A photo of a racing car taking a corner at speed catches your eye in General Manager Geoff Carston’s office at GTech Bellmor. It is a souvenir of founder Kevin Bell’s New Zealand Touring Car Championship days. Judging from the company’s growth, they haven’t slowed down too much since.
Operating from a 2,600 square metre manufacturing plant in Belfast, Christchurch, the company began in 1989 supplying equipment to the New Zealand meat rendering industry. Largely through word-of-mouth and the drive of founders, Kevin Bell and Sarah Morgan, it now provides sophisticated machinery to the food processing, meat and fish rendering and oil exploration industries around the world.
Most days of the week, and often via the nearby Christchurch airport, raw materials arrive from around the world and are converted into the components of high-value centrifuges. Food, meat and fishing industries are still core customers, but most growth in recent years has come from new oil-drilling technology. Being able to recycle drilling mud delivers big savings in costs, significantly reduces environmental damage and allows for rapid turnaround from drill site to drill site.
Remote from many of its suppliers and customers, the company needs to stay sharp to compete. Decanters and Separators, generating 3000+ G’s, are designed and built to near aircraft engine tolerances in their Christchurch factory. When they came to investing in a new ERP system, GTech Bellmor wanted a management system that could perform at the top of its field.
While their legacy system still worked, too much business knowledge and intellectual property stayed locked inside people’s heads and cost analyses required trawling individual jobs. They sought presentations from four international suppliers, and Geoff still sounds freshly impressed with how Abel stood out from the rest.
“I call Abel a genuine 21st Century solution. Its ability to meet virtually every possible request is quite unique.” Abel now holds all equipment designs on a single platform and manages all production and related processes in one integrated solution, with a real time General Ledger giving the latest financial data.
Previously done individually, it is now much easier to create the custom BOMs (Bills of Materials) needed to build large, complex one-off machines. Costings and quotations can be produced quickly and accurately. Large machines can have a lengthy build time, creating challenges for scheduling and for raw materials ordering. Abel’s BOMs include labour and machine times, which flow through to scheduling and automatically inform the materials re-ordering processes, making for efficient management of the factory floor and of the raw materials flow.
Touch screens on the factory floor show job status, capture time sheet data and give an up-to-the-minute picture of every job’s progress. Abel makes it easy to understand the profitability of jobs or parts of jobs, enabling continual improvement and management of labour, materials and machine costs. “Changing other vendor’s systems to match our requirements was always going to be a challenge, but Abel let us do what we wanted, and we could configure Abel to suit our needs.”
GTech Bellmor liked Abel’s flexibility, the very low investment in new hardware required, and the fact that Abel’s licensing did not require a big up-front payment. Across a highly-skilled NZ workforce of 65, it has shifted staff from data entry to real-time performance analysis and process improvement. Now with plants in Australia and USA, it uses Abel across the Group for automatic currency conversion and running exactly the level of separation between each country’s accounting that the company requires. Geoff says that even as they load more data the system never slows down. “Abel is unique in its low use of resources, and its adaptability is amazing.”
What every racing driver wants really: speed but with precision and control.