Winner: Potterton Myson and Intentia UK

Runners-up: Cobble Blackburn and Open Business Solutions; ABB Automation

The award-winning entry from Potterton Myson and Intentia UK documented the process of bringing in a new company-wide Enterprise Resource Planning system. The aim was to improve planning and labour efficiency and centralise procurement and purchasing power, leading to reductions in suppliers’ prices and inventory costs.

Intentia’s Movex software was chosen, with the firm also providing consultancy support to the domestic and industrial boiler maker.

The system, serving more than 600 users across five Potterton Myson sites, was phased in over an 18-month period.

The phase covering parts distribution, procurement and finance, completed in October 1998, allowed staffing in the warehouse to be reduced by 10%. Warehouse pick rate improved to a consistent level 20% higher than the previous maximum daily rate achieved.

At the Redditch manufacturing site, the ERP implementation was brought forward five months to act as a pilot site. There were immediate improvements in stock levels, ordering, and integration with other business units.

At the Warwick and Padiham manufacturing sites, implementation ran ahead of schedule, and benefits included faster material transfer between sites, better traceability of stock, simpler vendor scheduling, and time saving across most activities. A 30% increase in the volume of products handled was achieved without taking on more staff.

Finally, the service implementation was re-planned to integrate a call-recognition system.

The project was completed on time and 2% within budget, with many areas surpassing the operational objectives mapped into the design phase. As the judges put it, this was `a classic large-scale implementation, with clearly planned and achievable benefits’.


Cobble Blackburn’s implementation of a new management information system, in partnership with Open Business Solutions, took just seven weeks. Lancashire-based Cobble Blackburn makes more than 50 carpet-manufacturing machines a year. Most of them are one-offs, and each contains thousands of components. Jobscope, an off-the-shelf system running on Windows NT, was brought in to match part orders to contracts, cut inventories and provide better contract costing estimates and controls.

Equally impressive was ABB Automation’s entry, which detailed an e-commerce site from which users can select, order and pay for drives. It is one of the first truly interactive business-to-business e-commerce sites of its type in the world and allows customers to gather information on all the products before ordering on-line.