Facts at their fingertips with special software

Prematec, a fast-growing job shop that makes precision mechanical components for the aerospace and computer industries, has invested £26,000 in JobBoss’s shop management and data collection software to improve the control of its business. It already had a network of PCs. The company, located in Llantrisant, South Glamorgan, has 20 customers for which it makes […]

Prematec, a fast-growing job shop that makes precision mechanical components for the aerospace and computer industries, has invested £26,000 in JobBoss’s shop management and data collection software to improve the control of its business. It already had a network of PCs.

The company, located in Llantrisant, South Glamorgan, has 20 customers for which it makes a variety of components in average batch sizes of 10. The average job cycle time is two weeks. `We were using Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet and Access database to plan our production but we outgrew them,’ says Ian Moss, Prematec’s production director. Prematec was set up 18 months ago and has 90 employees.

One of its biggest problems was knowing when to launch a job into production and then monitoring it through to completion.

`Because we didn’t have a scheduling tool, we didn’t know when to start jobs and, as a result, we had some late deliveries,’ says Moss. `Also when customers called us about their jobs, we’d have to go to the shop to find out where they were. Now we have all this information at our fingertips.’

The search for a system started a year ago. Prematec specified a Windows-based product because most employees were familiar with Windows. It considered five options, including SAP’s enterprise resource planning system.

JobBoss was chosen even though the company was not represented in the UK then. The reasons included the software’s ability to meet Prematec’s ISO 9000 requirements, its ease of use (two people were given a week’s training and they then trained everyone else) and its cost.

Loading data into the system started at the beginning of December with Prematec’s aerospace jobs. This is now complete. Prematec will load data about its computer clients next.

Already the company has gained control of its aerospace orders. Jobs are being launched into production at the right time and each is monitored. The shopfloor data is being used to analyse the performance of equipment and compare the estimated costs of jobs with the actual costs.

`We’ve definitely saved money and we’ve now got information that allows us to make more guided management decisions. Before, we relied on gut feel rather than real evidence,’ says Moss.