EPS Water chooses Novacura Flow to revolutionise processes, empower employees and leverage mobile working.

EPS wanted a process improvement tool that was easy to use, reliable and mobile-friendly. Vanilla Solutions helped them get started with Novacura Flow and they never looked back.

EPS Water is an innovative provider of products and services to the water, wastewater and clean technology sectors. The firm serves municipal, industrial, commercial, agricultural and domestic clients, and currently exports in more than 25 countries worldwide.

The challenge
EPS use IFS Applications to manage their project-driven business. They’d previously invested in a process improvement tool for IFS, but were finding it too inflexible. So they went back to the market to look for a technology platform that could deliver in three key areas: process improvement, mobility and reliability.
Improving processes was seen as an urgent priority. The EPS team needed to drastically reduce the number of manual processes and also get the flexibility to develop their own processes, without being restricted to pre-canned vendor solutions.
The second goal was mobility. EPS wanted to develop mobile applications and then roll them out across handheld devices quickly and cheaply.
Finally, EPS’ current system for managing work orders had proven unreliable and lacked critical offline capabilities. So they needed a solution that would also let them work offline.

The solution
Having seen Novacura Flow at an IFS user group event, EPS contacted Vanilla Solutions, Novacura’s UK Partner and reseller, to discuss their requirements. Vanilla provided EPS with a fully functioning trial edition so they could evaluate it against their own requirements.
EPS quickly realised that Novacura Flow did everything they needed. Before long, the internal team were creating powerful applications around the way the business wanted to work. The one-flow architecture, regardless of user interface, meant applications were easily published to both desktop and mobile users. Using a mobile device, Flow seamlessly integrated with device cameras, maps, scanners or GPS coordinates to create mobile workflows. It also supported offline working whenever needed.

The result
Using Flow has unlocked endless possibilities for EPS. Having already automated many business processes, they’re now implementing 25 touchscreen interfaces, giving their less tech-fluent team members a simple, intuitive way to interact with their ERP system. “Giving our people an easy-to-use interface with the latest technology is essential,” says Gareth Reynolds, IT Systems Manager. “They are our business and we can’t evolve without them.”

Although EPS are completely independent in their use of Flow, the relationship with Vanilla continues, with both sides sharing information and best practices for using the software. “EPS care about giving their people the right tools for the job,” says Jason Belcher of Vanilla. “Their ideas and expectations are realistic, which is great, but we’ve been able to show them how they can go a few steps further than they thought.”

“Working with Vanilla Solutions has been a pleasure,” says Gareth. “They stand by their values of simplicity, quality and customer focus. With Flow, they’ve helped us create something quite remarkable, with a really simple user interface.”
Now Gareth and his team are in the process of rolling Flow out across as many operations as possible, to take their systems and processes to the next level.

About EPS
EPS was founded in rural Ireland in 1968 to support local agriculture with a focus on water abstraction and pumping, and later diversified to become an important partner to the Irish water sector. Today, it is a specialist infrastructure support services company that provides design-and-build solutions and mission-critical mechanical products. The firm operates across the Republic of Ireland, UK, Middle East and West Africa.

For more information on how NovaCura Flow could benefit your business, please contact Sultan.amin@vanillasolutions.com

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Client in Profile: Steve Bagwell, Protexin

Name: Steve Bagwell

Title: IT Manager

Company: Probiotics International (Protexin)

VS: How did you find out about Vanilla Solutions?

SB: I’d heard about Vanilla on a number of occasions and as I was looking for some help I accessed the Vanilla website and viewed some case studies and news articles. I liked what other customers had to say so I made the call, and I’m so glad I did!

VS: We’re glad you did too! How long have we been working together and how did our relationship develop?

SB: Vanilla first came on site with us early in 2016 and the relationship began with Vanilla assisting with the lead-up to go-live. Vanilla showed us a deep understanding of IFS early on and you continually help us to get the best possible solutions out of it.

VS: So what’s the main appeal of working with Vanilla?

SB: Vanilla is an agile business with 20+ full-time consultants and you’re really responsive. Your team of consultants are easy people to work with, they fit straight in and they’re all accessible. We’ve worked with a number of the team and developed a really strong working relationships with them where they are happy for us to email directly and always respond as soon as they can. The Vanilla business model aligned really well with our own, sometimes we find that bigger businesses aren’t very flexible or respond too slowly.

VS: What have been some of the key IFS Projects we’ve worked on with you?

