Connecting business through automation

How automation can connect your business

 In our blog posts we have previously talked about the different uses and benefits of automation in a variety of industries; however, we are firm believers in the power of showing as well as telling. With that in mind, we sat down with Shawn Dilley, Quality and Food Safety Manager from Endeavour Specialty Chemicals, to hear about his experiences.

Endeavour Specialty Chemicals (ESC) is a company based in Northamptonshire which manufactures High Impact Aroma Chemical (HIAC) flavour ingredients that are used in flavour formulations for the food and beverage industry and has been a customer of Solweb for around 10 years.

Shawn told us, “We manufacture and supply hundreds of HIAC products and all of them have to be tested according to strict specifications that make them suitable for use food applications, and this generates a lot of analytical data that needs to be administered. We used to have numerous systems that we had developed ourselves over time, such as databases for the quality testing of products, managing different product specifications, and client information. These required a high level of manual data entry, were very time consuming to maintain, and of course frequently prone to errors”.

“Creating the Certificates of Analysis to send to our customers to support the products despatched each day used to be a huge task and could take half a day for Quality Control to complete. We wanted to develop a better solution that would save QC time and effort that could then be put to better use.”

After ESC installed 123insight ERP / MRP Manufacturing Software, Solweb was asked to develop a database-driven application to integrate with and work alongside the software and consolidate all of the different satellite systems that were being used.

Solweb created the QCDB system (Quality Control Database) for Endeavour Specialty Chemicals.  In addition to addressing their original requirement of a consolidated system that integrated with 123insight, it was then further developed to provide greater automation and efficiency to the company.

The QCDB system now carries out a range of functions that have made communications better and processes more effective, such as:

  • communicating batch test results in the form of Certificates of Analysis and revised specifications to customers automatically by email
  • moving stock across the system and linking to the dispatch team enabling them to print approval status labels for the materials based on the test results entered by QC
  • enabling visibility of product test results and specification changes across the company via the QCDB Notification Window.

Shawn explained, “The difference for our staff in using these systems is huge, and I’d estimate that it saves around one full-time employee in terms of the hours we no longer have to spend on manual processes. We employ many specialist staff to work in our labs and previously they had to take on responsibility for some administrative tasks to ensure we could manage our databases, but now they are able to focus on the jobs they are qualified for.

“The automatic email function is a god-send and provides clients with a Certificate of Analysis upon distribution so that when they receive their products, they already have all the information they need. We used to have people manually entering the information to create the approval status labels which was incredibly time-consuming and prone to typographical errors, but all of that happens automatically now.”

ESC is a great example of the type of company that Solweb works with and provides tailored systems for on a daily basis. There are a number of products on the market that you can buy off the shelf to automate different areas of business, but none of them will fit with your existing workflows. We build your system from scratch, ensuring it meets every one of your objectives and aligns perfectly with the way you work.

When we asked Shawn about how a personalised system has worked for him, he said, “The QCDB system is completely bespoke. When we first started working with Solweb they took time to learn about each of our processes and what we wanted to achieve, before creating a product that integrated quickly and seamlessly. It’s central to our operation and it’s been an important factor in enabling the business to grow over the last 10 years.

“I have a named contact and I can call anytime with questions or issues, and the service is always fantastic. Any time we have had a problem – which isn’t often – it’s resolved very quickly and we don’t suffer any disruption in operations. Over time the system has been improved and upgraded to meet our changing needs, and I honestly couldn’t recommend the team enough.”

Well, that’s given us all a boost! If you are interested in finding out how a bespoke Solweb system can change your business, get in touch today.

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