Company: FourFrontCustomer: CQRSubmitted by: MCC InternationalDate: January 1999CQR Security Components, based on the Wirral in Cheshire, produces plastic injection moulding solutions and toolmaking expertise mainly for the domestic and business security market. Alongside its main product lines it also manufactures power cables and point of sale solutions for the retail sector. Employing 185 people at three sites on the Wirral, in total the company has a range of over 4000 products and components which are sold to 600 different customer branches. One of the company’s key business objectives is to provide both a creative and rapid response service to its customers in all aspects of its business.

According to Colin Rivett, Management System Accountant at CQR: “It would be impossible to control stock, deliveries and invoicing without information technology. We promise all our customers delivery within five days on our stocked items, so it is vital we have stock available. About four years ago we decided to re-evaluate our accountancy software needs. We were using Chameleon, which limited us to 16 users, and had used Multisoft Premier in the past. We needed to increase the number of licenses and thought it would be a good opportunity to see if there were more flexible products on the market.

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CQR Security Components“We decided to undertake evaluations of several products, including those from Tetra, Multisoft, JBA and FourFront. In particular we were seeking a secure, reliable and, above all, flexible system which we could tailor to suit our business and that of our customers. At the end of the evaluation process, FourFront’s Copyright system won hands’ down as it provided the most precise fit for selection criteria.

In particular Copyright’s multi-warehouse capability was especially useful, as we have 10 warehouses including consignment stock held by our major customers. This would have been impossible to control using our old system.”CQR chose a number of modules from the FourFront suite to give them the maximum flexibility for their requirements. These included the Copyright Ledgers (Nominal, Purchase, Sales), Stock Control, Sales Order Processing, Purchase Order Processing, Bill of Materials, Analysis Ledgers, Payroll, Report Writer, Document Formatter and FourFront’s development tools. The software runs on CQR’s IBM RS6000, connected to both PC’s and dumb terminals using a TCP/IP network and there are approximately 40 users on the system.

Once Copyright was installed CQR tailored the system to better meet the needs of both its internal and external customers. Rivett points out: “Each data entry form has been designed so that it asks for all relevant information but the screen is not cluttered up with unnecessary data. Similarly we have been able to design reports to give precisely the information required by our sales team.”CQR has a mixture of items which we manufacture to stock and items which are manufactured to order. Using a report writer report which shows average sales over the last 6 months we have set re-order points for all our stocked items.

We have also used these reorder points and supplier lead times to calculate how much stock to hold of the components that we use to make products.The way the Copyright system fulfills CQR’s needs is that as soon as a component falls below the re-order level, the Copyright system automatically raises a purchase order for the component. This order is checked and may be modified before it is confirmed with the supplier. When the component is received, the receipt is booked in by the fork lift truck driver unloading the goods which produces a GRN to be signed by the delivery man, reducing the quantity outstanding on the purchase order, increasing the stock on hand and creating an accrual in the nominal ledger.When the supplier’s invoice is received the accrual is cancelled out and a balance is created on the purchase ledger.

The system automatically produces a proposed payment list to let CQR know how much to pay each supplier. These payments are then automatically transferred into a BACs file and sent over via modem to the bank.Rivett continues: “Each day the planner checks to see what stock has come in and issues works orders telling the assembly department what products to make. The planner keys in the quantity of finished product required and, when the order is issued, all the components (including any sub-assemblies) are booked out of stock reducing what is available for use. This action also creates a nominal transaction moving the value of components from stock to work in progress.”Once the product has been manufactured the finished items are booked into stock increasing the available stock, reducing the outstanding quantity on the works order and transferring the value from WIP to finished stock.

“All stock received can then be allocated to orders either automatically or manually (usually a combination of both),” adds Rivett. “Delivery notes are then run for all orders with stock allocated to them. The delivery notes are printed off at our despatch depot in Brombrough which is about 10 miles from the manufacturing, sales and administration site. Allocating stock reduces the available stock and creates the despatch notes and moves stock from allocated to delivered.”Once goods have been despatched, the store man confirms the delivery note on the system and the sales staff produce an invoice. Creating the invoice reduces the total stock, creates an entry on the customer’s account and creates nominal transactions in stock, cost of sales and sales accounts.

The credit controllers then use reports comparing actual payments to payment terms to chase customers for outstanding debt. Once cash is received, it is matched to invoices and creates nominal ledger entries.Rivett concludes: “We have been using the Copyright system for 4 years. It not only fits in well with our corporate IT strategy of providing a secure, reliable and flexible system for our customers, but it also makes us more productive by providing up to the minute information. This enables us to ensure accurate and on time deliveries to our customers and we are also able to provide a far better service to all the departments in the company for the same cost as before we took on the Copyright product.

In addition, we have always had an excellent relationship with the team at Fourfront, Copyright’s developers. They have always provided us with excellent and rapid support when we needed it and they continuously develop Copyright to anticipate the needs of their users. The most important factor is that the team at FourFront listens to what their customers want and they work hard to incorporate any suggestions into new product releases.”