As the company grew, QHI Group made a move to Sage 200 to overcome the challenge managing the business with spreadsheets and inadequate systems. With a Sage 200 Manufacturing component, QHI Group streamlined their production processes, reducing operational costs through improved planning and automation of purchase and works orders.

In summary, Sage 200 Manufacturing has enabled QHi-Group to:

  • Enable the company to successfully expand and diversify, especially during recent restructuring
  • Cut operational costs through improved planning & automation, scheduling work to meet demands
  • Ensure precision costing by assigning labour and machine time for each assembly process
  • Streamline the supply chain, improve productivity and meet delivery promises
  • Improve production control with easier tracking of stock and deliveries

A need for a new platform for smart manufacturing

QHi-Group underwent a company-wide restructure, now comprised of two companies, each with its distinct markets (railway track lubricators and thermal & energy monitoring), the move to Sage 200 Manufacturing has enabled them to work with a more diverse range of industries.

Naturally, it was important the company’s back-end applications evolved with them. In the early days, Sage 50 coupled with a simple Excel order processing system had been sufficient. But as the company grew the hunt was on for something more sophisticated. In 2009 Sage MMS was introduced followed by Sage 200, ultimately with the Sage 200 Manufacturing component.

Ann Duggan is QHi’s Finance and Administration Manager. She says the company had been exploring the idea of a manufacturing solution to work with its Sage software for some time. “In fact at one stage we’d actually gone ahead with a module. It wasn’t a Sage product and in the event it didn’t live up to expectations, it never got off the ground.”

Back in those days Ann says the company dealt with Sage direct. “But we decided it would be simpler to bring in a third party supplier who could look at our processes and recommend a tailored solution that could grow with us. We also wanted fast, dependable support. Sage is good but it’s a huge organisation and it’s not always easy to get answers quickly. So Sage suggested we approach Xperience Group and we’ve been with them ever since.”

Reliable support

Xperience has been handling the company’s Sage requirements ever since, assisting with upgrades and ensuring the current solution delivers absolute control at every stage of the manufacturing process - from planning, materials and costs to tracking orders and collecting payments.

“Obviously the more sophisticated the system, the more support you need and the faster you need it,” says Ann. “With Xperience I know that if there’s ever an issue, I can just get on the phone and someone will speak to me right away. Generally any issues can be sorted out very quickly.”

Xperience also worked with the company during their re-structuring. “It was a case of coming in and changing the data over from the old company to the two new ones, then cleansing out anything that was no longer relevant. Xperience did all of this for us and provided training where necessary. I’m delighted to say that everything has been running without a hitch.”

Manufacturing processes under control

From Ann’s perspective, adding Manufacturing to the Sage 200 Suite was a great improvement. “Suddenly we found ourselves being able to do a whole range of things we couldn’t do before,” she explains. “Stock was easier to trace. Production processes were streamlined and operational costs reduced. Basically it’s tightened up everything and made it far more accountable.

“Benefits-wise, I think it’s one of those things where we’ve kind of grown with it. We’ve got more out of Sage 200 as we’ve learned more about it - and obviously Xperience has been a tremendous help. Whenever there was something new, they’d train me up and I’d go back and pass it on to the team. It’s always been very straightforward.”

In conclusion? “Well, our Sage solutions have evolved with us – first the Sage 50 followed by Sage MMS, then Sage 200 and more recently the adding of the Sage 200 Manufacturing to the core suite.

“Sage 200 Manufacturing does exactly what we want it to do and has been an enormous benefit. It’s really more of a case of looking back and thinking ‘What on earth would we have done if we hadn’t gone ahead with it?’ Basically, if we’d stayed as we were we just couldn’t have coped with the levels of business we do now so, yes, I’d say that Sage, in whatever guise, is here to stay. And I can’t see any reason why we’d want to lose Xperience, either.”

About QHi Group

QHi-Rail provides rail lubrication solutions to organisations like Network Rail while QHi-Thermal provides thermal and energy monitoring solutions for shipping, utilities, local government, IT industry, financial services, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, food processing / manufacture, automotive, HVAC and more.