and evolved. Today, Inro’s emphasis is very much on added value, such as complex assemblies of fuel safety devices for the motor racing industry. There are also customers from more traditional industrial markets such as the rail industry as well as continued success in the fishing gear sector.

    Inro now has 11 Star CNC machines and manufactures assemblies in quantities from 500 to 10000. With over 500 different types of assemblies being produced at any given time, the ability to control stock, manage materials, costings and ensure invoicing is totally accurate is absolutely essential.

    With the recession, Inro had to look very carefully at the profitability of its business and PSL Datatrack enabled Roger Innes to extract exactly the information he required to make some important business decisions to ensure the continued success of the company. “The reliability of PSL Datatrack came into its own during the recent recession,” says Roger Innes. “Like all companies we needed to take a close look at all our costs and the historical information held in PSL Datatrack on, for example material prices, allowed us to make important decisions in terms of which material suppliers to use. It also ensured that our customer quotations always accurately reflected changes in material costs.”

    To provide control over all these aspects of the business, Inro now uses a number of PSL Datatrack modules. These include gauge management, bill of materials, shop floor data collection, material and component stock control, quotations, invoicing and document storage. Key people within Inro have access to the PSL Datatrack system including goods-in where all the materials from the different suppliers of steel, aluminium, brass, stainless, titanium, inconel and other exotic materials are first registered and where traceability commences.

    The machine setters on the shop floor use the works order module as well as the gauge calibration module. This is used to ensure that the vital measurement equipment used throughout the production process is always checked according to schedule and to confirm that gauges are valid for use. Inro has ISO 9001-2008 accreditation and the automatic traceability inherent within PSL Datatrack holds all the data required to make the ISO’s Auditor’s job very easy during his now brief visits.

    In Inro’s management offices, the PSL Datatrack works order, quotation, purchasing and invoicing modules are all employed and cross-referenced to ensure all supplier and customer invoices are correct and have been prepared using the correct purchase and latest material prices.

    Inro has built an extremely high reputation, not just for the quality of production but also its ability to manage the stock requirements of many of its customers.

    Another feature of PSL Datatrack valued by Inro is the ability to store and retrieve documentation and assembly drawings. Each is given individual identification and issue numbers and scanned or saved from customer-supplied files before being stored within PSL Datatrack. Any drawing amendments are also stored and given a separate identification. These can be recalled at any time and automatically matched to quotations thereby eliminating the danger of wrong issue number manufacture and reducing the paperwork and administration associated with customer histories and repeat business.

    Roger Innes concludes: “PSL Datatrack has served us well and we get very good support from PSL. As our business continues to grow and customer demands become more complex, we will look at other modules to ensure we provide our customers with the best possible service.”

    Inro’s Success Kept On Track With PSL
  17. Datatrack Production Management Software Gives Long Term Solution To Technoturn
    17 February 2017

    PSL Datatrack production control software has over the last ten years continuously helped Technoturn, manufacturers of high-precision machined components, to achieve optimum business administration and production efficiency.

    Technoturn uses the latest CNC milling and turning technology to produce components of various materials for use in industries as diverse as aerospace, defence, motor sport, sensors, telecommunications, opto-electronics and lasers.

    The company offers customers full traceability on each product, scheduled deliveries, kanban-based production on small and large batches, assembled components and secondary operations. Batches range from five to more than a million, and some eight to 10 set-ups per day is the norm.

    Soon after the business started, Technoturn was growing rapidly but the increasing number of customers inevitably led to more individual orders and with the changing pattern of purchasing by their customers, to a greater number of smaller batches. The challenge was how to run the business efficiently and the choice was either to employ extra administration staff or look to manage it with bespoke software.

    Regardless of the fact that PSL Datatrack was being used in another of the Techno Group companies, David selected the system above others for its ability to be readily adapted and changed to meet the different requirements of their growing number of customers.

    Over the years, PSL Datatrack has allowed Technoturn to grow the business without increasing the company overhead and without direct input from David on administration, freeing him up to run the business.

    Initially Technoturn used the basic capabilities of PSL Datatrack, such as preparing quotations, detailing how jobs would be processed and preparing route cards.

    The system’s capabilities were expanded as the company grew and subsequently extended PSL Datatrack's use throughout the whole operation. Invoicing capability, more-advanced purchasing functions, sequential scheduling to calculate a machine's capacity and shop floor data collection have all been introduced. Gauge control/management has now been added as well as non-conformance capabilities. These manage, audit and monitor both customer and supplier non-conformance and provide a detailed history of all rejects.

