Case Study - Redtronic
How Sage, together with Independent Software Vendor Sicon, enabled Yorkshire-based Redtronic to meet booming global demand for their visual and audible warning systems for emergency and safety services - through their Sicon-customised Sage200cloud software package.
Full narrative case study below the video.
The Full Case Study
Redtronic specialises in the manufacture of visual and audible warning systems for emergency and rescue services worldwide.
Founded in 1983, West Yorkshire-based Redtronic began life distributing sirens and auxiliary products for UK and local emergency services, gradually transitioning to designing and manufacturing its own-brand products. Today the company operates on a global scale, with distributors and resellers in over 42 countries, and a product range that includes digital control units, sirens, and high-intensity LED warning systems for all aspects of the emergency and automotive services.
The company’s mission is to provide exceptional quality UK-manufactured, visual and audible warning systems to emergency and rescue services worldwide, and to be a pioneer within the sector, designing innovative products which exceed customers‘ needs and expectations.
“We needed visibility of what was going on in each department, and to know our exact stock holding position at any one time”. Steve Redfern, Technical Director, Redtronic
Fork in the road
Operating largely from paper-based manual processes, Redtronic was struggling to gauge full visibility of its manufacturing operations.
“We were running our production planning via a manual T Card system, and were very much reliant on our production staff to tell us the state of play each day,” says Redfern.
“We needed visibility of what was going on in each department, and to know our exact stock holding position at any one time. We had a lot of wastage and were nowhere near where we wanted to be in terms of efficient stock holding capabilities,” he added.
As a UK manufacturer with ambitious growth plans and global customers, Redtronic realised it needed to upgrade its finance and accounting software.
“Sage 50 had been fine for general account maintenance, but we were at a fork in the road – we either added on a specific package like Sage Manufacturing or invest in a fully integrated finance and manufacturing system.”
Keeping it in the Sage family
Listening to Redtronic’s requirements, its Sage Business Partner introduced the business to the big brother of Sage 50 - Sage 200cloud Professional. Aimed at mid-size enterprises, Sage 200cloud enables companies to manage their accounts and customers, as well as manufacturing, supply chain, and business intelligence, with a solution that’s accessible 24/7, 365 days a year.
Although Sage 200cloud ticked a lot of boxes, it couldn’t provide all the manufacturing functionality Redtronic required, so an integrated solution from Sage Independent Software Vendor & Authorised Partner Sicon was suggested.
Sicon Manufacturing is a set of additional modules for Sage 200cloud to transform the Sage solution into an integrated manufacturing suite, working in conjunction with a company’s Stock, BOM, Sales and Purchase Order Processing.
“We felt Sage200 was the next natural progression for us, but we required some additional functionality. Sicon Manufacturing would give us that functionality and make us strong in the areas we were weak – namely material and resource planning (MRP) and works order processing,” explains Redfern.
Richard Youngman, Managing Director at Sicon, agrees: “We understood that because of the complexities of Redtronic’s operation and range of products, they had been struggling to keep on top of their MRP and works orders. Sicon Manufacturing would give them everything they needed.”
“The integration of Sicon within Sage200 has escalated our ability to scale the business in line with demand. We are becoming the company we always desired to be due to the enhancements and functionality”.
Steve Redfern, Technical Director, Redtronic
Smooth seamless integration
After using the same system for so many years, moving from Sage50 to Sage200 was a big leap for Redtronic, but one that has paid off in dividends, says Redfern.
“The integration of Sicon within Sage200 has escalated our ability to scale the business in line with demand. We are becoming the company we always desired to be due to the enhancements and functionality the Sicon add-ons offer us within Sage200,” says Redfern.
The Sicon Manufacturing system provides a range of additional modules for Sage 200cloud from MRP and works order processing to kitting and project costing, which integrate seamlessly with Sage200 cloud.
“It’s hard to tell where Sage ends and Sicon begins as everything is so seamless. A lot of other systems make you go to another software program to deal with works orders, BOM etc, whereas Sicon integrates everything within Sage which keeps operations extremely efficient,” explains Redfern.
Transformed works order process
A huge transformation has been in the works order processing, which Redfern says has been “completely revolutionised”. Previously, Redtronic had weekly production planning meetings just to ensure works orders were raised to the correct quantities to justify production; now they are up and running within minutes.
“To create a new stock item, we can easily have stock capability from raw material and create a works order pick sheet within minutes. From order, we can get a product into production within a matter of 20 minutes due to the speed our system now works to,” says Redfern.
