Bluebell Opticom is a highly successful company that designs manufactures and distributes customised fibre optic transmission assemblies for the broadcast, satellite and telecommunications industry. The company relies on PSL Datatrack production management software for its production administration procedures. This underlines the versatility of the Datatrack system, which is used largely in the engineering sub-contract sector, but is wholly transferable into the electronics and other industries.
Working in a niche market, Bluebell's product range consists of four platforms and a range of over fifty configurable PCB card based electrical to optical converters. The company's production model is based on making assemblies for stock and then customising them to meet specific orders. This ability to customise has meant that its business administration and production management procedures are complex.
For many years the company relied on a manual administration system that included the use of spreadsheets to check and track bills of materials, quotations, stock, work in progress, deliveries and invoicing – in fact the entire production management process. However, with business on the increase and working with distributors worldwide, this approach became increasingly unsustainable for the company's small team.
A number of administration software systems were identified, but PSL Datatrack was already being used successfully by one of Bluebell's major sub-contractors. Based on this, and the support that PSL could offer locally in the UK, Bluebell took the decision to invest in Datatrack.
Once set up and configured to work with Bluebell's manufacturing principles, all the company's production procedures, particularly the creation of bills of materials and assemblies, have become much slicker with Datatrack. Quotations, Purchase Ordering, Stock Management and Sales Order Processing modules are all now used by the company. One of the major benefits has been the positive impact on Bluebell's business image as they can now issue their customers with order acknowledgements with accurate delivery dates. “This gives us a professional sheen that we did not have before,” says Paul McCann of Opticom.
The fact that PSL Datatrack is a modular system that could be built up was also valuable to Bluebell. It meant a lower initial entry cost and the flexibility to add more sophisticated reporting later as required.
PSL Datatrack has not changed the type of business Bluebell undertakes, but it does allow the company to carry out our existing business much more efficiently. “All software should work with the user rather than dictate how the user should work. With PSL Datatrack we have a system that works very much to our advantage,” says Paul McCann. “Although it took us a while to grasp the process flow of the software, once it clicked Bluebell staff were able to use it with confidence.”
There are now plans to extend the use of PSL Datatrack with more modules and Bluebell will also request more modules and specific management information reports to be written by PSL Datatrack.
“We are happy with PSL Datatrack and would recommend it to other SME’s. 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,” concludes Paul.