    PSL Datatrack is now running on every PC in Technoturn, and is the key to the running of the entire operation. The system has proven very easy to learn and it can be adapted to exactly what David Mcilwain wants: “Initially documentation and control were managed manually using delivery books and a variety of files, which in turn meant that accessing historic data was a problem. With PSL Datatrack the situation could not be more different. Sub-contractors needed a simple system to help them and PSL Datatrack is the answer.”

    Datatrack Production Management Software Gives Long Term Solution To Technoturn
  18. DaRo Puts Supply Chain Under Control Of PSL Datatrack
    17 February 2017

    DaRo Products and DaRo UV Systems have put their manufacturing, assembly and supply chain operations under the control of PSL Datatrack production control software. Both companies are taking advantage of the latest PSL Datatrack module, Dynamic Bill of Materials, developed specifically for them, to ease the difficulty of dealing with both the manufacturing needs of Daro Products and the Ship-on-Demand requirements of Daro UV, where dealing promptly with many different customers who have continuously changing ad-hoc purchase requirements of specific components or materials.

    Since 2000, DaRo Products has established itself as a leading one-stop shop for a wide range of engineering and sheet metalwork sub-contract engineering services. Sister company DaRo UV Systems specialises in the development, production and supply of UV (Ultra-Violet) disinfection systems for many different industries.

    The original investment in PSL Datatrack was made six years ago with the purchase of Sales Order Processing, Purchase Order, Job Costing, Assemblies and Bill of Materials modules. As DaRo Products Company Secretary, Sarah Pennock says: “At the time, apart from delivery notes and invoicing, all the administration associated with our production and sales was paper based. We were unable to grow the company as this approach was very limiting and demanded unacceptable levels of manual administration.”

    DaRo Products investigated various suppliers of business administration systems, including (ERP and MRP solutions). PSL Datatrack was selected because it provided an economical solution to control of the manufacturing and administration processes demanded. Satisfaction with the initial PSL Datatrack modules resulted in further investment in Invoicing and Work In Progress modules for even more extensive control over the company’s business administration processes, resulting in even greater time savings. The number of PSL Datatrack users within the company was extended to six and the success of the system led to investment in a second six-user system when DaRo UV Systems was formed.

    Whilst DARO UV initially utilised the same configuration of PSL Datatrack as DARO Products, demand for a more responsive system of Ship-on-Demand from a tightly controlled inventory system presented different supply-chain difficulties.

    Following discussions with the PSL Datatrack designers, the Dynamic Bill-of-Materials module was developed to enable a stock-based build-up of uniquely configured assemblies for individual customers.

    The majority of DaRo UV Systems sales are now customised from a variety of ‘catalogue’ items and custom components, producing UV disinfection systems for applications as diverse as water disinfection, effluent treatment, swimming pool treatment, ultraviolet hand inspection cabinets and UV light based security products are frequently “one offs.” The Dynamic Bill-of-Materials also means that DaRo UV Systems can easily fulfil continually changing customer orders for specific parts or materials and to manage these requests quickly. This results in a single order entry dramatically reducing the time taken to process complex assemblies.

    The ability of the Dynamic Bill of Materials module to quote and deliver such solutions quickly is a key benefit together with the automatic allocation of parts for assemblies. The system automatically tracks any shortages and monitors the parts that are ‘to follow’, completing the order automatically when they become available.

    The Dynamic Bill of Materials module has now been taken on by DaRo Products to fulfil their partial need for Ship-on-Demand. It is ideal for a company like DaRo Products that sub-contract manufactures many different types of product. It enables them to work in parallel with a range of manufactured and bought-out ‘catalogue’ items such as fasteners, bespoke and standard ranges of components.

    Over the years, DaRo Products has continued to build upon its philosophy of working with customers in partnership to provide a design, sheet metal manufacturing, vacuum forming, powder coating, assembly and delivery/collection service. As part of its one stop shop service it will now also provide warehousing, packaging and added value assembly services that cuts down on multiple handling. PSL Datatrack gives the company the administration management to provide these services.

    “I see us working with PSL Datatrack for many years to come”, says Sarah, “We have worked together for a long time and the way PSL Datatrack is set up ensures smooth and rapid progress of orders going through both our businesses. PSL Datatrack always supplies excellent service and back-up.”

