The subsequent aim was to reduce the shortlist even further but the EFACS ERP system from Exel Computer Systems, the UK’s largest author of integrated business solutions for manufacturers, “stood head and shoulders above the rest”, says Mr Spittle, and it was instantly chosen as the preferred system.
“Everyone knew EFACS was the one we wanted,” he says, “because it was way ahead of the others in terms of how it fitted our business and also how it could be manipulated to fit our business with the use of bespoke modules, bespoke reports and so on. We were also very impressed with the people at Exel. They were very knowledgeable about our industry sector and totally understood our specific needs.”
One of the major features of the EFACS system was this ability to tailor the software to meet the particular needs and demands of the Coram business.
“I’d say that 90% of EFACS as it came out of the box was useful and relevant to how we run our business here,” says Mr Spittle. “However, obviously a system’s never going to be a 100% match but the beauty was that the people from EFACS helped us along the way to get that perfect fit. So we have always had the choice that we could either change our business processes slightly to meet EFACS or alternatively change the software to match the way we operate. Having this flexibility is a major attraction of the system.”
Coram was very pleased with the way the installation and implementation of EFACS went and felt that the system fitted the business so well that there wasn’t any real need to make further changes.
Currently, Coram is using around 70% of the EFACS system – all the MRP modules, the MPS modules, backflushing, sales order processing, purchase order processing, the accountancy system and the EDI modules. There are parts that will probably never be used, says Ian Spittle, but only because EFACS is designed for use by a wide variety of businesses and Coram’s simply doesn’t match those criteria.
However, Coram is continually looking at how to improve the quality of service that it offers to its customers and in December 2003 the company decided to use EFACS to cut the delivery times of goods to builders’ merchants.
An EDI link was set up between EFACS and a remote warehouse in Stafford where key products are stored. The warehouse is run by a third party haulage company which doesn’t have access to any EFACS modules but when orders come into Bridgnorth – and meet the dual criteria of being key products and for a certain type of customer – the details are fired off to the warehouse as PDF files using the EFACS Mailshot routine and the despatch notes and delivery labels are printed out directly in the warehouse.