CBELogoPrivately-owned engineering firm CBE+ was formed when the owners of a Sheffield engineering firm sold the business, and then acquired two separate Chesterfield-based engineering firms – a precision engineering firm that produced complex components for some of the most demanding industries in the world, and a metal treatments and finishing business.

“The challenge was that the two businesses used different manufacturing and finance systems,” explains Lindsay Atkins, CBE+ Group Operations Director. “In one business we had one manufacturing system linked to QuickBooks for finance, and in the other business we had a different manufacturing system linked to Sage for finance.”

And with four systems and two separate databases, she explains, obtaining a group-wide view of the combined business was very difficult.

“We were spending all our time amalgamating data, rather than analysing it and working with it,” sums up Atkins. “Plus, people in the two businesses knew their way around one set of systems, but struggled to use both.”

Moreover, she adds, the level of embedded functionality in the two manufacturing systems left something to be desired. Capacity planning, for instance, was generally carried out on spreadsheets, while a CRM capability was completely lacking.

What to do? The answer, she explains, was obvious: migrate away from the present systems, and move to one highly-capable ERP system that would embrace both businesses, and so provide the group-wide visibility, control and coordination that was presently lacking.

And which highly-capable ERP system, in particular? Once again, relates Atkins, the answer was obvious: Exel Computer Systems’ EFACS E/8 ERP system.

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