A UK contract electronics manufacturer has rapidly increased its customer responsiveness levels since investing in a fully integrated SYSPRO Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution from K3 Syspro.
Prism Electronics, which works with many capital equipment manufacturers across a range of industries including rail, medical, printing and industrial, has been a SYSPRO user for the last ten years and over that time, has utilised the solution to remain highly competitive during a time when demand has increased and customer expectations have risen.
Remaining competitive with SYSPRO
Managing Director, Prism Electronics, David Aspinall explains: “Over the last ten years our business has had to adapt to changes in the wider manufacturing market. These days, our customers have far more stringent requirements compared to when we started this business 25 years ago. They don’t want to hold their own stock any more, instead they want to have products made when they need them and SYSPRO is key to our ability to keep up with this demand and become more responsive to our customers’ changing needs.”
Prism focuses on the manufacture of complex products in modest volumes. The complexity ranges from initial technical challenges through to logistical and supply chain management, while maintaining customer quality and traceability requirements. The business is unusual in that only a small proportion of data it holds is its own, with the majority derived from customer supplied information: design specifications and product data which Prism then converts into manufacturing data in order to complete a job. SYSPRO provides a central database to contain this information and present it on demand, enabling Prism to quickly search through multiple design specifications and customer details to produce reports which can then be used to feed the production process. As a consequence, David Aspinall states that SYSPRO is resulting in huge time saving efficiencies when managing the myriad of detail inherent in high-mix, complex product manufacturing, enabling the business to add extra value to customers through its services.
“In our business we cannot afford to take a one-size-fits-all approach to production. The way we operate is different for each individual customer and we need to make sure that we are responsive, that we can quickly access information for individual customers, answer queries and run reports on demand and SYSPRO gives us the flexibility and functionality to be able to do this.
“We are totally dependent on SYSPRO for many of our business processes and it has helped us to significantly enhance our service levels all round. As we take a product into manufacture, it is the service levels we wrap around that product that makes us competitive. SYSPRO enables us to delve into our database and instantly generate specific reports for ourselves, or our customers and what’s more, we can do this out-the-box – we don’t need to keep customising the solution in order for it to remain relevant. ”
Using DataSwitch to import data quickly into SYSPRO
Prism processes a variety of data in a number of different formats, which needs to be processed before inputting into SYSPRO. With a large number of components to process, customer information to input, product variants to refer to, inventory levels to manage, Bills Of Materials to produce, and works order control information to process, Prism is accelerating its data entry processing by utilising K3 Syspro’s own purpose built integration and data manipulation tool, DataSwitch.
DataSwitch was first introduced to Prism during one of K3 Syspro’s customer events and, once the company had been shown how effective the tool can be for importing information into SYSPRO, Prism saw the potential it could offer the business. Today, it provides the company with a user friendly interface to automate complex and repetitive data import tasks, and offers significant time saving efficiencies when generating multiple transactions from a single input for Prism.
“We currently use DataSwitch quite differently to how we thought we would when we first explored the tool. Initially we envisaged that we would use DataSwitch simply for the import of customer information into SYSPRO, but we use it for a lot more than that, and it is really helping to futureproof our SYSPRO investment. As well as importing new information into SYSPRO about products, component specifications, stock, etc., we can use it to make bulk updates to existing information such as stock locations and it is flexible enough to support any changes we make to our business processes.
“A challenging aspect of our business is that much of our data is supplied by our customers, and DataSwitch gives us the flexibility to import information in many file types into SYSPRO in a form that the system will recognise and accept, saving us lots of keyboard entry time and removing a potential source of errors.” David Aspinall comments.
Making SYSPRO a people project, as well as a technology project
Today Prism maintains a stable in-house SYSPRO project team, which is constantly re-evaluating the business’ use of SYSPRO and identifying new ways to use it more effectively. An on premise solution, Prism utilises the services of K3SSL for hardware support, and still maintains a strong relationship with K3 Syspro, who it calls upon in the event of an issue with the technology. To date though, SYSPRO has provided a very reliable and stable platform for the business and even throughout the course of ten years, David Aspinall states that he has never needed to look elsewhere for an alternative ERP solution.
“We have no reason to look elsewhere because we have a very functional and effective system in SYSPRO. And if ever we do have an issue with it, we know we can refer it to K3 Syspro, who very much act as the voice of SYSPRO in the UK.
“We’ve run quite few trials over the last ten years to really explore SYSPRO’s full capabilities and we keep finding new ways of using the system to further our competitive advantage. For example, we now automatically email our outgoing communications such as invoices, statements and purchase orders from within SYSPRO to customers and suppliers. These processes may only save us seconds per transaction over manual processes, but those seconds add up to make a big difference over a period of time.”
Looking to the future with SYSPRO
Prism Electronics makes a conscious effort to adopt the latest version of SYSPRO as soon as its schedules allow and through a number of previous upgrades, the company has already benefitted from a number of enhancements to the system. As the business looks forward, SYSPRO will continue to play a key role in helping to further develop Prism’s business model in order to keep it competitive in a very demanding market.
“We are already looking at the next version of SYSPRO,” David Aspinall explains. “What we like about SYSPRO is the fact that it is continually being developed and enhanced, and these improvements are always passed onto users. In particular, the mobile capabilities of SYSPRO appeal to us and will help our workers to become more effective within the factory and boost our productivity even further. Certainly, SYSPRO has kept us competitive over the last ten years and we expect it to do so for many more years to come.”