Mattress maker B&A Quilting successfully adopted MRPeasy as their first manufacturing software after a fire ravaged the firm’s premises and presented an opportunity for a fresh start. The company uses MRPeasy for procurement, stock management, and quoting, with Production Director Javed Bashir describing the software as an invaluable help in growing the business.
About B&A Quilting
Mattresses and associated textiles manufacturer B&A Quilting got its start in the early 1970s and has since then experienced ups and downs, including losing two major customers that accounted for 70 percent of the firm’s business in the span of six months in the early 2000s, as well as having to start from scratch after a fire ravaged its production facility. The company has an affiliate called Bedouin in Pakistan that employs 1,200 people and manufactures associated textiles for mattresses in Pakistan. Since the early 2000s, B&A Quilting has been operating as a UK-based sales hub for Bedouin in Pakistan that deals with all major manufacturers who work with IKEA Europe-wide. It has 80 employees in the UK, with the two firms’ sales totaling over £50 million. The company’s focus has been on making mattresses in the UK since 2016/2017 and it has grown eight to ten times in terms of manufacturing output since then.
Starting anew with MRPeasy
A small business with limited stress, B&A Quilting did not initially feel the need for any kind of software and was daunted by the prospect of adoption and implementation given the amount of historical information a company of 50 years sported, Production Director Javed Bashir says.
The turning point came after a major fire in August 2019 destroyed virtually all the tangible assets of the business and necessitated what was basically a start from scratch. “When we lost everything, down to passports and keys kept in the safe, we realized that because we didn’t have any baggage to bring with us, we only had left what was saved in the cloud – that it was an opportunity,” Javed remarks.
Rebuilding manufacturing from the ground up afforded B&A Quilting the opportunity to adopt an ERP/MRP system, initially to get an overview of stock and offer forecasts to suppliers.
The company made a lot of inquiries into ERP software but quickly discovered that most service providers required a set-up fee and an annual subscription. Instead, B&A was looking for a flexible system that could simply be switched off or dropped if it failed to deliver or generate sufficient revenue to justify the cost. MRPeasy fitted the bill perfectly both by offering a free trial without requiring a commercial commitment, as well as in terms of functionality.
Javed and the company’s planning team are the only ones who currently use MRPeasy, while the company has set its sights on two additional licenses. MRPeasy has been deployed in every area except accounting and production at B&A Quilting and as Javed put it, it has been working perfectly for the company. “We use MRPeasy for all our procurement and manufacturing plans in terms of consumption of materials, all shipments, transport orders between warehouses, for getting prices and quotes,” he adds.
The company is yet to fully implement the manufacturing scheduling and reporting functionality, for which they need to allocate workstations and parallelize their resources first. “We are currently using paper-based reporting for end-of-shift but would like to go online. The next stage for us will be to look at barcode implementation for stock movements,” the head of production says.
Benefits of MRPeasy
When asked about the benefits of implementing the software, Javed describes MRPeasy as invaluable to the company. “We are about eight times the size we were in 2017 but have barely doubled the administrative side of things,” he says. “Myself and our planning team have access to stock, manufacturing orders, critical limits, and the corresponding alerts, we can perform forward scheduling as well as some forward forecasting to suppliers on what we need to meet our production orders.”
Javed also reports that MRPeasy has helped the company keep track of smaller stock items that would otherwise have been left unattended.
“MRPeasy really has helped us immensely. Without it, B&A Quilting would have made far more mistakes and overlooked the small stuff, such as the ordering of smaller components often on long lead-times from China,” he notes, adding that MRPeasy has made life a lot easier also in terms of data entry.
Recommendations for implementation
When adopting new technology, Javed says that it is crucial to have everyone on board with the implementation and the first step simply needs to be taken as it is never the “right time” for starting something new. In addition, inventory management should be prioritized as the first stage of implementation since it is always the easiest to do. “Thirdly, be thorough and truthful with your bill of materials. A key material for our mattresses is foam, which is purchased in kilos, while we measure our yield in units. We cut shapes out of blocks of foam and must allow for wastage etc. Because each block of foam has a variable weight of plus or minus ten kilograms, it initially played havoc on our stock management, but we got it right after a while and with plenty of patience,” he details.
In terms of other digital solutions, Javed states that not being a sales/marketing-intensive business, B&A Quilting doesn’t really need systems on top of MRPeasy. “Although, there is an argument that based on the size of the business, we should have a website,” he says, laughing. “We are, however, in the process of building an intranet system for housing documents like our health & safety policy.”