- Goodridge manufactures high performance pipes and hoses for the motorsport, automotive, aerospace and military industries in the UK and worldwide
- It has invested £400,000 in Geac Enterprise Solutions' ERP System21 incorporating advanced order entry, finance, scheduling, purchasing, warehousing and sales analysis modules
- Benefits include:

reducing stock levels
greater efficiencies
cost savings
accountability
better service to customers
streamlined purchasing
complex demands from customers - easier to respond to
integrating international business
ability to diversify into new markets

- Future plans to include advanced manufacturing processes, EDI for large customers, e-commerce

History

Goodridge was established in 1974 by Stuart Goodridge, who was then a professional racing driver in Canada. He found that he wasn't able to get the parts needed for his racing cars in Canada, so his mother shipped the parts he needed across to him from the UK. When Stuart retired from motor racing, he returned to the UK and continued to make the pipes and hoses in his mother's kitchen, before expanding into premises in Totnes, Devon, where six people were employed. At this stage, the business was focused solely on the motorsport industry.

In 1989, the business relocated to a purpose built factory in Exeter. It also set up a small division at Silverstone race track. Goodridge has since opened factories in France, Holland, Spain, Japan and has acquired a company in the US. With a total of 150 employees worldwide, 60 of which are in the UK, Goodridge predicts a turnover of £20 million this year, £4 million more than last year.

Customers

Goodridge now manufactures parts for Rolls Royce, TVR, Mercedes, Harley Davidson, Jaguar, Polaris - which makes jet skis - and the military and aerospace industries. It also supplies the main teams in Formula One, F3000, McLaren F1 Supercars and the Jaguar XJ220.

The fact that Goodridge works in such niche markets means that it has largely avoided the manufacturing sector's demise over the last few years. A series of challenges in the 1990s however, proved to be major turning points in the company's success.

Challenges

Despite enormous success in the mid 1990s Goodridge found that the seasonal nature of the motorsport industry made it difficult to drive the business forward on a more consistent basis. It became clear that Goodridge needed to diversify into wider markets.

But Goodridge's diversification plan created several challenges. Firstly, breaking into original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers such as Rolls-Royce was difficult. Secondly, once Goodridge had won OEM contracts significant research and development meant that projects often extended up to five years. Goodridge could spend three years on a project before it actually produced anything.

Having acquired a US company in 1992, breaking into the US market provided Goodridge with an international challenge. The US market is renowned for wanting to 'buy American'. This meant that branding had to be US-led, so Goodridge USA was formed, with its headquarters in California.

IT

Goodridge had no IT systems until 1992. At this time, expansion meant that it needed to implement a system to maintain control over the increasing number of orders processed each day. Goodridge bought bespoke software from Castle Business Systems, a small, software company in the UK. Goodridge used this system to process sales orders in its UK operations only and it handled that process efficiently for five years.

But by 1997, the business had continued to grow rapidly. The US division of Goodridge was taking off and huge volumes of components were being processed through the factory. It became clear that the existing system in the UK and a similar system in the US would not be able to support Goodridge's growth for very much longer.

The catalyst that inspired the decision to invest in a new IT system was, however, a policy change within the company. In order to reduce finished goods stock levels, Goodridge decided to buy in components and assemble them specifically to meet customer orders, rather than building large stocks of components. Goodridge also installed a machine shop to build prototypes very quickly, but Castle's system could not support this 'manufacture from scratch' policy. A new IT system became an urgent priority for the business.

Goodridge set up a project team, which consisted of the IT manager, general manager, financial director and managing director, Stuart Goodridge. The team undertook a thorough assessment of suppliers. This included Castle Business Systems, several smaller independent companies and global ERP players - JD Edwards, SAP, Baan, PeopleSoft, Oracle and Geac Enterprise Solutions.

Goodridge's decision to invest in Geac Enterprise Solutions' System21 enterprise resource planning (ERP) software was based on its cost effectiveness, operating platform compatibility and software functionality. The system's scalability, multiple currency and language capabilities together with worldwide support capabilities, proved decisive for Goodridge's expansion plans.

Chris Hellier, IT manager at Goodridge comments:
"After two years of research we wanted a system that would achieve our immediate objectives for business growth, but also provide us with a foundation to build in additional requirements further down the line. Our international expansion is a key example of this. We were extremely confident that System21 would provide us with an enormous amount of flexibility to accommodate further changes to the business."