    DaRo Puts Supply Chain Under Control Of PSL Datatrack
  19. Aiming For Success With Datatrack
    25 January 2017

    PSL Datatrack's production management and business administration software bridges the gap between MRP applications and the day-to-day processing of orders within a manufacturing or assembly business.  The software is being used successfully by AIM (Automatic Industrial Machines Ltd.), a leading aerospace engineering subcontractor, to provide the necessary controls for its production and business administration functions.

    AIM originally functioned with a paper based administration system that could not cope with the complexity of the work expected of it.  Aerospace parts produced by the company range from one-off R&D fixture jobs through to five-year on-going contracts with varying product dimensions and mainly using CNC milling to produce high complexity components.

    AIM’s ability to quote and quickly process a large number of orders on a daily basis is critical.  This has been made possible through the Datatrack software and as AIM has evolved towards producing smaller batches, but with many more part numbers and complexity, these types of orders have also been controlled with Datatrack.

    The latest version of Datatrack offers improved financial control with payment controlled customer deliveries, greater selection of scheduler job priorities, automatic purchasing updates, simpler quality recording and document imaging for tighter traceability.  Indeed, for AIM, traceability is critical for aerospace customers including all stock as well as being able to trace past and present orders.

    Datatrack also includes live status updates on production processes and full breakdowns of costs, highlighting any outstanding problems and giving greater control over many aspects of AIM’s business.  It has proven very good in providing quick quotations for customers, ISO9008 and AS9100 contract reviews, invoicing and booking materials for treatments.  These are automatically linked for full traceability when AIM has to produce certificates of conformity.

    PSL has also customised Datatrack elements for AIM particularly when Airbus Industries demanded EDI invoicing and Datatrack responded immediately.

    Other standard requirements were for the calculation of all costs for parts supplied by AIM, including calculated set and run costs, as well as materials and the cost of external processes such as anodising.  Material costs are automatically tracked and constantly updated for future quotation and purchasing purposes. 

    Datatrack is also used to automatically store all manufacturing transactions and workforce hours via its comprehensive traceability system, including in-depth route cards, so that if customers require an audit on any AIM components, the information is available instantly.

    Aiming For Success With Datatrack
  20. ANR Benefits From Datatrack’s Production Control Capability
    25 January 2017

    PSL Datatrack production control software has many applications specifically within the sub-contract engineering sector. Its capabilities, however, make it suitable for many other batch production assembly applications in different markets. Indeed, Datatrack has been an important factor in the growth and success of ANR, the specialist sub-contractor for both the electronics and engineering industries. With ISO 9001:2008 accreditation, ANR has relied upon PSL Datatrack software for over 10 years to ensure careful monitoring and control of every project that goes through its factory in Bourne End, Bucks.

    ANR provides its sub-contract services to a wide base of OEM and blue chip customers, many of whom have been clients for many years and are a testament to the level of service provided by the company. ANR moved to its current HQ in 2008 which has a large split-level facility featuring four distinct electronics divisions on the first floor, where PSL Datatrack controls the PCB assembly, cable assemblies and harnessing, box build and turnkey operations. In the last couple of years the company has produced over 120,000 PCB assemblies per year, of many different types and batch sizes.

    On the ground floor, PSL Datatrack helps the company manage a modern machine shop equipped with high precision CNC multi-axis machines offers precision milling and turning capabilities.

    The challenge for ANR has been to provide a continuously high level of product quality, service and on-time every time deliveries to all its customers from sectors as diverse as the broadcasting industry, aerospace, CCTV, medical, marine, defence and design houses. 

    ANR’s initial investment in PSL Datatrack came as the result of recognition that it needed to address the burden of manual administration associated with the purchase of materials and components needed for the manufacture of its fast growing range of assembly types. 

    After examination of business administration software packages available, ANR selected the PSL Datatrack package primarily because of its suitability and proven track record in the engineering sub-contractor sector. “First and foremost, we are a product manufacturer and PSL Datatrack was already proven as a highly efficient system, being used extensively in a number of complex engineering businesses and batch assembly operations similar to our own,” says ANR Director Nick Wilson.

    The PSL Datatrack software system was tailored specifically to suit ANR’s unique and widely diversified requirements. Since its installation, PSL Datatrack has controlled ANR’s product manufacture and associated administration processes, in a seamless implementation with previous working practice and procedures. PSL Datatrack is used to order the materials, verify delivery dates and allocate shop floor production time. It has given the company the ability to monitor and control any project right from the start, maintaining engineering process records and traceable details of over 13000 individual materials.

