With over 50 years of experience, Guttridge is a flourishing company that is globally respected for delivering well-engineered, reliable materials handling solutions that continue to anticipate dramatically changing industrial needs.
Supplying everything from single machines to fully integrated handling solutions, they pride themselves on offering durable equipment that can stand the trials and tribulations of everyday life in industrial manufacturing.
Guttridge owe a lot of their success to their ability to design and build customised bulk handling solutions for specific use cases.
The right technology
With this focus on bespoke builds comes a requirement for powerful and flexible technology to ensure that production and the wider business runs efficiently and without fuss.
Guttridge realised the power that Epicor ERP could provide in underpinning their business operations a long time ago.
Steven Shearer, IT Manager at Guttridge explains: “We’ve been with Epicor for the best part of a decade. We started out on Epicor Vantage 8 and as we’ve grown and scaled over the years, so has our use of Epicor.
“We run end-to-end Epicor from shipping and receiving, inventory management, sales, engineering, and financials. In fact, the only two modules we use third party tools for are payroll and service.”
After sitting on Epicor 9 as a platform for some time, the business was pushing the boundaries of what was possible with the software. Server performance was maxed using Fusion-io cards, and the business had completed a server virtualisation project to improve performance, scalability and resilience. All of the business’ reports had been rewritten in SQL Services Reporting Services (SSRS). Despite all this, and a modest 40 concurrent users, performance wasn’t up to Steven’s exacting standards.
He explains: “We were getting the best performance we could out of Epicor 9. But we saw the power of Epicor 10 and were switched on by even better levels of speed and stability, all with less resources required. Crucially, Epicor 10 boasted a cleaner architecture based on the Microsoft stack – removing the progress layer which could occasionally slow down the system.”
With a focus on the future, Guttridge began the next phase of their systems journey by embarking on an upgrade project to go from Epicor 9 to Epicor 10.
This would be no mean feat owing to an environment that had been heavily customised to meet the needs of a a high end bespoke manufacturer.
Steven explains: “Our sales module had a heavy configurator customisation, and there were also tweaks on the sales dashboard. Customisations gave us the best blend of a robust backend with a front end that suit the flow of our users.”
Guttridge went live with their upgrade project in May last year. As is typical with any major system upgrade, there were some challenges along the way.
Steven comments: “We managed to get there with the technology after a few headaches and sleepless nights. Despite getting to the version of the software we wanted, we weren’t realising the benefits we thought we would.
“We had no knowledge management process to deal with staff turnover, which in turn was beginning to have an impact on user productivity. Crucial knowhow around system use had been lost and ways of working that weren’t best practice began to rear their head. In the worst cases functional knowledge was 3 or 4 times removed.
“We were suffering with people not knowing what to do and it was hamstringing us from being able to push on and realise the benefits. This is when we realised we needed fresh help from a third party.”
Guttridge had always had third party support, but after their previous incumbent was acquired and some of the key personnel left to pursue other opportunities, the door was opened for Clear Business Outcome to step in.
Guttridge had previously had some engagement with Clear Business Outcome. Since the initial project, Clear Business Outcome had bolstered their roster of senior consultants with some of very best in the industry. Many of these individuals had an intricate working knowledge of Guttridge’s environment and customisations, so the time had come to reinvigorate the partnership.
After some small scale support and consultancy projects, a pathway to a more significant training and adoption programme.
Steven explains: “We knew that users across the business in different departments weren’t getting the most from our shiny new system. We worked with Clear Business Outcome to identity areas of functional best practice, then built a bespoke departmental specific training and adoption programme that would see every single member of the team given specific guidance and support to make them more productive in their role.”
“Everyone bought in – even the Managing Director received training. We left no stone unturned. Staff felt much clearer about how Epicor could be used in an effective and efficient way and there was a significant upturn in the efficiency of our operations across the board.”
Following the adoption programme, Clear Business Outcome now provide a full second line support contract helping to ensure that the Epicor system runs like clockwork and keeps users productive.
To the future
With the right system in place and more confident users across the business, attention now turns to the future.
Guttridge is using a newfound stability and resilience in their architecture to begin a process of unstitching some legacy customisations that are no longer required.
Steven expands: “We want to return back to something that bears more in common with the out of the box Epicor 10 experience. This will shorten our time to market for upgrade projects or system enhancements and reduce the complexity of supporting our environment going into the future. We’re relooking at the business processes across the board.”
From a systems perspective, it’s an exciting time to consider the future roadmap. With connectivity between Epicor and the time and attendance system in the pipeline, in addition to potentially syncing up Epicor and Autodesk for the tightest possible look at bill of materials and job costing, integration to achieve further efficiencies is hot on the agenda.
Steven comments: “This is about us being as lean as possible to remain competitive in an increasingly competitive market. We know further improvements in integration and automation will lead to smarter ways of working, which in turn will make us even more competitive in the global market.”
Why Clear Business Outcome?
For Steven, the reasons to use Clear Business Outcome for Epicor consultancy, training and support are clear.
“Clear Business Outcome have done an amazing job. I am a big fan of the team, the support and everything they have done for Guttridge.
“Our people are now using Epicor in way that’s optimised in line with our business process and our infrastructure runs smoothly in the background. Clear Business Outcome provide us with technical peace of mind and functional excellence across our business.
“Guttridge’s training and adoption programme ran extremely smoothly because Clear Business Outcome supported us every step of the way. Our oil tanker has turned and now we are able to pick up the pace.
“Clear Business Outcome have the best Epicor talent in the country. Their people have incredible knowledge and are courteous and honest in a reassuringly consistent way. I would recommend them to anyone.”