See the change that’s possible when you employ ERP software – read the story of OrderWise and Latham’s Steel Security Doors

ERP software has the real potential to revolutionise your business and its practices. These kinds of claims are commonplace in the commercial and entrepreneurial world, which is why it is important to have real-world examples to back up what you’re saying.

In this case, it doesn’t get more robustly real-world than the work of Latham’s Steel Security Doors. Based in the West Midlands, they have developed a two-pronged business approach of both building bespoke security doors and providing hardware trade materials for related security needs. Both of these sectors have been made radically more efficient overall thanks to the inclusion of an ERP solution provided by OrderWise, integrated fully into function after function of the business’s ongoing operations.

The problem – outdated systems

Before the business employed a proper ERP system, Latham’s had been making do with spreadsheets and cobbled together formula operations. This meant a lot of rekeying, repetitive work, and many time-consuming mistakes.

Alex Latham, the managing director explained “We were using spreadsheets and google sheets to run the business and the sheer volume of formulas that linked each sheet to one another genuinely caused the system to crash hourly. It simply wasn’t sustainable for that reason alone. The amount of manual input meant increasing errors, over-typing of formulas, and we’d find out months later down the line that we had been pulling from numbers that should have been a formula.”

The solution – collaborative approach

When people here that software is the solution, many imagine having to install a large new program, and then sit down for several hours/days/weeks with a manual and a monitor to get to grips with things. That’s not how OrderWise does things. The OrderWise approch is to build a bespoke ERP solution with the specific user in mind.

This was what Chris Hardy, Latham’s Operations Manager, said about the process: “We tend to do things a little differently to most people, we don’t conform to traditional patterns of working, and OrderWise saw this. When choosing a software provider, we were looking for someone willing to work with us. And because we tend to evolve at such a quick pace, it was somebody willing to put those changes in and work with us through everything we needed.”

Manufacturing and Trade Store Management

By using a proper ERP system as designed, developed, and tailored by OrderWise, Lathams found themselves much more able to track and trace the vast variety of stock and components that they need to make both streams of their work possible.

Nick Attfield, Marketing and IT Manager said more here: “Holding the large stocks of components is great for us because it opens up our offering to, well, an unrivalled level. But it does produce challenges when it comes to kitting and manufacturing in large volumes. We run two parallel systems using OrderWise functionality; build-to-stock and build-on-order, which allows large volumes of orders to be built upfront, but slower movers to be built as we go, so we can prevent allocating stock against slower-moving bundles that could be used for faster-selling lines.”

This is in part made possible by the integration of three key areas. The mobile WMS that OrderWise provides for Android based devices, which radically increases picking accuracy and speed. The OrderWise Business Intelligence module which keeps track of all the essential infomation the company needs ahead of time. These then work together both with each other and the purchasing module which can ensure the right quantities of component stock is ordered ahead of time, factoring in seasonal trends, ongoing demand and lead times within the chain of supply.

The courier connection

OrderWise doesn’t stop delivering efficiency with just the work that happens inside the building. By connecting and tracking everything into the system, including the couriers and proof of delivery, Latham’s were even more able to make the most of their entire operation.

“OrderWise has allowed us to optimise everything from the moment the sales order comes in.” Mr Attfield explains “With the routes that we can plan, we can actually give customers an estimated time of arrival. We can also send out notifications if it’s coming out via a third-party haulier and, as well, if it’s coming by a courier like Royal Mail. So, once goods go to despatch, after that point, our customers are getting a text message or an email to let them know and keep them in the loop.”

“We can have each delivery as an electronic signature, and live map our drivers as well to see which deliveries they have done and have yet to do. Whereas before, we were using separate GPS trackers on the vans, but now it’s all built into mobile phones that integrate straight into the OrderWise system.”

Watch the full story here.

Jon Roberts, Sales Director at OrderWise