Customer: Court Precision Engineering Ltd
Location: Chelmsford, Essex
Industries: Aerospace & Motorsport Components
Contact: Stewart Court, Managing Director
Court Precision’s previous system was inefficient and required much repeated entry of data. Fitfactory was the solution that allowed them increased annual growth.
Court Precision Engineering was founded in 1986 by Stewart Court. Court Precision specialises in the manufacture of aerospace and motor-sport components in batch sizes which vary between one and 100 off.
Their reputation for machining to very close tolerances and providing an efficient and quality service has attracted clients from well known defence and electronics industries.
Court’s previous management system relied on spreadsheet technology and, although it was used by five people, could only be accessed by one person at a time, and required repeated entry of the same data, making it an inefficient way of working.
The new system was installed on the company’s existing intranet, making use of Court Precision’s investment in hardware. Stewart Court said, “Implementation of the system was straightforward and was completed in two days. Fitfactory transferred the data from our old system and then returned to carry out the training. The system was very easy to pick up, and the installation went smoothly.”
The system starts by registering an enquiry. Quotations are then prepared making use of a template and historical information. Machining times, subcontracted operations and bought out items are all recorded to produce an accurate cost directly from the CAD data supplied by the customer.
Stewart Court said, “We can now create a new quotation in half the time.” Andrew James, Assistant Manager added, “Once the quotation has been accepted, the complete and accurate information contained within it enables us to produce a works order with all the route cards for our shop floor, as well as purchase orders for material and subcontracted items in about two minutes. Previously this would have taken around half an hour.”
For Court Precision the reduction in administrative load has been significant. The six seats of the software are used in estimating, sales, purchasing, stock control, dispatch, and accounts, enabling each section within the company to share information and add data simultaneously, eliminating duplicate entries. Delivery notes and invoices are automatically created with all the details already filled in, eliminating repetitive work and the possibility of error.
The software also includes a scheduling package, which shows the loading on each resource. A drag and drop interface allows users to move jobs around when an overload is detected, while capacity planning checks that sufficient resources are available to meet delivery dates. Shop floor activity is recorded through bar codes on the route cards Stewart Court said, “It’s like shopping in a supermarket, we simply swipe the route card and enter the quantity.”
The operators are very happy with the system, which eliminates paperwork and administration and also gives us more accurate information as work is progressing.” By carrying out spot checks, Court Precision can analyse the profitability of its jobs. Additionally, the extra information is a strong motivating factor in helping it hit its production targets. The system also helps the company to identify bottlenecks and voids in its capacity plan, which can in turn be used to look for suitable new work to fill the vacant periods.
A major improvement for the company is traceability which was limited before the installation of the Fitfactory software. Stewart Court said, “We now have accurate knowledge of stock levels. Additionally, we also know the drawing release of stocked items and the material from which they have been made. This will encourage our customers to place higher value orders spread over longer lead times. We can then pass on the cost savings and allow them to call off the quantities they require to suit their fluctuating production requirements. The system gives us far more flexibility.”
Stewart Court anticipates that the new system will raise confidence levels amongst his customers who can see that his company will be able to sustain a large increase in order levels for the long-term, and that it will open doors for new business based on the quality and service Court Precision can provide. He said, Fitfactory’s system is five times better than our previous system. We are anticipating a 20% year on year growth in our business, all of which can be attributed to the new software. It is a very exciting opportunity for us.”