Ford Windows is using Business Micros’ EvoNET software to give itself a real point of difference in the new build window and door market.
Under the enthusiastic leadership of Operations Manager Wes Shackley, the company has transformed its IT operation over the past 18 months and now has a set up which is so impressive that it is being used as a demonstration site by Business Micros.
Wes joined Ford Windows in Sheffield from an ISO9001 accredited construction and surveying environment, where there was recording and traceability of every aspect of the company’s operation. He wanted to bring that same discipline to Ford Windows so that the new build supply and fit specialist could increase its efficiency and get access to better business information to help inform its future strategy and growth.
As existing users of the Evolution software, Wes approached Business Micros who convinced him that their EvoNET business management tool was capable of doing everything that he needed.
18 months on, Wes says that he now considers the investment in EvoNET to be one of the best things Ford Windows has yet done. He said: “Just in terms of the payback we are achieving from the time saved on admin, EvoNET has already proved a great investment. Much more than that though, I think it is enabling us to perform better as a business.
“We have implemented EvoNET across our entire operation – from barcode scanning throughout our warehouse, factory and despatch facility to track and monitor stock holding and production, right through to automatic invoicing and generation of completion certificates for new build customers, and even analysis of our recycling volumes.
“We now know instantly where every job is at any given time and we can routinely send an activity log to customers so that they can see that information for themselves. We can also generate reports to see our daily turnover, our fitting schedules, and our bill of materials at a glance, and as a result we have been able to eliminate vast amounts of paperwork from our operation.
“The initial challenge was to get everyone in the office and on the factory floor to commit to using the system fully, because its success relies so heavily on the quality of the information being entered. Once people could see how easy it was to use though and how much time it was actually saving them, that issue disappeared very quickly.
“In fact, what we are seeing now is staff members proactively suggesting ways that we can use EvoNET even more to organise things such as how we order and despatch frames to our individual fitting teams every morning and even how we order and store our DGUs in our remote warehouse.”
The big advantage for Ford Windows is that EvoNET can be made completely bespoke for every customer, so they have been able to add features and modules to suit the requirements of their specific 300 frame per day set up.
For example, Business Micros has created a solution for Ford Windows which automatically generates a bar code with every order they send to their glass suppliers which means the units can be scanned into EvoNET as they are received to check whether that order has been received correctly and in full.
They are also making the most of the reporting function within the software to analyse potential areas for improvement in things like production and fitting speeds and to improve forecasting of profile, glass and hardware usage so that they can move towards reduced stockholding.
Wes added: “So far, Business Micros have proved that EvoNET really can do everything we need. We are already planning to add the brand new Order Monitor function to take us on a step further, and we are adding customised production planning to optimise our efficiency.
“The whole team behind the software are helpful and responsive too, particularly Nick Bailey who looks after us day to day and the programming team in Scotland who help us translate our ideas for EvoNET into reality.”