In this exclusive BEC interview, the fifth in the series, the company speaks with Richard Beckwith, Business Development Analyst at Baxi Heating. Based in Preston, Lancashire and part of BDR Thermea Group, Baxi is a market leader in smart heating and hot water solutions.
Richard has worked at Baxi for over 20 years and has held the role of Business Development Analyst since 2007.
In this interview, Richard discusses how he and his team have worked with BEC over the years to develop an eSmart SFDC solution within their manufacturing and warehousing facility and most recently to assist with the data capture and automation element of their M3 ERP upgrade.
1. What are your main areas of responsibility within Baxi Heating?
My main responsibility as Business Development Analyst at Baxi Heating is the management of technical solutions within our operational and logistical processes as well as being the interface between our M3 ERP system and data capture solution providers such as BEC.
2. How long have you been a BEC customer?
We have been a BEC customer since 2003.
3. How did you first come into contact with BEC?
We first came into contact with BEC through Infor (or Intentia as it was at the time). We approached them during our search for a suitable data collection solution provider and they recommended BEC to us. We have been working closely with them ever since.
4. Which BEC solution are you currently using?
We are currently using BEC’s eSmart SFDC (Shop Floor Data Capture) solution within a number of areas throughout our operation, including assembly, warehousing and distribution. The original application was developed in 2003 and since then, the solution has been redeveloped and uplifted to work with the most recent on-premise version of our M3 ERP system. BEC were also instrumental in assisting us with the data capture and automation element of our recent M3 ERP upgrade.
5. How is the BEC solution used within your warehousing facility?
The BEC solution controls the sequence of product assembly whilst interfacing with various pieces of testing equipment, label printers, static barcode scanners and robot palletisers. It also handles our store-based activities which include goods received, goods put-away and line feeding.
6. What type of solution were you using before you deployed your BEC solution?
Before the BEC solution was deployed we were using pen and paper, so all processes were completely manual with no barcoding or automation whatsoever. The solution has developed substantially over the last 17 years from very simple materials handling to the above-mentioned processes, including production control.
7. What have been the main business benefits you have experienced/achieved as a result of your BEC eSmart SFDC software solution?
We have realised a substantial number of benefits as a result of our BEC solution, including better stock control and stock rotation and, more recently, we have noticed a significant improvement in quality control during the assembly process as products are confirmed to have been tested and correctly packaged with the appropriate kits and literature.
8. What ERP system are you currently using?
We have just recently upgraded our ERP software from Movex to Infor M3.
9. Why did you choose BEC to work with you on your warehouse automation project?
We initially chose to work with BEC as they were and still are a recognised Infor partner. Having been initially recommended by Infor, they have since proven to be a highly adaptable and responsive company to work with.
11. What are BEC's specific USPs?
BEC offer a number of USPs, however most valuable to us has been their depth of knowledge and adaptability in working with us to develop the solution as the business has changed and grown over the years.
12. Do you have any plans to extend your BEC solution further or do you have any new applications which you are currently considering?
We are currently looking to expand the BEC solution into our stainless-steel manufacturing facility, as well as migrating the web service architecture and Android-based front end which will enable us to use more modern devices with a more current interface. We are also hoping to enhance the solution with OPC Unified Architecture functionality which will allow us to integrate the industrial control systems into the BEC application.
13. What are the main benefits you have found working with BEC?
As mentioned previously, BEC are extremely knowledgeable and adaptable and the system in its continuing development has been able to offer numerous benefits including better system security and improved line control scheduling, as well as the ability to view and manage completed or in-progress bills of materials thanks to the addition of ‘Build Sequence Management’ and ‘Production Management’ plugins which were added to the management console. BEC were also instrumental in ensuring that the move to our new M3 ERP platform was a seamless process from a data capture and automation perspective.
14. How would you rate your experience with BEC?
Our experience with BEC has always been nothing short of first class. We have really enjoyed working so closely with BEC to achieve all of our data capture and automation goals and the length of our working relationship is testament to that. We very much look forward to continuing to work with BEC in the future.