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Williams & Oakey's leap of faith more than repays itself

Williams & Oakey choose flexible and modular PSL Datatrack

A number of engineering subcontractors still use DOS based production control software to manage shop floor manufacturing and assembly activities. As this platform is no longer supported, it has become increasingly difficult to rely upon its continued use. This was exactly the situation faced by Williams & Oakey, and now having made the successful transition to the Windows based PSL Datatrack production control software, the company has been delighted with the results.

“Moving away from the bespoke DOS operating platform was not a decision that was taken lightly,” says Williams & Oakey's Materials & IT Manager Martin Presley. “We had become too comfortable with the old system and there were inherent risks in trying to continue, so in 2012 we started to look at alternatives. We spoke to a number of software companies but were attracted by an article we saw in the press about an engineering subcontractor in a similar situation to us. They had gone down the PSL Datatrack route without any difficulty. We had a presentation from PSL Datatrack and also made a visit to an existing customer. That convinced us to go with PSL. Their software is flexible, modular and we felt it would be easily adaptable to our specific business model.”

Based in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, Williams & Oakey has been in existence for nearly 60 years, with its core business supplying high quality machined parts and fabrications to a range of customers in many different industries. The emphasis has been on offering a one stop shop, engaged not only in precision CNC machining but also pre-treatment and finishing using the latest powder coating technology. Quality standards  are  essential and  with  its  ISO9001  accreditation,  the  company  provides  its  sub-contract services to many companies where traceability is a prerequisite. This includes supplying a market leading actuator manufacturer with EP (explosion proof) and WT (water tight) castings. The company also has a full range of facilities including pressure testing, quality control, secure storage and the despatch of finished fabrications directly to its customers' own clients. Latterly, there has been expansion into other new business areas including hydro-dipping and alloy wheel refurbishment.

PSL Datatrack generates all shop floor documentationControlling all the processes through the factory had always been undertaken using the bespoke DOS system, but this had put a lot of pressure on Martin who was responsible not only for writing and running all the software programs, but continuously adapting older technology to work alongside the modern alternatives enabling the company to maintain continuity of production.

Although the situation had became more and more untenable, the final decision to switch to PSL Datatrack was not without its concerns. “Having worked with DOS for many years, there were worries about the transition to the Windows based PSL Datatrack system. We were concerned about potential loss of manufacturing data – essential to our traceability – and also whether the theory of using PSL Datatrack might not be quite as easy in practice if the learning curve was steep for our staff who had been so accustomed to the DOS platform. Making the leap of faith has been the right decision.”

“One of the pleasant surprises of switching to PSL Datatrack was the low financial investment that it entailed for us. There was no need to invest in new servers as PSL Datatrack could be run from the company's existing PCs.” said Martin. Williams & Oakey was able to take advantage of the modularity of PSL Datatrack production control software and only invested initially in the core modules under a single user licence. These included Quotations, Works Orders, Purchase Orders, Goods Received, Materials Stock, Component Stocks, Deliveries and Invoicing.

Working closely with PSL Datatrack, Martin used all his experience and took responsibility for learning about the operation of the software. He then successfully implemented the live system in stages. It now controls every aspect of the progress of every customer order, from quotation to invoice. It generates all the accompanying documentation right down to batch identification labels and deliveries, not just for direct customers but also on Williams & Oakey's customers’ headed paper to be sent directly to their clients.

Supported by PSL Datatrack, Martin chose to train in-house all the company's shop floor and office based staff on how to use the software. Today, there are two Datatrack stations in the factory where operators clock in and out as well as logging all the required information about every order that passes through, essential for traceability. Management reports can be produced as required to check any aspect of the production process and on the shop floor, documentation such as inspection sheets can be generated.

