Weymouth Precision Engineers have grown with Fitfactory since 2013 and have obtained their AS9100 accreditation, amongst many more achievements, as a result of their digital transformation. From having a £500 order book to now £5million, and new purpose-build premises to accommodate their growing customer base, they are an example of a huge success, with the support of Fitfactory.
Weymouth Precision Engineers (WPE) was formed in 1964 and supply high quality CNC machined components to industries such as aerospace and automotive.
In 2013, current Managing Director, Dave Wilson took over the business. With an order book of £500 at the time, he realised there was much work ahead to grow the business. So, he immediately set out to acquire an MRP system.
In 2016, the company acquired new purpose-built premises, which was a huge expansion for them. With an increase in employees and their growing customer base, it was necessary for larger premises.
By time of writing this article, WPE’s order book has grown closer to £5million. We caught up with Dave to discuss his journey over the last 7 years and how he’s transformed the business.
WPE did not have a system in place before they purchased Tricorn Production in 2013. Therefore, they were faced with many difficulties, as Dave explained, “We needed some sort of system in place like Tricorn. We didn’t know how much we were making on a job, or whether it was making the time allocated to it. If a customer asked us to remake something from 2 years prior, we had no record of it, only that we made it! If a customer rang and said you quoted me ‘x’ in 2012 for example, we had no record of it, so we had to take their word for it!”
Dave was aware of another company who used Tricorn. When looking at Fitfactory’s transformations, he identified numerous companies in Weymouth who used Tricorn successfully. This gave Dave a ‘warm feeling’ about utilising this system at WPE. To assist with the implementation of the system, Dave explained “The Fitfactory team helped us identify local grant funding to implement a digital strategy which allowed us to adopt the system.”
“I’d definitely recommend the Scheduler, I can’t remember what it was like without it!”
As the business grew, Dave realised they needed increased control and visibility of the business. While they couldn’t purchase everything at once, initial success with the production control system led to implementing additional modules over time, including the Dashboard, Scheduler and SFDC.
Dave explained “The implementation of Tricorn to WPE was significant. Before using Tricorn, we wrote on paper and notebooks. This method raised concerns in case any of the sheets went missing. We would have no way of knowing what material was what, and there would be no traceability. Adopting an MRP system was the best solution for this problem. There was no need for paper as it was completely digital.”
A few years later, Dave knew there were still opportunities to improve and enquired about Fitfactory’s Scheduler product on the website. “I was immediately sold after 5 minutes [of seeing the Scheduler]. We realised we were doing lots of things wrong. With the system, it made us realise we should’ve been categorising the machines differently to be more efficient with our resources.” Therefore, the Scheduler allowed them to fix this issue and Dave continued, “I’d definitely recommend the Scheduler, I can’t remember what it was like without it!”
As well as the Scheduler, WPE recently purchased Shop Floor Data Capture (SFDC). Prior to the system, Dave had to tell each staff member what their next job was which took up a considerable amount of time. Dave discussed, “Before using SFDC, there could be 20 jobs with the same name, however the SFDC allows you open up each job and see what each one is, with drawings also attached. So it’s much easier now.”
“We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for Fitfactory and our digital transformation.”
By embracing technology, WPE have experienced the range of benefits that comes from digital transformation. This has led to incredible business success in recent years.
Firstly, adopting the system has saved WPE a great deal of time. As Dave explained, “In the past, we created templates on paper to work out the set time and run time and material costs. They then wrote this up on an email. We eventually changed this process and began using spreadsheets. But, when we implemented Tricorn, it saved approximately an hour per person per day. With 5 staff, that saved 25 hours a week!”.
Furthermore, Tricorn has reduced the amount of time Dave has to be in the office. “Normally when night staff came in, I had to wait in the office to tie in with them to tell them what their next job is. However, the dashboard shows them the areas which are at full capacity for example, and they are aware the full capacity jobs need targeting at night to free up.”
Tricorn has also supported WPE during the current circumstances with COVID-19. “With 80% of office staff working from home, we weren’t printing nearly as much. If we didn’t have Tricorn, we wouldn’t have been able to work from home. We wouldn’t have been able to function without it.” As a result, going digital has allowed them to function with the system and continue operating efficiently.
Overall, this process has helped Weymouth Precision Engineering through an incredible period of growth. From an order book of £500 to £5million, to the expansion of their premises, and expanding into new markets. They’ve grown immensely over the 7 years while using Tricorn. Furthermore, obtaining their AS9100 accreditation and acquiring BAE Systems as a customer has definitely been one of their highlights. Dave concluded, “We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for Fitfactory and our digital transformation.”
Despite the current uncertainty of COVID-19, WPE are still operating as usual. Office staff are successfully working from home and shop floor workers are still able to proceed with job orders. Additionally, growth is still on the cards as WPE are in the process of leasing another unit. This additional unit is within close proximity to their current premises. They aim to expand the company with as many varied industries as possible.