After using a legacy system for 22 years and embarking on an ambitious growth strategy in 2019, Cambridge Rapid turned to Fitfactory’s Tricorn system to manage their operations. After going live in under a month and recognising up to 86% savings in admin costs, Cambridge Rapid are well on their way to achieve their 10% year-on-year growth plan. We caught up with Managing Director Esther Cornell, to discuss how she’s found working with Fitfactory.
An Introduction to Cambridge Rapid
Cambridge Rapid were formed in 1987 and operate mainly in the sheet metal industry, as well as being the leading supplier of around 90% of the world’s furnace barriers. They have a turnover of £1.2 million and 17 staff pre-COVID-19.
In 2019, Cambridge Rapid began a growth programme with an aim to grow by 10% year-on-year. This involved a full review of their business process and capabilities. Resulting in moving 10 miles down road from Essex to Suffolk, investing £500,000 in machinery and reviewing their digital capabilities.
Prior to Fitfactory
Before Cambridge Rapid implemented Fitfactory’s system, they had been using their legacy system since 1997. However, when starting their growth initiative, in 2019, the business looked for a more modern approach, switching to a cloud-based system. However, they did not have a good experience and within a year were looking to move again. This was when they discovered Fitfactory.
As Esther explained, “We were unable to complete our investment/growth programme unless we did something quickly. We became frustrated with the fixed nature of the first system. It didn’t move on, it stayed the same from when we initially purchased it.
The cloud-system wasn’t a good fit at all. They try and be too clever and focus on finance and numbers side of things. But we’re engineers so we need solutions for engineers rather than accountants! The shop floor staff couldn’t use it, so we would need a lot of middle management to explain the instructions. It had some good features, but it just wasn’t for us. We liked the fact that Fitfactory was more suitable for engineers to understand and use.”
Esther then continued to say, “We then chose Fitfactory because of the continuous development of the system. In the 18 month’s we’ve had Tricorn, there’s been a really significant update, and we know there’s a lot more in the pipeline.”
Ease of Implementation
The transition of systems happened very quickly. Cambridge Rapid stopped using the cloud-based system and began using Tricorn a week and a half later. When discussing the implementation, Esther mentioned, “The changeover went really well, we were live within about a month. The integration was seamless.”
Esther continued. “We were really impressed with the ease of use. You simply type in a part number and the information is there which is highly useful and practical for shop floor staff when accessing information. Tricorn is a more adaptable and stable system and we like that it is moving on, unlike our previous systems.”
Supporting Cambridge’s Rapid growth
Fitfactory have supported Cambridge Rapid’s growth for the past 18 months. As Esther explained, “We have been able to improve productivity on operations, such as raising invoices and reduced staff costs for undertaking these things.”
“Our Office Manager does invoicing within one hour a day now. Whereas, we had a full-time member of staff working on invoices and similar tasks. Tricorn has enabled us to reduce both the costs and time it takes to do these tasks.” We did the maths and calculated this as a saving of 32.5 hours/week, or 83%!
Esther continued, “Our aim is to not have loads of middle management, we want people on the shopfloor and some support staff. We want our digital improvement to remove the non-productive tasks that do not generate much profit. Being able to teach the shopfloor staff how to use the system is a real benefit.”
By implementing Tricorn, Cambridge Rapid now “have work instructions for shopfloor staff and have trained them to access the system if they can’t find a material and to see if it’s on order.” This allowed them to remove a Production Control role within the business, and upskill the shopfloor staff.
What’s next for Cambridge Rapid?
Primarily supplying into the Aerospace and Automotive sector and being the largest provider of furnace barriers in the UK, Cambridge Rapid was heavily impacted by the COIVD-19 pandemic.
The company is close to returning to pre-COVID levels, and Esther emphasised the need to stabilise after the pandemic “We want to grow in a stable manner, so we do it without increasing all our operations costs. As we are growing, our MRP system is going to be of up-most importance.”
By the end of next year, Cambridge Rapid hope to be at pre-COVID-19 levels. They have a target to expand at least 10% every year and “to grow profitably and safely.”
Esther concluded, “We’ve used 3 systems in the past 3 years, including one for 22 years, and we can definitely say Tricorn is the best we’ve used.
We can see it is constantly evolving which is vital as we look to grow. Since we have had it, there has been one major upgrade which has been exceptionally useful. Constantly evolving software is much better than software that doesn’t progress or takes 3 or 4 years to have a major upgrade. We believe that Fitfactory’s software will support our ambitious growth plans and I look forward to using the future developments of the system.”
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