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.
Operating largely from paper-based manual processes, Redtronic was struggling to gauge the 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 Steve Redfern, Technical Director at Redtronic.
“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,” says Steve.
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.”
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-sized 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 ISV 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 Steve.
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.”
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 Steve. “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 are 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 Steve.
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 Steve.
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 Steve.
He adds that they believe they can improve the lead-time further still as they continue to embrace the Sicon system.
Richard 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.”
After go-live, Redtronic’s sales increased by 23% and turnover by 12% in the following 12-months.” Sage 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 Steve.
Sage has also played a key role in helping Redtronic win new business, securing 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 Steve.
It’s also helped provide added reassurance to existing customers. “Knowledge of all traceable stock in Sage200 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,” says Steve.
Asked what has impressed him the most about the software, Steve 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 Sage 200cloud due to the Sicon add-ons, which are ever growing due to additional development by Sicon.”
Steve 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.”
Manage your business and propel your growth to the next level with Sage 200cloud—now connected to Microsoft Office 365. Part of Sage Business Cloud.