Reputable jewellery manufacturer strikes gold with Sage ERP 1000
The company relied upon manual records and experienced particular problems with the traceability of raw materials coming into the business. The method of dealing with incoming orders involved a lot of paperwork with the danger of costly mistakes being made.
As the company prided itself on its fast order turnaround, its inability to track jobs and have up to the minute stock control made this area of the business a very stressful area to manage. Furthermore, the absence of relevant workshop data meant that production planning was very difficult. As a result of these problems, Charles Green’s management team decided to look to the IT software market to try and resolve its issues.
Charles Green & Sons, based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, has been a traditional manufacturer of quality jewellery since 1824. This fifth generation family owned and managed business now employs 36 staff and is one of the world’s leading suppliers of exclusive rings and bracelets.
Specialising in the production of high quality gold, platinum and precious stones the company produces some 28,000 pieces of made to order jewellery every year, 20% of which is exported to the USA. The remainder is sold within the UK market to such companies as Asprey, Garrard and Mappin & Webb. The company is synonymous with exclusive design and quality and has twice secured the UK jewellery manufacturer of the year in recent years.
Despite having invested in a wide range of software packages Charles Green & Sons had experienced very little success with them. Most recently the company had installed the American owned Max financials and distribution system in an attempt to streamline its processes, but could still not find a suitable manufacturing solution that fitted the business.
The company relied upon manual records and experienced particular problems with the traceability of raw materials coming into the business and their subsequent usage. The method of dealing with incoming orders involved a lot of paperwork with the danger of costly mistakes being made. As the company prided itself on its fast order turnaround, its inability to track jobs and have up to the minute stock control made this area of the business a very stressful area to manage. Furthermore, the absence of relevant workshop data meant that production planning was very difficult. As a result of these problems, Charles Green’s management team decided to look to the IT software market to try and resolve its issues.
Richard Sutton, Managing Director at Charles Green comments, “Specifically, we needed a system that would allow us to cope more efficiently with the large number of orders we process each year. We wanted product photographs, together with detailed routings and BOMs on our job cards. We needed workshop data to help improve our efficiency; data which could be used to improve work flow and to track against targets. Our stock is complex, the value being subject to rapidly changing exchange rates and precious metal prices. So stock control, which was still a manual system, was a vital area for us to tighten up on.”
The company looked to three products, from which it would make its final decision; the incumbent Max system upgrade, Infor Swan manufacturing and Sage ERP 1000. Following a review, Charles Green & Sons decided to opt for a Sage ERP 1000 system from CPiO as it felt that the software had a good functional fit and offered an excellent forms designer, which gave the company the flexibility to manage industry terminology and variations in raw materials.
Having decided on the core financial modules CPiO recommended a solution that included the Version One automated fax and forms solution, an enhanced order processing module and the Sage Enquiries module.
CPiO was selected as it could offer an end-to-end solution to Charles Green, covering both software and hardware maintenance and had formed a strong alliance with the company’s management team through the bid process, displaying excellent understanding of their needs.
Charles Green & Son quickly began to benefit from the newly implemented Sage ERP 1000 solution. By introducing Enhanced Order Processing orders could be quickly taken over the telephone and input into a template, calling upon online stock files complete with colour photographs. This saved sales staff considerable time and effort in identifying the correct product codes and recording variations in style, stone or metal. A bill of materials was produced and a works order printed directly from the system, creating a full colour document with instructions, materials and a photograph for workshop staff to follow.
Charles Green believes that it has finally found the product and the partner with which the company can work moving forward. It is experiencing a greater degree of control over its production and is giving management vital visibility of orders, tracing them from the point of sale through the workshop to completion and dispatch. The company also runs a robust stock control system that can quickly and easily manage the variations in product, giving the company greater flexibility and an insight into stock costs and buyer trends.
“A key benefit for us has been being able to track of a job from start to finish, allowing us to see the status of a job in real-time, such as if the material has been ordered, or if an item is in production or in polishing. This has given us greater visibility and enabled us to meet our production deadlines and customers’ expectations and in doing so maintain and improve our award winning levels of service.”
In addition to this, Charles Green & Son is very happy with the output from the system including automatically produced job cards, invoices, statements and purchase orders. Sage ERP 1000 was also integrated into the company’s existing Cognos Business Intelligence software, and alongside easy drill through functionality from the Sage Enquiries, management has an easy, effective and timely reporting solution on which to make decisions – of vital importance in the ever-changing jewellery industry.
Charles Green & Sons now feels that it has the IT solution in place to carry it forward over the coming years. In such a competitive market place the company had to be confident that it would gain real business benefit. With Sage ERP 1000 it is now assured of improved stock control, greater communication and financials savings. To ensure that Charles Green & Son does get the most from its investment the company has now employed its own IT Manager who will work with CPiO during a period of system consolidation, identifying where the system can be developed to give even greater benefits at the front end through the use of CRM and throughout production via shop floor data collection. “CPiO met all of our requirements and we are extremely confident that we will continue to receive a good level of support and develop a long-standing relationship.”