UK’s Small Manufacturers Need More Accessible Software to Survive, Says Consultant

The smart will survive along with the strong, says Sara Duff, Director of Smart Manufacture consultancy and UK Country Manager for MRPeasy manufacturing software. With a passion for helping small manufacturers to become more efficient, Sara and her team are working daily to make software more accessible for UK’s small manufacturers and distributors.

The smart will survive along with the strong

UK manufacturing is currently battling problems stemming from both national issues including the energy crisis and skills shortages, as well as global disruptions such as the reverberations of the COVID- 19 pandemic, raw material supply problems, and the war in Ukraine. Business costs for essentials like energy, materials, and logistics have skyrocketed and small manufacturers especially are finding these combined challenges increasingly difficult to manage.

In difficult times like those we are facing today, the old adage was that only the strong will survive. But today, the smart will, too. And right now, the smart are automating and digitising their businesses to cut costs, increase efficiencies and to get improved visibility over their operations to be better prepared to react to disruptions or spikes in demand, says Sara Duff, Director of Smart Manufacture consultancy and UK Country Manager for MRPeasy manufacturing software.

ERP does not have to be expensive and complex

Smart Manufacture specialises in helping manufacturing SMEs to drive improved operational efficiencies throughout their business by enabling them to streamline and automate their processes through a range of cloud-based platforms, including MRP software.

There has been much talk about the need for manufacturers to adopt digital technologies, much driven by government-backed programmes including the Made Smarter Programme. However, many leaders of SMEs still find technology intimidating, and consider it out of their reach both from a perspective of usability as well as affordability.

Sara strongly believes that implementing an MRP system can logically be considered as the first step on the ladder of the Industry 4.0 journey as it is often the catalyst for getting departments across the organisation to collaborate and to generate real-time information about what is happening across the business.

“It may sound like a lot of work and a lot of money, but today, implementing an ERP system does not have to be expensive and complex – and MRPeasy is a trailblazer in this regard,” Sara states.

MRPeasy is a cloud-based ERP/MRP software platform which has been designed specifically for small manufacturers, with comprehensive functionality covering production planning, inventory management, purchases, CRM, and finances. It also integrates with a number of mainstream third-party applications including Xero, QuickBooks, Pipedrive, Shopify and WooCommerce. When it comes to the depth of functionality, the ease of use, and affordability, MRPeasy really towers over other comparable solutions.

 

With initiatives like the nation-wide Made Smarter and Help to Grow initiatives, as well as through several regional funding programmes, the government is committed to helping to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies by SMEs.

No price hikes for existing customers

“When MRPeasy was developed, the core team settled on a couple of basic tenets,” says Helen Jakobson, MRPeasy’s Customer Success Manager for the UK market. “First, it needed to be easy to use even for people with very limited IT knowledge. Secondly, that it had to be cloud-based so that no on- premise servers and IT staff would be needed by the clients. And thirdly, that it would be affordable even for the smallest manufacturer. Today, we have over 1200 companies globally using our software to manage their day-to-day manufacturing operations, more than 20% of them in the UK.”

Unusually, at a time when all prices are soaring, MRPeasy stays true to their policy of not raising their subscription fees for existing customers.

“The price per user will stay the same as it was at the time the customer initially subscribed to MRPeasy,” Helen says.

Implementation without consultants is the norm

The ease of implementation has also become a key reason why many small manufacturers choose MRPeasy. For experienced production managers, the software is intuitively understandable, but even manufacturing novices can easily learn how to use it by diving into the wealth of support materials available on the website.

“Many companies can handle the implementation on their own,” Sara says. “But for those who are looking for a helping hand, there are several authorised consultancies like ourselves that can help them with ensuring their processes are optimised for the software and to support them on their implementation journey.

As a testament to the ease of implementation of the system, companies such as cleaning product manufacturer Splosh and battery management system manufacturer Brill Power have set up the software’s core functions in just one week, singlehandedly. Then, as the business and its needs grow over time, additional functionality can easily be rolled out.

“I worked previously with NetSuite, which was a behemoth and a quite difficult system to work with,” says Suzanne Boak, Production Manager of Splosh. “MRPeasy feels like a breeze, to be honest. I find it

intuitive and simple. You can look at it and feel that you know what’s going to come out of it. There’s no fear that you’re going to press something and the whole thing’s going to explode.”

MRPeasy is a simple yet powerful ERP/MRP system for small manufacturers and distributors. More information and a trial version are available at www.mrpeasy.com

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