- Digital Strategy
- Case Studies
- About Us
Blackwood Engineering supply finished counterweights to the construction, agricultural, access and automotive sectors in the UK and throughout Europe.
The company customises low-cost engineered castings sourced in China, holding the unfinished castings in stock in the UK for finishing and delivery against its customer’s call-off schedules.
The processes involved in converting raw castings into completed line-side delivered components for assembly into customer’s products include project management; engineering; quality control; import, export and distribution; inventory management and finishing operations that include a gloss paint line to accommodate products ranging from a few kilos to six tonnes.
As a key level 2/3 supplier in the OEM’s supply chain, their ability to maintain supply of components in a just in time environment is dependent on a state of the art information and communications system.
At the end of 2008 the global recession significantly impacted the business as the construction industry collapsed and the demand for plant and equipment plummeted. Reducing the demand on Blackwood Engineering and forcing the business to restructure and reduce its resources.
More recently the company has seen some stabilisation in demand as the inventory in the supply chain is being restocked in line with the lower levels of demand. However, with excess capacity the market is more competitive and growth will depend on the business ability to be proactive in its existing and targeted markets.
The client objective was to become more competitive and enabled to guarantee the highest level of customer service.
The existing business processes and systems consisted of standalone finance and stock control systems and numerous Microsoft spreadsheets for planning, procurement and the operational processes. Supplier and customer communication used facsimile, email and the telephone.
Internal, supplier and customer communications and supporting information were constraining performance and the ability to take corrective actions where needed.
The major customer created demand with a contract and daily updates on requirements for finished components for delivery within 24 hours. The process was further complicated by a dependence on the availability of specialist pallets, provided by the customer.
It was agreed that the existing systems needed to be replaced with a fully-integrated Enterprise Resource Planning system and new processes defined for Customer Services, Procurement, Operations and Distribution.
The recommended functionality included Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Inventory and Procurement Management, Operations and Distribution Planning, plus a reporting and communications functionality that would provide the status information and accessibility for users, customers and suppliers in the chain.
For the selection and implementation of the new SSL WinMan system Principality Consulting recommended a programme of work that involved training and development of the users to ensure that full benefits were achieved.
Completed prior to the full impact of the 2009 recession that significantly reduced the level of demand in their market, the new system enabled the company to cut costs in line with demand and retain their UK market share.
As the market recovered, Blackwood Engineering were able to take advantage of their lower cost base and capability to double their turnover and expand – adding a second operation in Europe.