With a heritage within the steel industry that spans more than a century, Carrs Tool Steels provides a range of conventional, special high-performance tool steels and aluminum and powder metallurgy products.
Mark Mullaly, systems manager at Carrs Tool Steels, explains: “We faced two critical issues: business processes that were mostly inside the head of our production manager and an inability to get an accurate picture of the business at any one time. This led to our realization that the business needed investment to grow.”
On top of the issues with their paper-based processes, Carrs kept significant inventory levels to negate customer service problems and inaccurate delivery dates. This also meant they needed help to track work that had taken place off-site or special services provided to suppliers.
Priority ERP enabled Carrs Tool Steels to make customizations easily and helped Carrs rapidly create new modules tailored to their business. Mark Mullaly, Systems Manager, Carrs Tool Steels, explains: “Compared to a lot of the competition, I found Priority so much easier to use and that I could understand it quicker.
While Medatech did an excellent job teaching me parts of the system, I did not have to become an ERP or Priority Software expert to get the most from our investment. This is important for two reasons: Firstly, the software has become more cost-effective. Secondly, I could implement the new software while maintaining ongoing operations.”
- As customer demands shifted, Carrs managed a higher volume of product queries. Rather than charge simply by weight, Carrs can now charge more accurately by the processing required.
- This led to the creation of a unique production route for the cutting and milling of each product at the quote stage. The simple customization of the ERP feeds into Priority to enable accurate, profitable pricing and reliable delivery dates while the sales order is processed. This improved information and service have been critical in helping Carrs offer added-value services and products. By offering ready-milled blocks machined on all six faces to engineering tolerances, Carrs has opened a lucrative and keen competitive advantage.
- On 23/03/20, Carrs had to think differently about how they did business. This ranged from working from home for the sales team to organizing zoom meetings and WhatsApp groups while managing new shift patterns, layoffs, and even key worker statuses.
The challenges of increased demand, stock availability, and cash flow followed. Following COVID and Brexit, Carrs has successfully navigated a challenging supply chain with a disjointed movement of goods, the introduction of tariffs, and quotas and certificates of origin.
Carrs used Priority ERP to help make the decisions and changes as required to survive. “At the start of March 2020, no one in the company other than me had remote access to Priority. Overnight we needed different on-site access for the production staff still on-site and remote access for office staff working from home, “Mullaly continues. “Technically, doing so was painless. We even found that we could successfully deploy Priority on Chromebooks alongside existing hardware. This helped lessen the risk and cost of enabling remote access to the system. Many staff had to cover functions they had previously had little or no experience of.”
“Priority has produced a sea of change in how profitable the company is. We continue to invest in not only our ERP but wider technologies such as handheld devices on the shop floor to reduce the time it takes to input into the system and improve our staff's productivity.”
Mark Mullaly, Systems Manager at Carrs Tool Steels