 SB: Our web orders was one of the initial projects. Protexin sells via Tesco and Amazon online and we wanted to connect those orders up to our IFS system. We required someone who really knew their stuff and Vanilla supplied the right people for the job. The project required Vanilla’s team to configure the Connectivity part of IFS in order to get an order through, process it and receive using a standard IFS connection.   This was really a key project for us. You’ve also assisted with our data migration which was really quite complex, and you’ve helped us to figure out the set up for Crystal reports. We’ve had a large amount of help from your development team who hold a fantastic skillset. You’re currently working on a new area of development with regards to our Lab information management system and you offer us a support package to compliment our vendor support, where we can ask you questions and you’ll do whatever we require, mostly remotely, but on-site if needed.

VS: I understand that you’re also benefitting from some of our products and services to compliment your IFS solution.

SB: Yes, we have recently installed NovaCura Flow and it’s changed our entire approach – it’s truly limitless. Flow now runs all of our production and some of our warehousing, with a view to it running all of our warehousing in the near future. Your team got our team set up with Flow instantly, and the knowledge share empowered our business. We’re also working closely with your BI department and we’ve had a large amount QlikView development. Your team have helped us to visualise our data much more effectively.

 VS: How would you describe Vanilla?

 SB: Vanilla have an incisive sense of business needs. They are cost effective, diligent, industry experts. All of the team are accommodating and flexible, the consulting team spend time preparing in order to understand the business and become attuned to it. They don’t raise unrealistic expectations and offer very effective program management.

VS: Thanks for your time Steve.

SB: Always a pleasure.

About Protexin:

Protexin is dedicated to producing innovative research-based products of the highest quality for animals and humans. Their belief is that nature is an ideal source of effective healthcare solutions and that applied research and understanding can harness these solutions to the benefit of both humans and animals. The natural healthcare and probiotic supplements they manufacture are extensively researched for safety and efficacy. They work closely with leading universities, hospitals and research centres around the world on a range of ongoing research programmes. Protexin manufacture in their own purpose built, state-of-the-art facility in Somerset, UK. This allows them to be completely in control of their product quality. All products are subject to the highest, accredited standards of production and quality control and they hold the following quality certifications; cGMP (MHRA), ISO 9001:2008, BETA NOPS, each of which involves regular audits to ensure standards are maintained.

About Us:

Established in 2009, Vanilla Solutions help clients to get the best possible return on their investment through consulting, training, support and products. With a turnover in excess of £2.5million, Vanilla Solutions continues to offer fundamental, independent services to users of IFS Applications. Whether an organisation is embarking on a new implementation, a business transformation program, or simply need some ongoing support, Vanilla have the extensive industry experience needed to extract the best value from investment in IFS Applications. Positioning themselves as part of the project team they provide clients with expert advice and the resources they require to make their chosen business systems work for them. Their consultants and technical staff are all employed in-house and sourced from a wide range of industries to bring a hugely diverse set of skills. This is evident by their broad customer base, ranging from large Aerospace & Defence clients to small manufacturing and service companies.  Vanilla Solutions also provide complementary solutions that enhance the functionality of their clients IFS investments and other software solutions they might use including Novacura Flow and Qlik.

For more information, contact:

Abigail Ridgway

Head of Sales & Marketing

Vanilla Solutions

abigail.ridgway@vanillasolutions.com

 

Client in Profile: Phil Barratt, Mayerton

MayertonLongweb

Name: Phil Barratt

Title: Business Systems Manager

Company: Mayerton

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VS: How did you find out about Vanilla Solutions?

PB: I met Vanilla at an IFS User Group conference in 2010. I was looking for some help with database problems and Vanilla were working closely with a specialist and referred us across. Vanilla weren’t IFS Partners at that stage but later became partners and then more recently left the Partnership Network

VS: That’s right. We thought long and hard about leaving the partnership but it was the right decision for us and our customers.  I think clients value our independence and benefit from the savings we make through not being part of the partner network

PB: That’s interesting. Yes, in my own personal experience I wouldn’t work with anyone else other than Vanilla, partners or not.  I was tired of the usual set up of being over-sold consultants with an array of expertise just to work on a menial task for whole days at the top rate, when in reality it really needed just a few hours. When we originally went live we spent too much on consultancy. It got out of hand.

VS: So what’s the main appeal of working with Vanilla?

