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Flowlens on taking lean principles into the digital space

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08 October 2021

MRP and CRM software experts Flowlens have recently supplied a solution to customer On-Systems, who design and manufacture power supply systems in the aerospace, defence and marine sectors. 

When Ray Dodd joined the team at On-Systems, the business had recently altered the way it operated and was looking to regroup to achieve its mid-term goals. 

Ray said: "When I first joined On-Systems it was evident that there were a lot of new processes, new staff, and there had been a lot of changes. The business was trying to regroup and refocus on what it wanted to be in three to five years’ time.”

One of these changes was the implementation of the Flowlens MRP system. Considering that Flowlens was a relatively new addition to the company, it was important to understand its capabilities and figure out how to maximise its potential benefit to the company.

Ray and his associates determined that if implemented to its full potential, Flowlens would help On-Systems achieve the company’s three strategic focus areas for the year: capability, business growth, and environmental awareness. In order to gain the most benefit from Flowlens, it needed to become the foundation to their workstream, from idea generation to customer satisfaction.

"Flowlens really is the groundwork and the foundation of how we manage every single workstream in the business from start to end," said Ray. 

One of the key challenges with implementing a company-wide system is team buy-in. When it came to team alignment, Ray focused on the principle of "benefits realisation". He spent time with individuals in various positions along the operational lifecycle to sell the benefits of Flowlens. In order for an MRP system to be effective, it needed to have a clear benefit and use case.

Ray said: "Every development, change or implentation within Flowlens has been embraced by the company and seen as a key step forward for us."

On-systems made use of the Flowlens form-creation features that helped integrate existing paper-based quality management documentation. All the while, it ensured that all the data from these forms could be easily accessed and parsed into useful business-wide metrics.

The data stored within the Flowlens MRP system was used to drive management meetings. It generates a real-time snapshot of the business’ goings-on and can be used to steer strategic decision making.

On a more granular level, Flowlens was able to manage the tactical day-to-day running of the business and allowed for real-time analytics. Managers could easily use that data to decide what the daily focus should be and help highlight any potential stumbling blocks.

Ray said: "At 9 o'clock every day we are using the performance data from Flowlens to determine what the focus needs to be today and whether we need to take any recovery actions.”

This was all done by leveraging On-Systems’ own data and presenting it in a format that strips away all the unnecessary information, displaying only what is important. At On-systems, that allowed Flowlens to act as a management tool for the entire lifecycle from sales through delivery.

The use of Flowlens has allowed On-Systems to collect operational data while also decluttering the collection process itself. Ray added: "Flowlens has enabled us to do a lean data-management cleansing activity which allowed us to take the noise out of the system.”

This meant that the data within the MRP system would be accurate and concise. That, in turn, allowed On-Systems to trust the data within Flowlens and to effectively use it to drive decision making. Some direct benefits of using Flowlens included improved supply chain governance; improved reaction times with customers; improved visibility; quicker quoting; and faster ISO audits.

With a customisable dashboard, Flowlens also enables On-Systems to track new business; effectively deliver on existing business; improve profitability; and improve supply chain responsiveness. Additionally, Flowlens also helped enable remote working to become much more efficient.

Flowlens is a powerful tool that can be tailored to fit any small-to-medium sized manufacturing business and is priced to be affordable to implement. 

On-Systems focus on customer value with lean digital systems
Flowlens on taking lean principles into the digital space