Chemring Countermeasures Drives Continuous Improvement with M3 Upgrade
Specialist defence manufacturer upgrades to new ERP platform with Infor’s largest M3 partner
About Chemring Countermeasures
A global leader in protecting air and naval forces from the threats posed by heat-seeking and radar-controlled missiles, Chemring Countermeasures researches, designs and manufactures Radio Frequency (RF) and Infrared (IR) expendable countermeasures, specifically decoy devices and products for air and sea platforms.
Part of the Chemring Group, a global business that specialises in the manufacture of high technology products and the provision of services to the aerospace, defence and security markets which employs 2,500 people worldwide, Chemring Countermeasures operates from a 100 acre site in Salisbury and employs 400 people.
As an innovative company operating at the leading edge of the expendable countermeasures industry, Research and Development (R&D) is crucial to Chemring Countermeasure’s business. In its quest to develop reliable solutions, not only for today’s, but tomorrow’s threats, the company has a culture of continuous improvement. As part of this, investment in technology, people and research is an absolute priority.
When it came to a major upgrade of its hardware, OS and Infor’s Movex (now Infor M3) ERP platform, the team needed to ensure excellence and this meant access to the right capabilities, skills and support. Crucially the upgrade also represented a step towards Cloud, ensuring that as and when the team considered a move away from on-premise, the right technology was in place.
Having worked with business software consultancy Anthesis for several years, and been impressed with the diligence, professionalism and expertise of its consultants, Chemring Countermeasures had no hesitation in selecting the team to manage the upgrade.
“Technical upgrades of this nature can be incredibly challenging and require a great deal of knowledge, deep skillsets and experience of the system at play,” comments Simon Morley, Group IT Operations Manager, Chemring Group. “However, despite the potential complexities of upgrading hardware and ERP simultaneously, the team’s professionalism meant that the project went smoothly.
“Anthesis’ consultants ran several workshops to review our processes and look at where we might make improvements, as well as evaluating ways in which we could enhance our reporting in the future. This, combined with their level of responsiveness and a resolute focus on ensuring we went live on our proposed date, meant that the project was delivered on time and to budget.”
Confidence in the face of complexity
With the new platform live, Chemring Countermeasures now has complete confidence in its access to the right capabilities, and that its infrastructure is fully supported. The defence manufacturer has also seen value consolidated across a number of areas.
The nature of its products means that manufacturing at Chemring Countermeasures is highly complex, and as a result of its R&D work, products are becoming more and more technical. From a production perspective, this means that an exceptionally high degree of control and full traceability is necessary, with comprehensive information on all processes readily available at any point to support regular auditing.
The technical upgrade means that Chemring Countermeasures’ plethora of complex processes, including mixed-mode manufacturing to accommodate both blending and assembly operations, continue to be supported efficiently.
It has also helped to address specific health and safety regulations placed on explosive materials before they can be transported. In order to comply with stringent guidelines, some products require specific packaging and labelling, a process which is fully supported by the system
“Looking ahead, our next project is focused on building on the upgraded system, to enhance our planning and reporting. Working with Anthesis, we plan to look at how we can leverage the new platform so that data from all manufacturing areas of the business can be uploaded in real-time, rather than planning team having to collate insights manually. This will include the availability of the system via hand-held scanners, which will staff to input key details whilst on the shop floor, driving substantial improvements to data availability, accuracy and morale. And a further project to review capacity planning and scheduling will follow, ensuring we are consistently meeting customer requirements in the most efficient manner,” Simon explains.
“Working with Anthesis, both from a Managed Services and upgrade perspective, has been a positive experience. The technical upgrade project was managed extremely well, and the team were able to identify and fix problems, suggest options for any gaps, and recommend solutions throughout.
Simon concludes, “In my opinion, access to Anthesis’ highly experienced consultants and deep skillsets was key to the project’s success, and we very much look forward to working with them again in our future endeavours.”