    Information covering bill of materials and the generation of goods received notes, works orders, process layout, inspection report data, bar code identification, despatch notes and invoices are all managed by Datatrack. Assembly build and process layouts are recorded for future and similar build requirements.

    According to Feyaz Sheikh, Procurement Manager at ANR, “The PSL Datatrack system works around us and is ensuring we manage the business effectively, now that it is increasing. There are so many different product types which are manufactured repeatedly and PSL Datatrack enables us to manage this level of production effectively.”

    For PCB and cable assemblies, PSL Datatrack has enabled ANR to offer customers flexible stock control, through free issue on-site and procured materials inventories. 

    Datatrack also ensures that materials, components, manufactured or purchased and batch/project traceability are maintained in absolute detail and readily accessible for stringent quality checks.

    For ANR, one of the additional benefit of PSL Datatrack is the facility to monitor and report suppliers’ performance and highlight late deliveries. PSL Datatrack can also be used to generate a range of other reports such as value of sales to stock and other critical management accounting information.

    The value of PSL Datatrack to ANR is now also being visibly demonstrated throughout the company’s production areas and management offices with the phased roll out of the Status Board display system. The displays provide real time status information for all outstanding jobs highlighting Work-To lists, Bill of Materials acquisition and allocation progress, an estimate of assembly completion dates and an early warning alert of any jobs that may run beyond promised deliver dates.

    ANR Benefits From Datatrack’s Production Control Capability
  21. Production Control Software Supports Jig And Tool Manufacture
    25 January 2017

    Finding readily adaptable ‘off-the-shelf’ production management software for special machine building and jig and tool manufacture is not easy. Brown and Holmes (Tamworth), however, became the first jig and tool company to use the PSL Datatrack system, which provided well-supported production control modules for the complex operation.

    Brown & Holmes (B & H) produces customised work holding fixtures, builds special production machinery and is the UK agent for Forkardt precision chucking systems. Founded originally in 1939 by the Brown and Holmes families, the company was acquired by today’s owners in 2003, with Carl Baker and Kevin Ward as joint Managing Directors. Today, B & H employs around 48 personnel, including 32 on the shop floor. Annual turnover is around £3.5 million.

    Introducing production control software came in early when a local IT consultant developed in-house computer software to replace, as Carl Baker said, “A very good paper-based system.” Problems arose when the ‘IT man’ changed career. “The system had run very well for four years,” said Carl Baker. “But without the guy who had written the system we suddenly had no IT support. Production control is the key to our successful operation, and we therefore had to look for a replacement, specifically an off-the-shelf system if possible.”

    In 2002, Carl Baker’s team had narrowed production control software suppliers down to three. One provider was PSL Datatrack of Bracknell, Berkshire. “PSL Datatrack showed us some existing users, mostly producing higher volume batches than we were used to. But we could see a promise of flexibility and tailoring,” said Carl Baker. “We knew that as the system stood it was not ideal, but it could be easily and readily tailored to our needs. We also noted that the software undergoes constant improvements and was competitive in price.”

    Carl Baker explained: “We wanted a ‘user-friendly and easy-to-learn production control software system that would not stop day-to-day business during the learning period. Our operation was too big for an excel based system and we felt it would take ‘an age’ to bed in a larger MRP/ERP type system in an operation like ours. This, and the flexibility of design of the software, is why our ultimate decision to purchase PSL Datatrack was made.”

    As Carl Baker also explained, the jig and tool and special machine building business varies constantly. Very few manufacturing jobs are similar and rarely repeat. Some workholding fixtures may need a lot of special machining and assembly. They may be made up partly from machined parts, standard components and ‘bought out’ items. So over a period of time, it is very difficult to achieve any kind of proper balance on the shop floor between the different machining processes.

    An example is a three-face, hydraulic clamping, workholding fixture ‘cube’ for three separate workpiece holding positions. At the quotation stage, the engineering team, including jig and tool designers would agree the best solution. They would discuss details like workpiece locations, orientation, clamping systems and perhaps whether the workpiece needed slight modification to simplify location and clamping.

    From this, the quotation would be entered into the PSL Datatrack system and a proposal sent to the customer. Following an order, a detailed CAD drawing would be produced and process layouts for every manufactured part input into PSL Datatrack. This PSL Datatrack information would then produce work orders for use on the shop floor to book manufacturing time, allowing comparison between actual costs and calculated costs. At B & H the system also controls the purchasing function as well as producing delivery notes and invoices.

