People. Process. Systems.


Getting more value out of the new business system in order to increase delivery performance and reduce costs. Realignment was necessary to accommodate the shift in business operations from make-to-order to supply chain driven.


OptimumPPS reviewed all of Fern’s business methods, including data collection and reporting. Gavin Harper, production manager at Fern comments:

“one of Optimums’ great strengths, where most other company’s fall down, is that Optimum took the time to understand what Fern wanted to achieve, they spoke to all levels of personnel, understood the departments capabilities and limitations, thus enabling the new processes to be adjusted to the best fit for everyone’s benefit.”

Fern needed the ability to have quick electronic input and to efficiently organise orders and schedules specific to the differing working methods of their customers. They also had to meet the requirements of the manufacturing process by managing issues regarding sub-contractors, Fern’s own suppliers of raw materials and bought-out components. The system would also have to include particular dispatching preferences, for example labelling, bar coding, and certain certificates of conformities.

Key problem areas were identified:

  1. Customer delivery performance problems
  2. Excess carriage charges being incurred by missed delivery deadlines
  3. Poor sub-contractor management due to inaccurate forecasting of quantities and deadlines
  4. Excessive production overtime
  5. Poor machine/resource utilisation
  6. Time consuming manual management of customer schedules.


Optimum PPS re-engineered and optimised six key areas:

  • Supply chain order management system
  • Supply chain management procedures
  • Semi-finished stock management
  • Sub Contractor “off site” stock management
  • Finished stock management
  • Consignment stock management at customer site


There were vast improvements to delivery performance and speed and flow of information.

  • Customer delivery performance increased from 75% to 98%
  • Supplier delivery performance increased from 75% to 95%
  • Additional transport costs reduced by 75%

Gavin Harper has also seen improvements on a management level: “We now have various Key Performance Indicators that we monitor which were not previously available. All department heads now have a better understanding of what makes the company perform better and can better target the areas that require the most attention”.

Fern was nominated for an Accelerate supplier award for innovation in the UK’s automotive supply industry:
“virtually perfect performance, with delivery schedule adherence hitting 100% and parts per million down to zero defects for many of its customers” (Accelerate Supplier Awards)

“Having a system and process that allows us to adapt to our business needs without increasing our overhead and admin costs will stand us in great stead in these difficult and competitive times for UK manufacturing and when competing with low cost countries.”

John Walker, Commercial Director

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