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Reabrook

Reabrook is a chemical manufacturer that produces aerosol and liquid products. They became an Exel customer back in 2010, and our EFACS E/8 software provided them with an integrated solution that still continues to unleash the potential of their business. Read the full case study below.

The Client

In late 2009, Derbyshire-based Reabrook Ltd recognised that its legacy manufacturing planning system had reached the end of the road. Long since out of support – prior to the Millennium, and the Y2K bug, Reabrook had actually acquired the source code – the system could no longer cope with the fast-growing Reabrook’s requirements, recalls Martin Gallimore, the company’s IT Manager.

The problem? Finding a replacement system that would offer the same business functionality as the existing system and its ecosystem of spreadsheets and manual systems that supported it in critical areas.

Chemicals manufacturer Reabrook, explains Gallimore, operates as two businesses, each with complex competencies in aerosol and liquid-filling at their core.

“We’re not an ordinary manufacturer,” he observes. “And in part, that’s why we had stayed with the previous system so long.”

Challenge

An independently-owned business, thanks to a management buyout in 2006, Reabrook had formerly been part of a 35-company mini-conglomerate where a wide range of ERP systems were in use.

This had left Reabrook’s management with a reasonable insight into the ERP marketplace, and the company was already aware in broad terms of the strengths of Exel Computer Systems’ EFACS E/8 ERP offering. Consequently, it was decided that Reabrook should take a closer look at what EFACS E/8 might be able to do for it.

And fairly quickly, relates Gallimore, the conclusion was reached that Exel’s EFACS E/8 solution offered both the functionality and flexibility that the business was looking for.

“No system is ever going to be a perfect fit, especially for a manufacturing business like ours. So while we were looking for functionality that was a reasonable fit, it was also important that the eventual solution offered tools to enable us to customise it better to our needs, without re-writing the underlying code. We wanted a standard solution that we could tweak, rather than a re-written solution that would be unique to us.”

In the end, the decision to go with EFACS E/8 wasn’t a difficult one, and in early 2010, Reabrook signed-up as an Exel customer. The planned go live date: early February 2011.

Why Exel? “Not only was Exel fairly local to us, but we liked the fact that Exel was the developer of the system, and wasn’t just re-selling a solution that had been conceived and created thousands of miles away,” explains Gallimore. “All of the businesses that we knew which relied on EFACS E/8 seemed happy with it, and it seemed very likely that it would also be a good ‘fit’ for us, as well.”

Implementation

With the decision made, and the contract signed, Reabrook launched upon a six-month programme of planning and implementation preparation.

The basic plan: first of all, replicate the functionality provided by the existing legacy system, together with the spreadsheets and paper-based systems that supported it. Then, build out from there, aiming to exploit the full power of EFACS E/8 and its customisation tools.

In retrospect, says Gallimore, Reabrook probably underestimated the amount of data cleaning and data formatting that was involved in order to get EFACS E/8 properly populated with accurate and relevant data.

“Just as it was becoming clear quite how much work we had to do, the bad winter of 2010 hit us, and we lost time due to snow and staff absences,” he recalls. “In the end, the prudent course of action was to delay the go live date until April, in order to make sure that everything was correct, and properly in place.”

Accordingly, Reabrook duly went live with EFACS E/8 on April 3rd 2011.

Business Benefits

It’s fair to say, says Gallimore, that the sought-for benefits have been delivered in full. The use of spreadsheets and paper-based systems has sharply declined, and Reabrook’s operations are no longer constrained by an elderly legacy-era system dating from the early 1990s.

Instead of separate ‘islands of information’, he enthuses, Reabrook now has a totally integrated system, with information flowing freely around the business.

Powerfully, too, Reabrook has been able to customise and extend the system, just as had been hoped. Thanks to EFACS E/8’s Extendable Applications, Gallimore and his team have been able to develop several new applications, providing important functionality that is specific to Reabrook’s particular industry niche. Moreover, he adds, the purchase approval system has been extended and customised in order to better reflect the purchase approval process that is in place at Reabrook.

“Overall, the scale of the transformation has been enormous,” sums up Gallimore. “We’ve gone from a system that was holding us back, to one that is actively unlocking new opportunities. And in terms of ROI, you just can’t put a value on that.”

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