    In addition to their many manufacturing customers companies, B & H also produces fixtures and work holding systems for major machine tool companies providing ‘turnkey’ systems (machine tools plus fixtures, handling systems), such as NCMT and Mori-Seiki.

    Most of the CNC machine tools used by B & H are integrated into the PSL Datatrack system.” In addition, all our toolmakers are skilled in at least two disciplines,” explained Carl Baker. “We have a core of toolmakers and machinists who can move around the shop floor. Some men can switch from prismatic machining to grinding, and then to turning, which minimises bottlenecks in production. Our investment in training three graduate design staff and two current apprentices is further evidence of our commitment to customer support through relevant skills.”

    Over half of the machine tools used are CNC, including multi-axis turning and milling, jig-boring and large bed surface grinding. Also linked into PSL Datatrack is the co-ordinate measuring machine where the company's quality engineers also book inspection time into PSL Datatrack. This, together with on-going investment in new machine tools, keeps B&H at the forefront of technology and competitiveness.

    Production data is entered into PSL Datatrack daily to provide accurate end-of-job costing which, together with purchased items such as material, subcontract and finishing operations, ensures we constantly monitor our production effectiveness and estimating procedures.

    At present, B & H operates 10 seats with PSL Datatrack running in Microsoft Windows XP and Windows7. “We occasionally throw challenges at PSL Datatrack,” said Carl Baker. For example, B & H recently acquired the UK agency for Forkardt precision chucks, collets and mandrels. “We wanted to separate the Forkardt operation from the jig and tool operation, using different customer codes,” said Carl Baker. Work measurement, margins and sales levels had to be separated too. “PSL Datatrack very quickly tailored the system enabling us to run virtually two businesses with a single system.”

    In addition to the jig and tool and Forkardt operations, PSL Datatrack has helped B&H through the recent recession by keeping the operation lean, controlling purchasing costs and giving instant feedback on operating costs. It also enhanced the company’s ability to support new markets such as Aerospace and Power Generation, resulting in membership of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, a vastly increased customer
    base and a rapid recovery from the recession. All of this was achieved without any redundancy and without the need for additional management personnel.

    In conclusion, Carl Baker commented: “For me, the system we chose is right, and PSL Datatrack has developed their systems in line with our development of our business. The software is flexible enough to be tailored to suit our changing needs, communication between our companies is excellent and they have proved themselves to have a good understanding of our business.”

    Production Control Software Supports Jig And Tool Manufacture
  22. Going Down The Right Track With PSL
    25 January 2017

    In the space of just eighteen months, Track Components became so convinced by the benefits of the Datatrack business administration and production management system that the company went from an initial investment in a simple Datatrack Quotation software package to a fully blown installation.

    Track Components of Amersham is a leading sub-contract engineering company that manufactures precision CNC turned and CNC milled components. The company provides an engineering service that embraces CADCAM design and the manufacture of components from customer drawings, supported by a full or sub assembly service and stockholding facility.

    The BS EN ISO 9001: 2008 registered company has invested consistently in its production facilities that now include fixed and sliding head, multi-axis CNC and robotic machines. Surface finishing services, including heat treatment, plating and anodizing, are also available through the company’s own sub-contractors.

    From small batches to longer production runs, and with the capability to machine a wide range of materials, Track Components’ customer base has steadily grown and the need to manage the business more efficiently became more critical. Reliance on manual administration was seen to have disadvantages for owner Clive Purchase who was spending an increasing amount of time dealing with the burden of coordinating customers’ needs and suppliers services whilst also ensuring that quotations were both accurate and timely.

    Once orders had been placed, some key challenges were to ensure that work in progress was managed satisfactorily, costings were accurate and deliveries were made on time. Whilst these challenges represented everyday critical routines, they also distracted Clive from the equally important goal of expanding his successful business even further.

    To start to address these administration issues, PSL Datatrack was invited to demonstrate its Datatrack Quotation software package. It was soon acknowledged by Track Components that there could be major advantages in integrating this estimating function with additional administration procedures surrounding the company’s day-to-day business.

