Seeing the sum of its parts

When Myriad Engineering wanted better control of its pricing and production process, the precision small-parts machining company chose Abel® ERP to integrate – with real-time visibility – all the critical information it needed to stay competitive.

Print Case Study

When Myriad Engineering wanted better control of its pricing and production process, the precision small-parts machining company chose Abel® to integrate – with real-time visibility – all the critical information it needed to stay competitive.

Managing Director Mark Wilson knows Myriad Engineering owes its success to three things: precision, pricing and performance. Since it began operations in Wellington more than 40 years ago, Myriad Engineering has manufactured more than 10 million components for industries ranging from marine, transport and agriculture to construction and commercial furniture.

Most of the parts are small enough to hold in your hand. But each component – from yacht bearings to aluminum screws for flagpoles and bent steel for mountain buggies – needs to be turned, milled, welded and laser-cut to exacting specifications, sometimes as precise as one-hundredth of a millimeter.

Like many longstanding small to mid-sized businesses Myriad Engineering has grown from a company that had no computers or invoicing systems, and communicated with its customers by phone and fax.

Since buying the company 10 years ago, Mark has expanded the business by growing the customer base, improving customer service and investing in more high-tech tools and machines. In recent years, as the contract machining engineering industry has become more competitive and price-driven, Mark and his staff realized their accounting software and separate manufacturing system could not deliver the efficiencies they needed.

“Information in our old system wasn’t easy to find and was difficult to update,” Mark says. “If we wanted to analyze any information we had to do it manually on spreadsheets, which was very time-consuming and not always accurate.”

We needed integrated manufacturing, financial and communication systems to remain viable and competitive.

In 2014, after reviewing various business management systems, Myriad Engineering chose Abel® ERP, which was configured to meet the company’s specific needs.

“Part of the challenge was finding a business management system that not only met our needs, but also fitted our budget, now and into the future,” Mark says. “We looked at several products and chose Abel because it provided a functionally rich solution that was realistically priced.”

Mark says Abel is already delivering a “myriad” of benefits and he is adopting more of Abel’s features to move the business forward. One is the ability to monitor integrated KPI data in real-time, including cash flow and other financials, completed quotes, orders received and delivery performance. Another benefit, Mark says, is the improved efficiency of having integrated production and scheduling data.

“We have six key machines that need to be monitored and managed. Production on our CNC lathes, for example, used to get bottlenecked and that put a lot of pressure on our production team. Now, we can estimate and monitor the progress of jobs more precisely. That makes it a lot easier to schedule new work as soon as it comes in and gives our customers a more accurate delivery date.”

Mark says Abels ERP Consultants successfully configured and implemented Abel on time to meet Myriad Engineering’s needs, including one request he thought might be too challenging. Because many orders are one-off, quick-turnaround requests that arrive by email with bespoke drawings, the production team needs to refer to the details of these drawings throughout the process.

“We needed these electronic drawings to be linked to individual job codes, so anyone could access them at any time,” he says. “I was impressed that Abel could achieve this. Now if someone needs to reference the design at any stage in production, they can easily see it or print a copy.”

Real-time visibility means real-time responses to enquiries, which has improved Myriad Engineering’s customer service.

“Abel provides us with a real-time visibility and traceability over our entire operation. This enables us to set clear expectations and deliverables to our customers.”

“Abel has improved all of our communications,” Mark says. “Our information is traceable and easily accessible across the entire business. Having visibility means that when a customer calls to check the status of a job, we can enquire by order number and click through to update them while they’re still on the phone.”

A single integrated system has also given Myriad Engineering the precision it wanted for costings and quotations. Mark and his team can now more easily compare estimated costs with actual costs (stock, materials, machine setup and usage, and manpower), which are accumulated into job-coded Works in Progress. Moving from an average costing to a standard costing system makes it easier to see where the business is succeeding and helps it to stay competitive.

“We put a lot of thought into this before implementation,” Marks says. “In the old system we had no integrated data and didn’t have variance issues because they didn’t post to our financials. Thanks to Abel, we are more aware of our costs, which means we can better control them, provide more accurate quotes, and see where we are making a profit – or not making a profit !.”

By giving more people easy access to integrated data, Abel has made it easier for Mark to delegate, enabling him to focus more on customers and new business.

“Our industry is very competitive,” he says. “So it’s essential for me to spend more time building relationships with customers and prospects. Abel has given me the time and confidence to do that. One company looking to outsource its engineering told me they were very impressed with the professionalism of our proposal, from the traceability of our orders to the quality of our submission, which we emailed directly from our Abel system.”