Customer: Pope & Meads Ltd
Location: Ware, Herts
Industries: General Precision Engineering

Contact: Nick Ellis, Managing Director

Both efficiency and productivity have increased since Pope and Meads’ decision to transfer to Fitfactory over their manual paper-based system.

Synopsis

Pope and Meads Ltd provide precision engineering services to a diverse clientèle that includes the defence, aerospace, medical, film and automotive industries.

Throughout its 57 year history the firm was originally based in Ware, Herts but recently moved to Hertford. Currently, Pope and Meads Ltd comprise of thirty members of staff and recently purchased Abbey Precision Engineering in Milton Keynes.

The company has an approximate annual turnover of £2.5 million and achieved ISO accreditation in 1993. Like many engineering firms, Pope and Meads Ltd relied on manual job cards prior to the introduction of Fitfactory. This paper intensive arrangement required the movement of handwritten cards through a series of pigeon holes as work progressed towards completion.

Managing Director Nick Ellis commented, “Coming from a modern manufacturing background, I could only describe the system as horrendous. It was inefficient and chaotic, relying on job cards being in the correct pigeon holes at all times. A manual system such as this would require, for example, an order with all its parts to be hand written. The number of parts can easily be in the 100’s. Then if the order was placed again say in a month’s time, a new card would be written out. It was so labour intensive. Accounts and Purchasing would also have similar tasks as the system afforded little link in with the jobs in hand.”

Ellis continued, “In terms of planning and scheduling, when we looked at the firm’s capability against current jobs to quote lead times for new clients, the lack of scheduling in the process would require 3-4 weeks clearance. We were reliant on remembering the chain of events for each of our current contracts. This would be fine if a firm was committed to 3-4 jobs at a time but we were looking at 300-400!”

As a short term measure, the firm moved to a spreadsheet solution which meant the process was electronically based but out of date in perpetuity.

Selection Process

On deciding to implement the Fitfactory system, Ellis said, “The decision to purchase a Fitfactory solution started as a process of elimination. We whittled down our list to six companies specialised in providing processing solutions to manufacturing companies such as ourselves. In speaking to these firms we narrowed it down to four providers. I had met Fitfactory  at the Southern Manufacturing & Electronics Exhibition where they demonstrated their system to me. We then asked the other three companies for demonstrations. At the end of the day, we didn’t have to make a decision as to which provider to go with, the decision was made for us! In visiting clients of the final firms and looking at the limitations of each system, Fitfactory proved to have a simple way of doing things.

Even in questioning their client on scenarios that would highlight any limitations, they would demonstrate the systems easy ‘get around the problem’ solutions. One year on and we still believe buying the Fitfactory system was a good idea. It was a system we could trust and still do every day.”

Implementing Fitfactory

The implementation of the system was fantastic! The Fitfactory staff really knew their stuff and would listen to our specific requirements and questions, turning them into a solution that worked for us. If they couldn’t answer a question immediately, the implementers would find it. We soon realised that if a question was unanswered, then it was because there was no answer.

Even though our offices don’t lend themselves easily to group training, the Fitfactory staff were able to provide good training. After sales support has also been superb. We soon realised that any queries we have about the system, questions about honing it for our needs or changing reports, there is always someone at the end of the phone who is actually able to help. We place so much trust in the system it is reassuring that if we need support from Fitfactory, it is always there.

Fitfactory have also been good at customer interaction and talking about new releases and advancements in capability which is also good to take home to the drawing board!”

Impact on Business

“Using our Fitfactory solution has improved levels of efficiency throughout Pope & Meads Ltd, therefore increasing work productivity. Our professionals are wholly focused on the close working relationship we have with our clients from quote to delivery and Fitfactory give us peace of mind to provide them products of unsurpassed quality. The firm has taken the juggling and the drudgery out of our business, enabling us to get on with what we do best.

I have to recommend Fitfactory to both customers and competitors and would not hesitate to do so again.”

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