High quality precision engineering with DatatrackFollowing the success of the initial implementation, Williams & Oakey took advantage of the Time & Attendance,  Shop  Floor  Data  Collection,  Scheduler  and  Non-Conformance modules. In addition they added extra user licences to give access to more staff and even closer control of the engineering process. This has provided more in-depth reporting that allows the company to intervene as necessary and change manufacturing procedures in order to improve efficiency.   “PSL Datatrack is very flexible and we have received excellent support when we have wanted to customise the software to suit our particular reporting requirements.” says Martin.

There are plans to continue to expand on what PSL Datatrack can offer, such as setting up a complete database of customer engineering drawings under document management and also the possibility of extending the use of the software to manage the successful hydro-dipping and alloy wheel refurbishment side of the business.

PSL Datatrack is helping Williams & Oakey to maintain its position as a highly reliable supplier of high quality precision engineering services at a time when the industry is becoming increasingly competitive and in a period of change. “We have put our faith in the professionalism of PSL Datatrack and it is really paying off. I don't have to run or write the software anymore and can focus my time on the important management of our processes. Now we have the PSL Datatrack production control system, the benefits are immeasurable.” concludes Martin.



Williams_Oakey_Transition_PSL_Datatrack_Production_Control.pdf

  • Essential to us

    Datatrack has a flexible, modular design and the ability to grow with a business"Datatrack has been essential to us and we'll continue to use it as an important element of improving our operations still further in the future."

    Phil Merison, Machining Technology (Mach-Tech) Ltd

     
  • Readily adapted

    PSL Datatrack reduces the administrative time and paperwork burden"PSL Datatrack has left me free to run the business rather than be involved in it. It can be readily adapted to meet customers’ differing requirements."

    David McIlwain, Technoturn Ltd

     
  • Control & Traceability is Second to None

    Traceability from quotation to invoice"We liked the way PSL Datatrack could be tailored to our specific needs from the beginning and also gave us the option to expand into different modules as and when we wished.  The way the system flows and the control and traceability we have over our work is now second to none."

    Lewis Lockwood, RDL Technologies Ltd 

     
  • Efficient multi-currency invoicing

    Multi-currency provides automatic calculations to/from foreign currencies"PSL Datatrack enabled us to implement changes to our invoicing methods efficiently - as when we introduced multi-currency invoicing including the US$ and the €uro."

    Barry Kirkpatrick, Demand Technology International Ltd

     
  • Smooth and rapid progress of orders

    PSL maintains close contact with its customers, who can request system enhancements through an active wish list"I see us working with PSL Datatrack for many years to come. We have worked together for a long time and the way PSL Datatrack is set up ensures smooth and rapid progress of orders going through both our businesses. PSL Datatrack always supplies excellent service and back-up."

    Sarah Pennock, Daro Products Limited

     
  • Our auditor was impressed

    PSL Datatrack is used by many ISO registered companies"We bought PSL Datatrack in anticipation of starting the process of becoming ISO 9001 registered to help us get better organised. Within six months of having Datatrack installed we had approval with zero non compliances. Our auditor was impressed with how quickly and easily everything flowed from one module to another."

    Russell Thackray, Bernard Holmes Precision Ltd

  • Would recommend it to other SMEs

    Efficient Production Control adds value by minimising the burden of administration and therefore reducing overheads"We are happy with PSL Datatrack and would recommend it to other SMEs. The initial hard work has paid off and we are now a tighter more efficient unit. PSL Datatrack have been absolute rocks in terms of the support they have given us."

    Paul McCann, Bluebell Opticom Ltd

     
  • Very Happy with the System

    Additional PSL Datatrack modules can be purchased as required"PSL Datatrack continually develops new functionality for the software and good on-site support has been provided during the planning and implementation of training & new modules. I am very happy with the system and the huge amount of change we have implemented in the company over the past year which has been highly successful without any issues."

    Roger Williams, Seychell Engineering & Fabrication Ltd

     
  • Keeping Control of Production is Vital

    PSL Datatrack ensures that no invoices are overlooked"We knew simply recording and storing customer and production information on the company iPad would not be sufficient. We were already missing some jobs or sometimes not invoicing correctly. So, bearing in mind all the likely combinations of orders for different components, quantities and materials that an increased customer base was likely to bring, things had to change."

