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A Cut Above

In order to satisfy its Japanese parent company's compliance demands, UK manufacturer Universal Drilling & Cutting Equipment had to find a new ERP system to match strict international demands. What they got was so much more.

In 30 years, Universal Drilling & Cutting Equipmenthas grown to become one of the world's largest manufacturers of broaching hole cutters and electro-magnetic drilling machines, selling more than 600 portable drilling machines every month, and 30,000 drill bits. Universal's success and reputation pitched it into the spotlight of global tooling and machinery giant Nitto Kohki, which bought the business in 2002.

Universal's decision to invest in an advanced ERP system was accelerated at the beginning of 2011 when its Japanese parent insisted on a new system, under the strict reporting and accounting governance set out by JaSOX laws (the Japanese equivalent of Sarbanes Oxley) enforced by the Japanese stock exchange.

Withits new Microsoft Dynamics NAV R2system (recently upgraded to NAV 2013) from Azzure IT, Universal has not only been able to meet these strict financial reporting requirements, but streamline its ICT infrastructure by managing all activities - from purchase order, through works order and sales order, right through to accounts.

Already, the benefits are rolling in, as accountant Steve Bracey describes: "The ability to trace information has been vastly improved. There are many tasks that used to take us a long time to check manually and Dynamics NAV now manages all those automatically." By way of example, he says the system matches inventory and invoicing to ensure goods received matches goods invoiced. "Checking items were accounted for in the right period used to take us at least half a day each month."

Dynamics NAV has also transformed month-end reporting for Universal. Bracey says it has saved his team a further two to three days' work each month.

As a UK manufacturer, Universal's success depends on its ability to flex production and offer fast lead times. "We are now able to react much more swiftly to market demand and match our manufacturing capability to that," Bracey said.

Commenting further, Bracey said a key requirement in the implementation was the ability to link Universal's manufacturing base with its three overseas satellite sites, which had previously been disjointed. "Now, in real time, we can see their stock and plan production from here. That enables us to respond to customer demand much more effectively without holding surplus stock at any point in the chain."

"We looked at several systems,"Bracey adds. "But Microsoft Dynamics NAV was the only solution that came close to meeting all of our needs. Crucially, we needed a system with multi-lingual capabilities and Dynamics NAV offered that out of the box."

Bracey is quick to credit Azzure IT's refreshing approach: "Azzure identified and documented our requirements before ensuring the solution did exactly what we needed it to do. They are happy to be as involved as you want them to be. What's more, they have trained us to do tasks so we can be more effective. I am confident the system is very stable and we have a Microsoft partner who gives us continuity for the future."

"We are now able to react much more swiftly to market demand and match our manufacturing capability to that." - Steve Bracey, Universal Drilling & Cutting Equipment

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