Precision machining company Whiteland Engineering has boosted productivity with the introduction of their self-designed ERP system, DataHub.
As a well-respected, long-standing machining specialist, Whiteland Engineering recognises the need to stay ahead of the technological curve. Established in 1956, Whiteland Engineering now has its third generation of the Whiteland family at the helm, and current managing director Neil Whiteland is no stranger to the benefits of ERP software. In fact, the company has been operating under the management of their own bespoke, custom-built ERP system for over twenty years, with Neil's own background lying firmly within the ERP/MRP sphere.
Although their previous ERP system worked well, it required modernisation to bring it up to speed with current demands. 'We decided to improve on what we had to make it more robust and more scalable,' explains Neil. 'We wanted to increase the functionality of the system, which meant redesigning it to incorporate more features and ultimately make it more reliable.'
'DataHub is unique, as it's designed for engineers, by engineers,'
As a result, DataHub was launched two years ago - the product of a collaboration between Neil's own blueprint and the work of an external software developer. Whereas Whiteland Engineering's previous system could accommodate just 15-20 users, DataHub caters for up to 1000. As a result, both customers and suppliers benefit from improved transparency, as they are able to track every stage of a job at a glance.
'DataHub is unique, as it's designed for engineers, by engineers,' says Neil. 'It's a very sophisticated system which is adaptable to almost any manufacturing business.
'It's helped us to reduce non-productive labour costs as without it, the business would certainly need more people.'
However, the benefits of DataHub extend way beyond cost savings for Whiteland Engineering. The system has also helped within numerous other areas of the business and improved its efficiency overall. Under DataHub's guidance, Whiteland Engineering are given increased insight to effectively manage their capacity; scheduling and planning are now performed with ease, meaning that the company is able to maximise the amount of jobs they complete.
The new system also offers Whiteland Engineering additional capabilities surrounding traceability. 'Traceability is key for our business,' explains technical manager Alan Gerken. 'Datahub ticks all of the boxes we require for quality - and more.'
'Datahub ticks all of the boxes we require for quality - and more.'
In addition to the implementation of DataHub, Whiteland Engineering have recently added two new machines to their portfolio. With a focus on precision, Whiteland Engineering already boast an impressive capacity list complete with 5 axis machining centres, as well as vertical machining centres with a bed size of 1500mm x 660mm, and lathes which can accommodate components of up to 1.5 metres in length. They also have an extensive network of third-party suppliers for processes such as EDM, plating, fabrication, gear cutting and treatments, as well as in-house assembly facilities, meaning that no job is too complex for Whiteland Engineering to undertake.
However, the introduction of their new machines - a Jones & Shipman cylindrical grinding machine and a Proturn lathe - have helped Whiteland Engineering to become more expand their reach as a business.
'We have a bigger version of the Proturn lathe, but our new, smaller version is designed to compliment what we can already offer,' Neil elaborates.
'We have a bigger version of the Proturn lathe, but our new, smaller version is designed to compliment what we can already offer.'
'It's a partial CNC machine,' adds Alan. 'It has the capabilities to operate as a CNC, or a manual machine, which means that we can be much more versatile when it comes to what we offer our customers - especially when it comes to one-off jobs that are more suited to a manual machine.'
Whiteland Engineering's new Jones & Shipman cylindrical grinding machine has also helped them to expand their business reach. 'It's a fully refurbished model which isn't available any longer, so it means we're able to provide our customers with a niche service.' says Neil.
With the help of new technology and an ever-expanding portfolio, the future certainly looks bright for Whiteland Engineering. The benefits of being a family-run business far exceed the personal service they offer their clients; it has also established them as an excellent employer that cares for their staff as well.
'Whiteland Engineering is a great company to work for,' Alan says. 'It's good to be treated as a person, instead of just a number.'
For more information on Whiteland Engineering's capabilities, please visit their website at www.whitelandengineering.co.uk, or call 01237 472 203.