    Adam Green, G23 Engineering Limited

     
  • How did we manage before?

    Ease of invoicing and transfer of data to accounts software"We can now retrieve any information at the push of a button. To be honest, it is difficult to see how we managed before we had Datatrack."

    Phil Smith, Wealdpark Ltd

     
  • Slashed our Admin Times

    PSL Datatrack reduces administration time by generating shop floor paperwork such as process layouts"We have slashed our admin times - orders are now processed in minutes rather than hours, even for complex aerospace contracts"

    Rob Kendall, AIM Limited, Clevedon

     
  • Price breaks easily managed

    The quotations module is flexible and time saving"We often get price break requests on the same part and before PSL Datatrack, these used to sit idle awaiting the effort required to work them out. The module has saved us a lot of time, and I’m confident we are winning more work because we are simply quoting more."

    Yian Stavrou, Sub-CNC Precision Ltd 

     
  • Our Pace

    PSL Datatrack comprises a series of core modules which can be extended to include a range of optional modules"We didn't need to buy all the modules from day one, since the system could progress at a pace to suit the business."

    David Proctor, DP Engineering

  • Impossible without PSL Datatrack

    PSL Datatrack provides the ability to create quotations faster than the competition"The administration behind the manufacturing of a wide variety of engineered plastics parts in many different batch sizes for many different customers would have been impossible without PSL Datatrack."

    Jonathan Newis, Plastic Turned Parts 

     
  • Stream Lined Delivery

    Complete component stocks controlled together with material traceability"The facility to have accurate data, a complete component stock list, and a stream-lined delivery process was very appealing."

    George Dingley, Sub-CNC Precision Ltd 

     
  • Control vital admin functions

    Datatrack ensures that all this work is profitable and that businesses can easily recall details when repeat orders are received"Maintaining control of non-productive but vital admin functions is paramount. We could not maintain control without Datatrack."

    Pete Wells, Applied Drilling Systems Ltd

     
  • More efficient, competitive and professional

    Speed of order placing, raising enquiries, material allocations, traceability and generating certificates all improve with Datatrack"PSL Datatrack is making Hydrafeed more efficient, competitive and professional. We are in a position to win more engineering sub-contract work and continue to expand our barfeed operation, confident in the knowledge that PSL Datatrack will allow us to cope as it can be adapted easily to new requirements."

    Martyn Page, Hydrafeed Limited

     
  • Excellent training and flexibility

    PSL Datatrack allows consistently on-time deliveries and greater customer satisfaction"PSL Datatrack has provided excellent training and the flexibility to address ND Precision Products’ specific requirements. Great reaction times to queries and ongoing support have resulted in a well nurtured relationship forming between our two companies."

    Nick Squire, N D Precision Products 

     
  • Integral part of our operations

    Traceability of products throughout the production process is guaranteed"Datatrack is an integral part of our operations at Technoset Ltd. It supports our business in many facets and is particularly strong with traceability which is very important to Technoset and their customers."

    Kevan Kane, Technoset Ltd

     
  • Support From Experts

    Purpose designed modular production control"PSL Datatrack is a very customer focused supplier and always helps us to look at our own operation to improve what we do for our customers. We have close control and management of what is now a much larger business. We wouldn't be where we are without PSL Datatrack, support from experts who understand what we are trying to achieve."

    Richard Trevail, DP Engineering

  • Will grow with me

    A flexible, modular production control system"I have seen PSL Datatrack work highly effectively for a multi million pound turnover company with 60 employees and a far larger customer base than mine at present. I therefore know that the system will grow with me right into the future, taking care of the administration whilst I focus on the engineering and providing the best service to customers."

