FuseMetrix SaaS Proves Bespoke Manufacturing Can Be Systemised
Hypnos is more than 100 years old and has held a Royal Warrant since 1929. It’s won many awards, including Bed Manufacturer of the Year and The Queen’s Award for Enterprise and for International Trade. In 2008, its IT infrastructure came under scrutiny: it had become unreliable, costly to run and required too many workarounds. Moving to FuseMetrix reduced IT risk and forced the business to systemise its bespoke manufacturing processes. Four years on, turnover had grown by £15,000,000.
Customer benefits at a glance
Turnover grew from £12,000,000 to £27,000,000 in four years
Slack manual capacity was quickly absorbed by rapid business growth
Eliminated the need to manually create orders and bills of materials
Systemised the manufacture of bespoke products
Increased information accuracy and transparency triggered gains in operational efficiency
Flattened IT costs
Continual access to the most up-to-date software versions
No internal IT staff requirement
The business was no longer responsible for maintaining its IT infrastructure
No upfront licence fees or reliance on third-party technical services
24/7 technical support
The contract manufacturing division of Hypnos ran on an on-site data centre which had become costly to maintain, was running out of capacity, and had become unreliable. Employees were frustrated, and this had started to impact data quality.
“Although replacing our IT infrastructure would increase speed, reliability and capacity, it wouldn’t move the business any further forward. We didn’t want to house the new infrastructure on our premises and run it ourselves any more.
“We looked around for options which met our immediate requirements and offered new functionality that would help develop our operation,”
explained Bob Eastoe, Chief Operating Officer.
Bespoke manufacturing carries a large amount of administration. At the time, bills of materials were being manually created, which hindered business development. For example, providing customers with options in specifying divan bases meant 172,000 product permutations, and would have meant creating 172,000 bills of materials, which would take three years to set up.
Hypnos needed technology that would overcome these problems without demanding huge up-front licence fees and third-party configurators.
Hypnos had been looking at large solution providers for the answer, but was concerned about the risk of lack of ownership over problems (vendors relied on third-party configuration services to make their products fit requirements). Also, traditional solutions generally relied on knitting technologies together, which inhibits resolving technical faults concerning business processes that run across more than one application (e.g. CRM, finance, stock control, warehouse and fleet management).
Through word of mouth Bob came across FuseMetrix which had been used by others for 10 years and overcame all the aforementioned problems. It offered a hosted manufacturing business management platform with all the functionality needed to run a business, other than payroll.
“After watching a FuseMetrix demo, it was obvious that it could handle bespoke manufacturing,”
The FuseMetrix functionality most used by the contracting division of Hypnos is:
Sales order management
Manufacturing (for bespoke products)
Warehousing and transport management.
Rather than paying substantial software licence fees before use, the FuseMetrix model is a flat monthly payment based on the number of users. FuseMetrix’s configuration and technical support teams are in-house so there is no third-party involvement.
“We believe we’ve reduced risk because it’s effectively been transferred to the FuseMetrix Group as a business. We don’t need to house and maintain any IT infrastructure other than the devices used to log in.
“Our largest risk was maintaining connectivity as we weren’t on fibre, so we added a second broadband feed into the factory,”
FuseMetrix has scaled up with Hypnos’s business growth, yet IT costs have remained on a flat, per user basis. Although FuseMetrix dramatically reduced Hypnos’s IT and admin burden, Hypnos’s growth rate was healthy enough to redeploy, and sometimes retrain, staff in new disciplines.
The impact on the business wasn’t restricted to improving IT speed, capacity and reliability; it reached right into the heart of the business, streamlining processes.
Moving to FuseMetrix meant that Hypnos had to systemise bed manufacturing for the first time, so some employees had to start using technology throughout their working day. Also, being an acclaimed first-class handmade bed and upholstery business presents challenges when systemising.
However, FuseMetrix systemised processes, enabling Hypnos to capture real quantities of materials used to produce different products. In doing this, senior managers at Hypnos realised that FuseMetrix’s reporting on overnight batch processing was more accessible than previous reports had been. This presented an opportunity for them to adjust values and processes accordingly.
“FuseMetrix shone a light on the business, enabling us to make labour and material recoveries while improving the consistency of our already high quality standards,”
In 2011 Hypnos’s contract division’s annual revenue was circa £12,000,000. In four years it had grown to £27,000,000 using the same platform, with the same IT costs and a similar head count.
“We have a leading-edge platform that has the capabilities we need immediately and additional new functionality to adopt at a manageable rate, to progress the business.
“For example, it provides us with tools to communicate with stakeholders, including customers, in a way that no other bed manufacturer is doing. This model will morph over the next 10 years because FuseMetrix will stay ahead of the wave.
“We will never again be in an operation entrenched by its IT – and employing IT staff to “keep the lights on” is now a thing of the past,”