Case Study: ERP for UK Exporter
Jo Bird is an internationally recognised leader in the design and manufacture of lifesaving and fire safety equipment storage
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Jo Bird is an internationally recognised leader in the design and manufacture of lifesaving and fire safety equipment storage. Its cabinets are used by clients around the world, including multinational companies such as BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil and Total.
They specialise in manufacturing cabinets to protect lifesaving and firefighting equipment, mainly on oil and gas platforms. The cabinets are designed to keep this vital equipment ready for use at all times in some of the world’s most hostile environments – from sea temperatures in Russia’s Arctic Circle of minus-45-degrees Celsius to 55-degree heat in the Saudi Arabian desert.
JoBird supplies these cabinets, each built to customers’ specifications, to more than 30 different export markets. Its work won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2013.
Jo Bird’s existing disparate systems made tracking orders a time-wasting ordeal, increased the risk of errors in specifications and billing, and made accessing data difficult.
A long standing relationship made the selection process quite simple; once Greentree’s capabilities were demonstrated, everyone was convinced.
Total integration of financials, manufacturing and CRM resolves the tracking issues. Workflow offers live visibility of orders, and Greentree4Sales-Mobile gives representatives data on the move.
“When we saw what Greentree could do, people from all our departments wanted to know when we were implementing it, because they could see the benefits it would deliver to them.”
Guy Atkins, Managing Director.
Greentree had the answers when JoBird went looking for integrated ERP software that would meet its changing needs.
Where’s that order at?
Building such cabinets is a meticulous, painstaking job. The specialists at JoBird’s factory work to designs that require specific weatherproofing, waterproofing, heating, insulation, ventilation, and more. Tracking the progress of each order, however, was becoming a burden.
“We were using a variety of bespoke systems, some more than 10 years old,” says Guy. “They didn’t communicate with each other, so there were workarounds all over the place.
“We’d input a sales order but then we had no way of seeing its progress until it was ready for delivery. If a customer called about the progress of their order, someone would have to walk around the factory to find out. This was wasting time.”
The inflexibility of the system, particularly when working with a complex bill of materials, raised the risk of mistakes, requiring manual checking that further slowed the process.
“The system was like a straitjacket,” Guy says. “It was dictating the way we worked, and we wanted things the other way round.”
The answer is “Yes”
The search for an ERP system that would give a live view of the manufacturing process turned out to be quite simple. JoBird’s Greentree Partner demonstrated Greentree’s capabilities and everyone was convinced.
“They’ve implemented and maintained our systems for 15 years,” says Guy. “We trust them implicitly and when we asked them if Greentree could do this or that, the answer to all our questions was yes.”
Integration of CRM, financial management and manufacturing was crucial for JoBird. Greentree’s Workflow active desktops allow staff to check orders at a glance – no more time wasted wandering around the factory.
“Workflow is such a great idea,” Guy enthuses, “and the fact that you can customise the view for each user is just fantastic. They can authorise something with the minimum of fuss and time wasted. Being able to set up business rules provides answers that were previously difficult or even impossible to obtain.”
Geared to push the boundaries
Greentree’s flexibility means the bill of materials is much more accurate. Guy is enthusiastic about being able to identify process bottlenecks or previously hidden costs and to be able to offer a wider range of discounts to loyal customers.
JoBird’s large export market makes Greentree’s multicurrency function an important tool and with its sales staff spending a lot of time travelling, Greentree4SalesMobile gives them all the data they need.
“We’re constantly pushing the boundaries of what we can do to give a better offering to our customers,” Guy concludes. “We’re looking to grow and expand and we’re looking to Greentree to enable us to do that without growing pains in the systems area, to be far more effective in everything we do and to adapt to our changing requirements.” Guy Atkins, Managing Director.