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A door and window manufacturer is forecasting significant growth after investing in software and systems integration tools

Door and Window Systems (DAWS), based in Knowsley, Liverpool City Region, is a start up which has grown rapidly because of its focus on customer experience.

Now, with the help of Made Smarter’s digital transformation workshop process and support investing in digital tools, the business is forecasting rapid growth, increased market share and new jobs.

Case Study - DAWS

Our experience with Made Smarter has been incredible. The team has guided us through a complex process to invest in technologies that are having a huge impact on our business.

Julian Wetherall, Director of DAWS
The Challenge

Launched four years ago, DAWS operated successfully using some basic software that managed customer orders, stock control and production planning. But the management team recognised that if the business was to scale up they would need to improve infrastructure, customer experience and introduce automation.

Julian said: “We’ve had an amazing first four years, but now we are focusing on scaling the business and becoming a go-to supplier for our customers. This means hitting delivery targets and delivering an even more exceptional level of service.

“Our move to Knowsley has overcome our storage and supply chain challenges, as well as giving us the space to grow and so now we have all the ingredients in place to scale the business.”

Needing some expertise in digital technology, DAWS contacted Made Smarter and embarked on a detailed analysis of their products, processes and people. They emerged with a digital roadmap which prioritised upgrading their digital infrastructure.

Julian explained: “Our old systems relied on Microsoft 365 and some makeshift integration from our in-house IT team, but they were clunky. There was lots of paper and duplication from the initial order to the shopfloor to the delivery. It just wasn’t slick enough and that potentially impacted the customer journey.

“The roadmap process really shone a light on our mission statement: to be the trades go-to supplier of aluminium windows, bifolding and patio doors. But in order to achieve that we need systems that are robust and easy to work with.”

The Solution

With further support from Made Smarter, DAWS has invested in a software solution to manage customer interactions and sales, and secondary software to integrate with production and dispatch.

The Touch Portal System enables customers to price their own orders, inputting the product size, colour, hardware, glazing and handle options. The quotation is then converted into an order.

The next phase is to integrate back office operations with the production through Evolution, a software solution. This will automatically move customers orders to the shopfloor, and enable the business to track and trace every product through manufacturing, produce data for analysis, enable electronic delivery notes, and improve stock control.

The Benefits

The impact has been instant and transformational, according to DAWS.

As well as giving customers the facility to price and order quickly, the new systems enable fast and accurate communication of real-time lead time information which will help them plan installation.

Removing the manual, repetitive processes has increased office productivity by 50%, enabling staff to focus on more high value tasks and sales opportunities.

“Customer retention is key to our growth,” Julian explained. “We want to provide a consistently fantastic service and create the capacity to add value.”

Integration with the shopfloor will be game-changing.

“When the project is complete we will have real-time visibility of stock control, production and delivery,” Julian said. “All this data suddenly gives us the radar to look ahead, avoid potholes, plan better, drive efficiencies, establish best practice and improve performance.”

For example, currently production staff have a base stock to make orders, meaning they have to make visits to the stockroom to collect extra parts. The new system will enable production managers to better plan not just how workstations are stocked but the factory layout to optimise production.

Remote access to these new solutions will enable more flexible working, allowing people to work from home, reducing business running costs and optimising use of space.

The investment is expected to unlock and accelerate growth and support DAWS’ ambition to double its turnover and contribute an extra £1M to the region’s GVA over the next three years.

DAWS’ digital transformation has upskilled eight existing roles and laid the foundation to create 15 new jobs.

The Future

The technology offers future opportunities for DAWS to further integrate with other areas of the business such as new product development and the supply chain.

There is also the potential for DAWS to explore new markets including direct online sales to the public.

Automation is also an important area for DAWS.

“The software we have chosen fits us like a glove and we have experienced an immediate improvement. The digital road mapping exercise and grant funding has really accelerated and de-risked our investment. It has enabled us to see the reaching benefits of further technology investment.

“By removing the headaches and challenges of moving information around the business, we can start to look ahead at creating a modern, smart factory which embraces automation.”

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