    As a result, PSL Datatrack was also requested to quote for and Track Components subsequently ordered, the ‘Datatrack Core Sales and Purchase Order Processing modules. Over the next few weeks owner Clive Purchase and selected management staff got to grips with the Datatrack application and their confidence in the system led to investment in an additional nine concurrent users including selected shop floor operatives.  Comprehensive training in the use of the system, allowed Track Components to extend control throughout the business and to fully delegate administration duties to key staff.

    PSL Datatrack imported data from Track Components’ existing records to provide historic customer order information and current details for a ‘quick start’ to live use of the “Core System”. Within just two weeks of its installation, a further demonstration of the Datatrack Shop Floor Data Collection module was requested, highlighting the huge confidence that Track Components already had in both the Datatrack system and the support from PSL Datatrack, the company.

    Less than four weeks after installation, Track Components were running ‘Live’ data and within a few further weeks the order was placed for Shop Floor Data Collection, Bills of Material and Job Costing modules too.

    When Track Components applied for its BS EN ISO 9001: 2008 accreditation, the company recognized that the addition of Datatrack Scheduling, Quality, Non-Conformance, Gauge Calibration and Management modules would enhance their credentials. These were duly installed together with two additional users, giving Track Components a full quality package to support their accreditation.

    PSL Datatrack’s Tool Management modules were also installed and data imported from existing spreadsheets. Two further users were added in April 2010, bringing the total number within the company to 13 as Datatrack was rolled out to a fully delegated workforce.

    The timeline for ‘Live’ use of the administration was less than six weeks. The confidence that existed between Track Components and PSL was exceptional - as seen by the speed with which the system extended. The company now has a fully delegated system and every employee has been trained in its use, ensuring their involvement in the effective administration procedures of the company as a whole.

    Quality and accreditation are easily maintained and Datatrack returns large amounts of information about the company’s efficiency, profitability, supplier performance and both process and product quality - all to the benefit of Track Components and the company’s customers.

    Going Down The Right Track With PSL
  23. ND Precision Products Prepared For Growth After Investment In PSL Datatrack
    24 January 2017

    ND Precision Products of Barnstaple has an established reputation for its precision engineering services. The ISO 9001:2008 accredited company makes complex tools for customers from many different market sectors including automotive, aerospace and medical products.

    With demand for its engineering services strong, the company wanted to examine how to improve its business administration and production processes in order to maintain the highest levels of customer service and be prepared for an increase in sales turnover. The company decided to invest in a bespoke management information system that would cover all areas including stock planning and general management of all office administration and production procedures. This would both streamline the company’s production capabilities and provide improved communication with customers as well as suppliers and control/secure their on-going overhead costs.

    Prior to investment in a new system, the company relied upon manual administration methods including, for example, using e-mails for raising quotations. This approach would typically result in problems such as missed payments, under costing and consequently losses on some jobs. There was also poor tracking of both work in progress and overall quality control.

    Before making the decision to invest in PSL Datatrack, the company considered alternative systems but could not find anything with the flexibility or ease of use of the PSL Datatrack system. Since investment, ND Precision Products has not only been able to reduce lead times but also to accurately cost all the manufacturing processes involved for even the most complex bespoke contracts. Even with a large number of prototype jobs, PSL Datatrack allows the company to predict and easily confirm their tooling requirements and then manage effectively the complex nature of these engineered solutions.

    Today, ND Precision Products uses a number of PSL Datatrack modules including the Sales Order Processing for the creation and administration of quotations, works orders, components stocks and deliveries. This has given ND Precision Products close control of work in progress and the production of highly efficient reports that allow effective management of their entire supply chain.

    With Works Capacity Planning, PSL Datatrack monitors Work in Progress and provides Shop Floor Data Collection. “This module is excellent for shop floor planning and chase lists,” says Nick Squire, ND Precision Products.

    For financial administration and planning, PSL Datatrack provides the generation of customer invoices, credit notes and job costing. The Purchase Order Processing module covers purchase orders' generation, details of goods received and automatically controls material stock, affording ND Precision Products close control over suppliers enabling them to accurately assign costs to jobs.

    “It has been an invaluable and a fool proof method of checking payments in and out of the company, with good integration into the company’s Sage accounts packages,” says Nick Squire.

    As a go-ahead company, ND Precision Products has invested consistently in the latest engineering equipment and CAD facilities, with the stated aim of offering the most cost effective and high quality tooling solutions to all customers, often advising on alternative methods of manufacture to reduce costs and improve productivity. Now, with PSL Datatrack, ND Precision Products can clearly demonstrate to its customers complete efficiency in its fully integrated administration processes right through from the quotation stage to delivery and invoice resulting in consistently on-time deliveries and even greater customer satisfaction.