PB: Knowledge, approach and cost.  My budget is tight and using Vanilla is wonderful as they work well within budget and if a job only requires a few hours they won’t quote me any more than that. The team are very knowledgeable and able to offer suggested solutions over the phone that I’ve never thought about. I love the approach. They don’t fiddle with the system. They use the tools that already exist, particularly the tools that lurk around at the dusty end of the tool box that nobody ever gets shown how to use.

VS: So do you think Vanillas main asset is their extensive knowledge of the IFS system?

PB: Not just that. They are honest about project estimates and costs. The enhancements we’ve had done by Vanilla were 200% cheaper than prices elsewhere. Vanilla work with what we have in terms of tools to save our cost. It’s a much better way of doing things as they don’t tread on IFS support. You’re just using what you’ve bought.

VS: What enhancements were you most impressed with?

PB: One of the best enhancements, excuse the geekiness now, is around purchase order receipt.  When you’re in IFS and you’ve purchased something and, for instance, you’ve got in the region of 100 purchase order lines and you’ve gotten to the stage where you want to move that into stock, you have to go to each line and move to application manually. We have some orders with 300 purchase order lines. It can take up to 2 hours. I thought, “Why can’t we have just one button that does it?” It’s obvious isn’t it if you think about it? If you’ve got a purchase order with multiple lines, then you want to receive the whole purchase order. So I called Vanilla and their technical consultant came onto site. It took just 2 days and he developed a simple application to do this. Now we’re saving so much time and, ultimately, money.

VS: Do you think Vanilla are quick to solve problems?

PB: If I wanted a bit of code, not to do the whole thing, your guys can very quickly give me that and you only bill for what you do. The key point for me is that I can buy 1 hours’ worth of help. It’s a very simple and straightforward process. To me, that’s the beauty of it. The whole team are seasoned, industry experts and that’s a great value. Vanilla pick only the people who are good enough to be under their banner.

VS: How would you describe Vanilla?

PB: I would describe Vanilla as ‘Phone-a-friend’ – I mean that genuinely. Every consultant I’ve ever come across have been responsive and they have consultants in all areas specialising in both technical and functional.  The entire company’s responsiveness is out of the park compared to anyone else.

VS: How long have you being working with Vanilla Solutions?

PB: I think I was one of their first customers, so 6 years. Vanilla are very prepared to make the little people feel valued and important. I pre-buy hours now as I did tend to call on their team as-and-when. It’s just easier to know that if I need them I’ve already dealt with the paperwork.

VS: Well, our theory is what comes around goes around so we treat all clients with the utmost respect and professionalism.

PB: Well, that’s very apparent. One thing I’ve noticed you do is to help put a face to a name. I like that you include pictures on your website and in newsletters so that we know who we’re speaking to. Your new marketing department has made quite the impact on Vanilla, especially your Christmas campaign!

VS: Any other comments?

PB: On a final point, I must say the Christmas gift this year from Vanilla was fantastic. It was perfect! If you’re going to give a Christmas gift, it needs to be good and you hit the nail on the head. I’ve still got your Christmas card on my desk. I’ve scanned it and I will be using it next time I do a PowerPoint; next time I do anything on lean. It absolutely sums up what Vanilla do, it’s brilliant.

VS: That’s very kind of you, thanks for your time Phil.

About Mayerton

Mayerton Refractories is a leading manufacturer of high quality castable and refractories brick providing refractory engineering solutions and service. Headquartered in Europe, Mayerton is active in over 50 countries, adding strategic value to the largest industrial Groups worldwide. Established in 1991, Mayerton has over 20 years’ experience supplying refractory solutions to the iron, non-ferrous and steel industries.

About Us:

Established in 2009, Vanilla Solutions help clients to get the best possible return on their investment through consulting, training, support and products. Recently announcing a £2.4million turnover, Vanilla Solutions continues to offer fundamental, independent services to users of IFS Applications. Whether an organisation is embarking on a new implementation, a business transformation program, or simply need some ongoing support, Vanilla have the extensive industry experience needed to extract the best value from investment in IFS Applications. Positioning themselves as part of the project team they provide clients with expert advice and the resources they require to make their chosen business systems work for them. Their consultants and technical staff are all employed in-house and sourced from a wide range of industries to bring a hugely diverse set of skills. This is evident by their broad customer base, ranging from large Aerospace & Defence clients to small manufacturing and service companies.  Vanilla Solutions also provide complementary solutions that enhance the functionality of their clients IFS investments and other software solutions they might use including NovaCura Flow and QlikView.

For more information, contact:

Abigail Ridgway

Head of Sales & Marketing

Vanilla Solutions

abigail.ridgway@vanillasolutions.com

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