The Sicon Works Order Processing module allows Redtronic to pick raw materials, issue them to a ‘job’ (works order) and then book that ‘job’ in order to create stock within the warehouse. “It's given us a much clearer insight of work in progress, and reduced losses in production. It’s also helped us gain visibility of what we're actually holding as raw materials, and how we can manipulate production if required.”
An example of such manipulation is that if Redtronic has something in production and suddenly receives a rush order, they can more easily stop production and retarget that material elsewhere. “Previously, once a product was in production, you couldn't intercept it,” says Redfern.
“We used to offer customers a six week lead time, and now we've reduced it down to a five day lead time thanks to Sicon”.
Steve Redfern, Technical Director, Redtronic
Real-time material and resource planning
A key area Redtronic was looking to improve was its material and resource planning (MRP). The Sicon MRP module scours information within live sales orders, live purchase orders and correlates with stock levels (reorders levels and buffer levels) in order to ‘suggest’ recommendations of works orders and purchase orders.
“The Sicon MRP basically tells us what we need to make each day and why,” says Redfern. “It controls labour and machine time within the works order and costs it appropriately to the nominal ledger.”
The MRP has given Redtronic the foresight to look into current buffer levels, reorder levels and ensure that they're correct. “If they're not, the MRP allows us to tweak it and we can get the system working correctly as opposed to before, we were just scraping around trying to meet targets,” says Redfern.
Vastly improved lead times
The biggest efficiency gain however, has been a huge reduction in Redtronic’s product lead times.
Previously, running its production planning through a manual T Card system limited the amount of flex and adaptability Redtronic had over product lead times. “One T Card might be for a simple part, and the next one for 100 complicated parts, but because we worked in the order of the T Cards, that was the order they were produced in. This meant we couldn’t adapt to meet the most pressing orders, and our lead times reflected that,” says Redfern.
The Sicon integration with Sage200 has enabled Redtronic to let the system control every aspect of the manufacturing process and its production has now become the efficient machine the directors always wanted it to be.
“We used to offer customers a six week lead time, and now we've reduced it down to a five day lead time thanks to Sicon,” says Redfern.
He adds that they believe they can improve the lead-time further still as they continue to embrace the Sicon system.
Youngman agrees: “Sicon gives Redtronic full visibility of every aspect of their manufacturing process, without Steve and his team having to physically go and poke around in each department.”
“The system has allowed us to react quicker to demand, and deal with any enquiry using full knowledge of all assets within the system. Having true, valid foresight of stock levels, BOM build capabilities, and works order flow has made us extremely reactive to market demands”.
Steve Redfern, Technical Director, Redtronic
Following go-live with the Sicon and Sage200 software, Redtronic says its volume of sales increased 23% and turnover by 12% in the following 12-month period.
“The system has allowed us to react quicker to demand, and deal with any enquiry using full knowledge of all assets within the system. Having true, valid foresight of stock levels, BOM build capabilities, and works order flow has made us extremely reactive to market demands,” reveals Redfern.
The software has also played a key role in helping Redtronic win new business. The manufacturer secured the coveted AA (automobile association) supply tender contract due to its ability to ensure its product met customer demand. “The system allowed us to a run a fluid JIT production and meet customer delivery demands as required, without impacting other customers,” says Redfern.
It’s also helped provide added reassurance to existing customers. “Knowledge of all traceable stock within the Sage200 system gives us full project visibility from cradle to grave, and in turn, gives our customers the assurance that we can react quickly to potential problems or queries regarding products,” says Redfern.
Perfect solution for a manufacturing business
Asked what has impressed him the most about the software, Redfern says the adaptability and the fact that the software can grow with you. “It's not a fixed system, you can do virtually anything with Sage200 cloud due to the Sicon add-ons, which are ever growing due to additional development by Sicon.”
Redfern says it is an excellent system and offers a manufacturing company the control they need in order to outline the competences and productivity in the company.
“It is undoubtedly easier to undertake every facet of the business. We are now proud to be able to react quickly to customer demands and ultimately, it has professionalised our entire operation.”
Sicon’s Youngman adds: “Redtronic are a great client to work with because Steve likes to push boundaries, which is exactly the type of customer we like, as we are always trying to develop and make our product better.”
Product lead times reduced from six weeks to five days
Works order planning revolutionised
Gained full visibility of stock levels and reduced wastage
Quicker response to customer demands
Helped broaden customer pool and win new business
Sales increased 23% and turnover by 12%
West Yorkshire, UK
Sage 200cloud Professional
Sicon – a Sage Independent Software Vendor Authorised Partner