When David Hawes led a management buy-out of Carlton Taylor Industries (CTI), he had in mind considerable savings to be made by integrating financial and manufacturing systems. The company has so far achieved a 30% saving in financial administration by eliminating duplication, as well as better addressing its customer service.
The Christchurch-based company was formed 50 years ago to build line taps, a component for joining electrical lines. It was also a sheet metal company and at one stage manufactured lamps and cookers.
It became part of the Hamer group of companies supplying the electrical and electronics industries, as well as making top-of-the-range furniture by dye casting.
General manager Hawes says the management buy-out took place last October.
“There were three manufacturing companies under Hamer, which we’ve now consolidated. A group of four of us bought the business. We all still work here,” he says.
Hawes wanted to widen the offerings into other market segments. One was agriculture, where CTI is now producing dye casts for wire strainers. “We expanded into a wider range of verticals.”
Today up to 40% of its revenue comes from direct exports to Australia, the US, Malaysia, Bahrain and the Bahamas. It retains a warehouse operation in Sydney, set up under Hamer.
“When we joined the three businesses, one of the companies had a manufacturing system that wasn’t tied into the financials,” Hawes says. “We wanted to get it all into one system.
“I’d seen an operation that used the Syteline ERP system and I was also familiar with other ERP systems. I wanted something that was proven.”
Syteline is a US-produced ERP system built for medium-sized manufacturers.
CTI didn’t go to full tender. Rather, it spent around four months looking at five different ERP systems.
Hawes says he hired an internal project manager and a local company, EMDA, for support. The Syte system took six months to implement.
“We’ve overlaid Syte on our manufacturing system and identified the changes we needed to make,” he says.
“We’ve already achieved a 30% saving in financial administration because of the lack of duplication.”
Staff numbers in that area have been reduced from three to one.
“From a planning perspective, we now hold stock on a just-in-time basis. We supply directly into the production line, 100% as our customers want.
“The ERP system has allowed us to identify areas for business improvement.”
CTI addresses a $10 million market, with 10 major customers providing 70% of the company’s turnover. It also has mid-range and small customers, including a lot of prototype work for electronics companies, Hawes says.