    “PSL Datatrack has provided excellent training and the flexibility to address ND Precision Products’ specific requirements. Great reaction times to queries and ongoing support have resulted in a well nurtured relationship forming between our two companies," says Nick Squire. “We are both
    members of the GTMA and we recommend PSL Datatrack to our customers and suppliers alike. It is an ideal system for a company of our size with the capability of coping with bigger applications in many areas of business in addition to engineering services.”

    ND Precision Products Prepared For Growth After Investment In PSL Datatrack
  24. Datatrack Provides Essential Feedback On Mach-Tech's Performance
    24 January 2017

    Investment in PSL Datatrack production control software has played a major role in the recent success of Mach-Tech, the Oxfordshire based engineering and manufacturing sub-contractor. As part of its growth strategy, the company’s management team identified a number of key performance indicators (KPIs), which were considered central to the future success of the company.

    The continuing achievement of these differentiates the company from many other similar organisations and has put Mach-Tech in a very strong position for growth in a sector that has not been immune to the adverse economic conditions of recent years.

    Mach-Tech offers its CNC engineering services to a wide range of companies in markets ranging from aerospace and automotive to pharmaceutical and scientific products as well as general engineering. The company specialises in one-offs, as well as small and medium batch sizes. Components can be manufactured from free issue material or Mach-Tech can supply complete assemblies including materials and process sourcing. There has been continued investment in CNC machining technology, measurement and quality control equipment as well as a continual appraisal of production systems and business administration to both maximise productivity and provide the highest customer service levels.

    Mach-Tech Chairman Phil Merison recognised that the establishment of key performance parameters and the ability to achieve these would be key to success. “Delivery performance, quality levels, quotation conversion rates and communication with customers are some of the key issues,” says Phil, "And within these there were many specific areas where we needed to understand our performance levels in order to achieve continuous improvement.”

    A typical example of the issues that had to be addressed was the time consuming task of having to re-enter manually and repeatedly customer order information into spreadsheets. Looking for a solution for this particular task, Mach-Tech assessed possible software suppliers before selecting PSL Datatrack. “We saw PSL Datatrack as being ideal for continuous improvement, not least because its modularity meant that we could keep adding to the system as our business grew and our needs changed,” says Phil Merison.

    Initially the company invested in the PSL Datatrack Sales Order Processing modules covering the generation of quotations, the raising of works orders, control of component stocks and deliveries and the allocation of materials and processes to cost centres. These modules immediately gave Mach-Tech a complete overview of some of the essential drivers within the business and a snap shot at any time of the company's performance and efficiency in these areas.

    For control of purchasing, the investment in PSL Datatrack purchase order processing, goods received and materials stocks modules gave Mach-Tech tighter control of suppliers and the ability to ensure the availability of all supplied materials and services to complete scheduled orders.

    On the shop floor, PSL Datatrack process layouts and shop floor data collection modules have provided essential information on aspects such as machine capacity and the value of work in progress. Status Board visual displays give operatives instant and real time information on the status of orders.

    In Mach-Tech's management offices, PSL Datatrack is linked to the company's Sage accounts system. Invoicing, credit note and purchase order creation are all taken care of by PSL Datatrack. Mach-Tech’s management team use all the information gathered by PSL Datatrack from throughout the factory in order to analyse performance against KPIs.

    There are now six users of the PSL Datatrack system at Mach-Tech and each manager has different requirements from the system. They all have individual responsibilities for ensuring that the business as a whole is run as efficiently as possible. Managing Director Neil Tyler says: "PSL Datatrack has also improved specific aspects of our business. For example, ISO 9001: 2008 accreditation was achieved in 2011, reflecting the high quality standards of our business. Using PSL Datatrack to track suppliers' material through the shop floor and giving us full traceability is essential to maintaining our accreditation. From a customer relationship viewpoint, PSL Datatrack enables us to identify where there may be an issue with a customer delivery and we can communicate more effectively with our customers in advance.”

    Datatrack has also been instrumental in assisting Mach-Tech to acquire new business. Potential customers who visit the factory are not only impressed by shop floor layout and tidiness, but also by the role of Status Board in visualising exactly what is happening to customers' work in progress without reams of associated paperwork.

