ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING
The Solutions Factory's ERP application, was developed to
manage the manufacturing
and sales of oil and gas drilling test equipment for Sondex PLC (now part of GE Energy) at 8 locations
in UK, Canada, USA, Middle East, Australia & China. £50 million per year of equipment is handled by our system.
It has the ability to run the complete organisation,
from development, manufacturing, quality, sales through to a full accounting system.
There are other products on the market that perform some of the functions of our ERP application
but none that have them fully integrated into a single system.
Even the hugely expensive SAP systems can't match the Test Results system integrated as part of our ERP system.
Some of the advantages of integration are: cutting out duplication of data which leads to duplication of work and is prone to error, cutting out the process of transferring data from one
system to another as work progresses e.g. from a testing and quality tool to an ordering, shipping and accounting tool and
reducing the number of platforms staff need to be trained in, all of which makes your organisation
more efficient and more productive.
Some of the features of our ERP application are listed here:
- Customer and Contact management.
- Call management, including linking emails to customer records.
- Quotations, in user definable formats including exports to and imports from Excel.
- Links to manufacturing and quality system to flag up warnings if certain parts are under review.
- Rentals management.
- Forecasting tools.
- Production planning tools.
- Sales order processing including job records.
- Shipping, including commercial invoices, inward processing relief, courier bill management.
- Tools database.
- Comprehensive Reporting.
- Mail shots.
- Technical and Product Bulletins.
- Customer Complaints Handling, linking to Quality system where appropriate.
- Customer Portal to manage their own accounts, download manuals, calibration sheets, report problems, place orders etc.
- Returns and Repairs.
- Customer relations e.g. tracking of calls and mail shots.
- Tool tracking.
- Stock handling.
Design & Development
- Engineering Change Process.
- Design Intranet.
- Reporting including export / import of data to Excel.
- Non Conformance Reports (NCRs).
- Concession Requests.
- Mail Shots To Suppliers.
- Works Orders
- Production Planning
- Purchase Orders
- Stock Handling
- User definable test templates to allow testing of tools of many different types, including
- Range offset from another question.
- Range over properties (e.g. tests at different temperatures or pressures).
- Value over properties.
- Range offset from another question over properties.
- Tick over properties.
- Slope calculations over properties.
- Serial number, issue number etc.
- Fixed value.
- Tick if OK.
- Tool address.
- Program number and issue.
- Either / Or question.
- Allow different sections to be visible depending on an option selected by the user.
- The issue of test templates follows a specified authorisation process involving several staff before being released to manufacturing.
- Maintenance of General Test Templates and Test Template Families to enable rapid production of test templates for similar tool types, and global updates of common tests.
- Units can be user defined.
- Property tests can be user defined e.g. tests at room temperature, 60C, 80C, 100C, 140C, 80C, 60C, room temperature.
- Upper and lower design limits can be entered for all questions.
- Upper and lower statistical limits can be calculated for all questions.
- Notes and instruction documents can be uploaded against each question.
- Templates and results can be printed in various formats.
- Suppliers can log on and complete test results online, or in house staff can complete them.
- Multiple tests per tool so they can be inspected again when they are returned after rental or for repair.
- When entering results, the user is immediately notified if out of limits. If out of design limits then the user is prompted to raise an NCR, this can be stand alone or merged with an existing NCR for a similar or related fault. If out of statistical limits (but in design limits), then the user is prompted to enter comments to help diagnose why it should be out of limits.
- Tools can not be passed unless all NCRs raised have Concession Requests approved.
- Maintenance of test equipment and calibration records. Recording of which test equipment is in use by which engineer and on which tests.
- Link to shipping system to prevent tools being shipped without valid test records.
- Comprehensive statistical reporting to identify trends and help identify areas of design or practice that can improve the tools.
- Link to Exchange Server.
- Web mail type interface for sales staff to access their email box at remote offices without access to their own machine.
- Allow users to link emails to/from customers/suppliers/staff etc. to any appropriate record in the Extranet. E.g. an email from a customer about a specific order will be linked both to the customer contact record and the sales order. So that other staff referring to the order at a later date can immediately see the correspondence.
- Take a copy of emails in personal email boxes and store them in the Extranet database so there is a permanent copy that can not be deleted by staff. This helps you comply with Corporate Governance responsibilities.
- Staff details.
- Holiday planner.
- Contact management including import of contacts from other systems.
- Export of contacts to Exchange server so they can be accessed from PDA contact lists.
- A 'To Do' list drives actions that must be completed by each staff member. This includes:
- Calls that need following up.
- Customer complaint actions that need following up.
- Quotes to follow up.
- Repair quotes to follow up.
- Orders to follow up.
- RMAs to follow up.
- Repairs to complete.
- Goods due to be exported for Inward Processing Relief (IPR).
- Open ECRs.
- Open ECNs.
- Open ECN Actions.
- If a member of staff is away a manager can view the Departmental To Do list to reallocate outstanding tasks.
- A Global To Do list gives an overview of everything that needs following up company wide.
- Maintenance of News Groups.
- Users can subscribe to news groups they are interested in.
- Users can view messages, post replies, and post new subjects.
Document management system
- Any record can have documents and photos attached e.g. NCRs to document faults, manuals for Tool Types etc.
- Batches of documents can be scanned in bulk. These can be automatically converted to text using OCR in TextBridgePro and automatically uploaded into the Extranet, combining the OCR text with the image. This allows for full text searching on the content of documents in addition to any keywords entered.
- Documents can go through levels of authorisation and version control.
- All records within the Extranet can be searched either in a structured manner e.g. all ECRs relating to particular tool types, or in free text to allow locating articles on how certain issues are resolved.
- Suitable articles can be authorised for access by customers (not yet implemented).
- Data management facilities e.g. merging duplicated data.
- Reports are output in Excel format so can be manipulated further by users.
- Automatically records logs of faxes and / email sent.
- Automatically logs user actions.
- Imports data from existing systems.
Links to third party MRP systems
- Manufacturing can be handled within our ERP system, but there are situations where companies will want to keep
their own MRP system to avoid the process of changing everything over. So we have developed links to third party
MRP systems which gives the advantage of a consistent group level ERP system but individual companies
have a minimum of change.
- Existing systems we have linked to are EFACS, Sage, Made2Manage. If you have other systems we can investigate
to see how easy it will be link.
GE Energy - Sondex
The system has around 200 'power' users at 10 sites across
the UK, Canada, USA, Middle East, Australia & China.