Established 13 years ago, Irish Pressings is a major supplier to the automotive industry, working with Tier 1 and 2 manufacturers and high-profile end-customers such as Honda, Rolls Royce, BMW and Land Rover. The County Donegal-based firm develops press tools, automotive components, prototypes and welded assemblies, shipping them across the UK and Europe.

Having started with three members of staff, the firm’s workforce numbers around 70 today. Providing a ‘one-stop-shop’ service, customers send over their drawings, and parts are then reviewed for feasibility. The company can carry out full simulation and feasibility studies, and press tool design and full manufacture of press tools is carried out in-house. Its capabilities include waterjet and

flame cutting, 2D and 3D machining, grinding, welding and wire erosion, as well as part testing including weld testing and simulation.

Irish Pressings needed a flexible solution that would allow it to manage a growing number of tasks and processes, helping to improve operational efficiency and ensure high levels of accuracy. The company has been using Access FactoryMaster MRP since 2010, and it has since seen significant commercial benefits.

What was needed

Irish Pressings had grown to such an extent that the team was juggling numerous spreadsheets for sales, purchasing, production and HR tasks. With so many systems to update, senior managers were acutely aware that daily processes had become time-consuming and carried the risk of human error.

Investing in new software always requires careful consideration, and Irish Pressings evaluated a number of options before choosing FactoryMaster MRP. Explaining more, Karen Campbell, sales and logistics manager, said: “It’s always hard to know if a product is going to be suitable, so it was great to get a demo from Access Group to show how it would work for us. We looked at a number of different solutions but FactoryMaster MRP was the best from a manufacturing perspective. It is a really versatile system, with so many modules that we can add as the business grows.”

FactoryMaster MRP in action

With FactoryMaster MRP in place, Irish Pressings has consolidated all its data in one place and has achieved full visibility over every process.

Rather than relying on spreadsheets, which are time-consuming to update and potentially inaccurate, the team currently uses the software to:

  • Align sales orders with production
  • Import customer orders
  • Create works orders for the factory floor
  • Order materials (Material Requirements Planning – MRP)
  • Create delivery notes
  • Ensure quality control, including checking calibration logs and checking deliveries
  • Demonstrate adherence with quality and compliance.

Describing how the software works day-to-day, Karen said: “There’s an employee section where registered users can access the information they need, for example, works order details, and we have a full view of what’s happening. It also helps us to show compliance; for example, an ISO customer wants to see if we have the ability to trace back parts. FactoryMaster MRP allows us to identify potentially defective components using the delivery note number, right back to what materials were used. It’s a complete closed loop.”

There have also been clear cost-saving benefits because the team is able to import the customer’s forecast to order precisely the right materials, therefore reducing waste.

Outcome

Before launching FactoryMaster MRP, Irish Pressings had no rigorous system in place to capture data and drive efficiencies, nor measure performance, as Karen said: "It is difficult to quantify the time and cost savings we have seen because we weren't able to measure them in the way that we can now. Just the fact that we now have accurate data on which to make decisions means that we can operate a much leaner business.

"Another area that is hard to measure – but crucial to a business like ours – is around traceability. By ensuring all parts meet quality and legal standards when they leave our site, we are able to build and maintain a reputation that wins us repeat and new business."

To take one example, the business can save money by ordering 8.5 tonnes of materials, instead of estimating and ordering 10. There have also been less-tangible, but no less important, benefits including, general saving time, reducing the risk of error and safeguarding the company’s reputation.

Last, but certainly not least, Karen added that FactoryMaster MRP has proved extremely easy for the workforce to use: “People have found it really straightforward to use – for me, it’s the ‘Favourites’ key and the fact that you can use ‘CTRL’ and ‘F’ keys to search for information. It doesn’t take long for anyone to get to grips with the system, which is a big bonus.”

Working with Access Group

As a long-standing customer of Access Group, Karen is keen to share her positive experiences with others in the industry: “The support is fantastic. It’s quick and easy to contact the team, who will resolve any issue you might have. They always have plenty of tips to help you get the most out of the software too – you’re always learning with FactoryMaster.

“It’s made a real difference to our working lives, particularly for those who remember what it was like before. The software has made audits so much easier because you can go into the system and see what part or material was used straight away. You can give customers and certifiers the information they need, rather than having to dig through folders.”