Implementation

Goodridge signed the contract with Geac Enterprise Solutions in June 1997. Its implementation of System21 incorporating all advanced order entry, finance, customer scheduling, purchasing, warehousing and sales analysis modules, went live on 2nd January 1998.

Chris Hellier comments:
"The system went live after just six months without any delays or hitches. From the go-live date we embraced the overwhelming task of data entry, setting up inventory and manufacturing processes. One of the major challenges we faced was hundreds of parts which had no part numbers, so this had to be addressed at the onset. Geac Enterprise Solutions' project team advised on the best way to structure our manufacturing processes to ensure that we got the best results from System21."

Business Processes

Another challenge was that Goodridge decided to significantly change the way in which the company worked in order to adapt to the new software.

Chris Hellier continues:
"A lack of disciplined processes, prior to the introduction of the software, meant that System21 would be a bit of a culture shock to the workforce. We made the decision to embrace this wholeheartedly and change the way in which we had always worked to achieve maximum results from the new processes that we set up.

Benefits

Goodridge currently receives 200-300 orders per day in the UK. The majority of orders received are shipped out on the same day as they are received and currently, all orders are received on paper. An order is entered onto System21 and scheduled, and then components purchasing is synchronised. Suppliers can therefore supply the right quantities of components on time.

Orders are received and processed in the stores and then parts are produced and assembled in the workshop. The stores then process these orders and the parts are produced, assembled and despatched on the same day. Materials requirements planning (MRP) is run three times a week to keep pace with the huge demand and large volumes being processed though the factory.

Chris Hellier comments:
"Just four months after the go-live date, I went home one day and realised that I had received no questions from staff about the system, no hiccups in my own use of the system and no reports of dispatch notes in the wrong place. It was at that point that I began to sleep at night!"

Chris Hellier continues:
"The benefits from System21 are even greater than we initially predicted. The business is operating with greater efficiency. Purchasing processes have been synchronised with our future plans. Stock levels have been further reduced and we are able to service our customers more accurately. We can also meet the demands of complicated schedules without having to manually calculate them. Once an order is entered onto System21, everything else is triggered automatically. In fact, our customers grade us on our performance on a monthly basis and since Goodridge has been up and running with System21, we have scored consistent grade 'A's from many of our customers."

He continues:
"We have a massive advantage over our competitors as a result of the way in which System21 has transformed the business. Using internet-based remote order entry, salespeople can check stock, process orders on customer sites and ensure that the order is underway while in front of the customer. This is vital in the manufacturing industry when timing is so critical. We have also reaped immense cost savings as a result of these combined benefits."

International benefits

The system has also enabled Goodridge to link up with and support its international businesses. Goodridge USA went live in 1999, one year after Goodridge in the UK. The system was almost a duplicate of the one set up in the UK, except slight modifications were required in the System21 finance module to accommodate differences in accounting practices.

Chris Hellier comments:
"Because of the time difference between Goodridge UK and Goodridge USA, only 45 user licences are required. When the USA logs on in the morning, the UK logs off for the day!"

France went live a few months after the USA. Like the USA implementation, the UK system was duplicated, except Geac Enterprise Solutions' French language module was purchased. This module enables both Goodridge France and Goodridge UK to use the system in their respective languages.

The Future

Chris Hellier continues:
"From an international perspective, we are looking to implement System21 in Germany in 2001. We have recently taken on a worldwide purchasing manager who will produce huge purchasing benefits, now that most of our international businesses are linked.

"We have plans to build on the software itself. Our goal was always to transform the company's way of working through System21. Now that this has become second nature to our workforce, we have a platform on which to further streamline our business processes.

Over the next two years, Goodridge plans to invest in Geac Enterprise Solutions' e-commerce solutions so that our customers can then order from us over the web. We also intend to introduce advanced manufacturing procedures such as manufacturing resource planning (MRP II) and advanced costing exercises. Over the next two years, we will also be implementing EDI systems with all of our large customers to replace the paper order process that is currently used."

Chris Hellier concludes:
"A combination of the experience and expertise of Geac Enterprise Solutions' team and the excellence of the System21 product itself has meant that we have always had complete confidence in this solution. It really has transformed the business and proved to be a shrewd investment. Our continuous growth means that we are constantly expanding and our IT must therefore reflect this. Geac Enterprise Solutions offers a reassuring amount of stability both in its products and as an international company. In hindsight, there is nothing that I would have changed about this project. It seems rare for IT projects to run completely smoothly, but this one has been the exception to the rule."