    Modernisation, efficiency and productivity are key motivators behind the success of Mach-Tech, as witnessed by current plans to improve the layout to the shop floor. Phil Merison concludes: "Customers are returning for repeat business because of their confidence in our capabilities. Our deliveries are consistently on time, our quality levels are high and we offer competitive prices. PSL Datatrack has been essential to us and we'll continue to use it as an important element of improving our operations still further in the future.”

    Datatrack Provides Essential Feedback On Mach-Tech's Performance
  25. Technoset Benefits From Traceability And Process Layout Advantages Of PSL Datatrack
    24 January 2017

    Technoset, the precision engineering company specialising in the manufacture of high precision turned and milled components, has improved its supply chain and production routines thanks to PSL Datatrack. The advantages of highly effective process and product traceability delivered by the PSL Datatrack Process Layout module have had a major impact on the company's continued success. Not only can Technoset underline traceability as a key element of the services it provides, but also the company’s production and administration standards are continuously set at the highest possible level.

    Technoset’s sub-contract business primarily serves the aerospace industry where traceability is absolutely critical. Customers are also based in the opto-electronics & lasers, marine, sensors, telecommunications, motorsport and medical devices sectors amongst others.

    Before installing PSL Datatrack, Technoset operated a manual based production administration system with inherent disadvantages such as a plethora of paper based records, lack of a back-up system and, critically, poor presentation to potential customers. To address this, a number of production management software packages were investigated, but PSL Datatrack was the system chosen based on the nature of Technoset’s business and its already proven track record within the sub-contract manufacturing sector.

    The advantages of using PSL Datatrack to help achieve complete production traceability are based on some key features. For example, it accumulates data automatically as different process transactions are carried out. It records and reports on specific single and multiple material batch control data and builds a complete history of processes associated with components and assemblies. This includes details of the actual production machinery used; the inspection equipment used and associated results history, the certification of materials and any other relevant aspects of the production process. Traceability of products throughout the production process is therefore guaranteed with the creation of a history of every part and how it was made. Precise electronic documentation is available including the complete component history at-a-glance. A powerful search feature is also included.

    Importantly, PSL Datatrack also works together with Technoset's AS9100 Auditors to ensure rapid, efficient conformance, satisfying most certification requirements for aerospace as well as other commercial and motor vehicle applications. “PSL Datatrack has transformed the way we operate our business. The traceability we are now able to demonstrate to all customers is a major contributing factor to our success,” says Technoset's Managing Director Kevan Kane.

    PSL Datatrack's Process Layout module has also proven to be a particularly valuable tool for Technoset with its ability to provide a history of improvements and refinements in the production process and reductions in production cycle times which has inherently led to more accurate forecasting of costs and production capacities.

    At shop floor level, the function of the Process Layout module is to promote discipline in Technoset's manufacturing process. It confirms the engineering definition of the component or assembly to be manufactured. It provides drawing and issue number control, confirms the requirements of the works order, the production equipment required, gauge and tool requirements for the job in hand. The quality requirements of first-off and production parts are also controlled.

    Based on historical experience the optimum manufacturing process is defined. Technoset's production team is directed in the sequencing of the manufacturing process and critical points such as subcontracted operations are identified and monitored. Shop Floor Data Collection procedures are captured by touch-screen or barcode, giving immediate analysis of progress throughout production.

    “The Process Layout aspect of PSL Datatrack has definitely assisted us in the on-going refinement of our manufacturing processes,” continues Kevan. “Our shop floor operatives get better instructions each time a specific job is repeated, thereby leading to a reduction in scrap and reworking as well as other advantages including a reduction in downtime.”

    Technoset's success to date has also been based on the high degree of flexibility that can be offered to customers, including scheduled deliveries and the ability to deliver component batches of different runs as well as assembled components. The company can also undertake the management of sub-contract processes such as heat treatment and plating to allow the supply of parts ready for production. PSL Datatrack manages all these aspects of the business.

    Technoset first invested in the PSL Datatrack system in 1999 and the simple, clear user interface has allowed them to be extremely self-sufficient in their use of the system. PSL Datatrack has been the backbone to the growth of the business since its installation. Continuous support and system upgrades have enabled Technoset to take advantage of system updates to meet the ever-changing demands of customers and the industry.

    The service and support provided by PSL Datatrack has been excellent according to Kevan: “PSL Datatrack responds to our needs in a timely manner and overall we are very pleased with our system some 13 years since its initial installation.”

    Technoset Benefits From Traceability And Process Layout Advantages Of PSL Datatrack

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