Whilst many in the glass industry are tightening their belts, Derw Glass in Pembrokeshire is investing in a modernisation programme that includes over 1 million pound investment in machinery and expansion of a new 510 SQM extension. As the company has expanded as has the need for more sophisticated software technology to manage the increase in size and production volumes.
Leading up to the expansion and investment in new machinery, Jotika worked closely with Derw to review their existing Gtrak3 system and recommend available modules and features in the Gtrak3 range. The objective being to maintain greater control over the business, increase efficiency and sustain/reduce human resource costs during the expansion.
"We have worked with Derw for over 10 years now and are happy to see the software grow with the business. Our software is mission critical and we only ever consider it to be a long term investment for our clients. Derw have built on their initial investment, without any need to re-invest in a new system, because Gtrak3 is evolving with them and allowing them to see that investment pay back in spades". Brian Gold.
The main areas of focus for this project was to reduce administration time whilst still improving customer service levels. As any company expands, keeping control on the business becomes more difficult, and this is where the right software can make a real impact.
First stage was to implement a Delivery Management System in despatch. Delivery of goods was controlled using a combination of Gtrak3 reports and a number of different spreadsheets. This was becoming unworkable as the number of customers, vehicles and volumes were increasing. Furthermore, as the company expanded into new regions across England, travel distances and fuel costs increased; which meant that vehicle usage had to be optimised better without the need to manually update and cross check spreadsheets.
Delivery Management was customised to meet the needs of Derw's despatch department. Namely new reports and the ability to sort customer deliveries by the current drop sequence for each route. This flexible option allows users to preset drop sequences for each route, but still make on the fly adjustments on the day. Other features include overviews of deliveries for a given date range. These views provide advanced warning of vehicle capacity and drop frequency, meaning delivery Managers can ensure vehicles do not go over capacity and that vehicles are not making superfluous drops.
Default vehicles and drivers can be changed for a given day if staff are unavailable, vehicle capacity is exceeded or if overweight goods require a vehicle with a crane. All this information gets instantly stored against the orders for traceability. Any change made in Delivery Manager is then visible for all users instantly, giving customer facing staff up to the minute information on customer's deliveries.
With the pressure on inputting staff increasing with volumes, the danger of remakes and customer dissatisfaction was also an important factor. To back up the manual checking procedure, Jotika implemented auto acknowledgements at order input. At the point of order saving the customer now receives a full breakdown of their order including prices, either by fax or email, depending on their preference. This gives them the maximum time to inform Derw of any queries.
Barcode Tracking and Delivery Loading
The tracking of items at sealing and loading was a big issue. It was no longer viable to chase products around the factory and incorrect items being delivered to customers was becoming more frequent. This caused logistical nightmares and had to be addressed.
The Production Tracking database facility was already being used without scanning for capacity planning purposes only. This was enhanced to provide real time feedback at sealing and at loading. The Production Monitoring System now provides capacity planning as well as real time progress. The Delivery Manager also reads directly from the Production Tracking database to provide despatch with real time views of vehicle loading progress, and can then provide onscreen or printed missing lists per vehicle/route or delivery date.
When loading customer stillages, voice audio warnings are triggered to help loaders when goods are allocated to an incorrect customer stillage. This dramatically reduces the chances of customers receiving the wrong products and/or products missing. Again all this information of stillage loading progress is instantly available for customer facing staff against the order details.
David Pinkney General Manager sums up - “The project overall has been a great success and really shows how software is a very viable investment even in tougher market conditions. It is one thing investing in new premises or machinery to expand the business; but if you don’t back it up with the right software then control of the business costs and logistics can run away with you. Jotika are an excellent company to deal with, even outside the scope of their own software, which makes project managing these implementations much easier.”