    Howard Sheldon, Sheldon Precision Engineering Ltd

     
  • Day to day support is excellent

    Running PSL Datatrack results in improved utilisation of machine tools"The combination of system flexibility and the day to day support we receive from PSL is excellent, helping us to maximise our investments – not just in PSL Datatrack, but also in the performance of our machine tools and production systems."

    Delan Loughney, Killala Precision Components Ltd

     
  • Foundation for our success

    PSL Datatrack is fast, flexible, precise and simple to use"PSL Datatrack helps to bring the whole operation together in an accessible, easy to use system that has provided the foundation for our continued success."

    Julie Fairclough, Fylde CNC Specialists Ltd

     
  • On-time Deliveries

    PSL Datatrack helps businesses meet customer deadlines and compete profitably"Customer service with on-time deliveries, no rejects and repeat business remain the key factors. PSL Datatrack helps us to achieve these goals."

    Stephen Weiss, Managing Director, Maylan Limited

     
  • Highly Efficient System

    Accurate generation of quotations in single or multiple batch sizes"First and foremost, we are a product manufacturer and PSL Datatrack was already proven as a highly efficient system, being used extensively in a number of complex engineering businesses and batch assembly operations similar to our own."

    Nick Wilson, ANR Manufacturing Ltd

     
  • Accurate planning

    Datatrack provides fast and accurate reporting for informed decision making"Accurate planning on a day-to-day basis and in particular for the longer term, is helped because decisions can be made against factual information."

    Jason Nicholson, Unicut Precision Ltd

     
  • Entire Business at our Fingertips

    Datatrack is designed for managing both small and medium manufacturing businesses"When we bought PSL Datatrack, we got a system that we could use quickly, does everything we ask of it and more and now we have our entire business at our fingertips."

    Jason Nicholson, Unicut Precision Ltd

     
  • Benefits are immeasurable

    PSL Datatrack aids high quality precision engineering"We have put our faith in the professionalism of PSL Datatrack and it is really paying off. I don't have to run or write the software anymore and can focus my time on the important management of our processes. Now we have the PSL Datatrack system, the benefits are immeasurable."

    Martin Presley, Williams & Oakey Engineering Co Ltd

     
  • Operating More Effectively

    Status Boards give dynamic information and instruction to management and the shop floor"'Status boards' improved employee awareness enormously and resulted in an improved overall performance. Now everyone is operating more effectively."

    Nick Groom, MD, Qualiturn Products Ltd

     
  • Absolute peace of mind

    Production control for manufacturers maintaining or seeking ISO accreditation"Our PSL Datatrack system ensures our deliveries match our promises and the traceability of materials and documentation gives our customers absolute peace of mind."

    Ken Turner, Turner Precision Engineering (Aus) Pty Ltd

     
  • In a few clicks

    Fast, flexible search screens for rapid response to customer queries"PSL Datatrack delivers accurate information quickly. I can have a customer on the phone and in a few clicks, can solve his problem or mine."

    Roger Innes, INRO LLP

     
  • One of the Best Investments

    Datatrack provides effective, efficient control of all planning and production functions"We chose Datatrack as the software system to manage and bring together our production and administration systems. It's one of the best investments we have ever made."

    John Clark, Chartway

     
  • Communication is Excellent

    The latest version of PSL Datatrack has benefited from nearly 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry"For me, the system we chose is right, and PSL have developed their systems in line with our development of our business. The software is flexible enough to be tailored to suit our changing needs. Communication between our companies is excellent and they have proved themselves to have a good understanding of our business."

    Carl Baker, Brown & Holmes (Tamworth) Ltd

     
  • Status Boards are Key

    Dynamic status boards can be customised by PSL Datatrack to suit exact requirements"Key to success within the sub-contract industry is making components to the correct quality at the right time and a competitive price. PSL Datatrack has been, and continues to be, key in helping Qualiturn successfully manage these challenges."

    Nick Groom, Qualiturn Products Ltd

     
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