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We upgraded our software capabilities to gain real-time insights

Michael Rowark, Blends operations director
Michael Rowark spoke to suppliers and customers to find an enterprise resource planning solution

Name: Blends
Location: Liverpool
Employee count: 60
Founded in: 1998
Tip: “If you are thinking of switching to real-time manufacturing reporting, do it now.”

Problem

When flavour suppliers Blends ran into a number of consecutive system issues, the company recognised that something had to change. The firm was overly reliant on lengthy procedures and spreadsheets, with data being processed manually and prone to error. Since the different systems weren’t integrated, it was hard to get an accurate, up-to-date overview of what was happening across the company.

Solution

Operations director Michael Rowark started looking at the software capabilities the company needed to grow.

One of the main requirements was the ability to capture real-time data. With their current supplier, Blends was always one step behind the actual production on the factory floor. As a result, they had grown to distrust the data provided by the software – ultimately resulting in staff bypassing the software for manual methods.

Michael approached several companies in the industry to discuss what they could offer. He also spoke to Blends’ customers and suppliers to discuss their software systems and get recommendations. He then collated their specific requirements and presented these to the firm’s existing software supplier.

Unfortunately, the supplier wasn’t in a position to invest in the capabilities Blends needed, so they ultimately decided to switch software. The company opted for an enterprise resource planning system that would replace their separate systems and keep production and supply chain reporting all in one place. Most importantly, it meant the leadership team could monitor analytics in real-time. 

Results

Michael believes the new software will reduce costs and save time across the business. The system has gone down particularly well with staff, who see the introduction of the technology as a chance for the business and themselves to develop.

“We’d been acutely aware of the limitations within our previous software, which we had used since 2006. The new software allows us to grow, improve profit margins and excel in areas that we’ve been inconsistent in,” Michael said.

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