Anglia Circuits Engineering relies on JAVELIN to support its commitment to  Customer Service

Successful subcontracting is all about meeting customers’ requirements; completely, accurately and cost-effectively.  Yet once the order is placed, a supplier’s ability to meet the required delivery date quickly becomes the principal focus of attention – especially if there’s a chance that the completion of a high value product might be delayed for want of a vital sub-contracted part.

For Anglia Circuits Engineering (A.C.E.), this is just part of everyday life and one of the main reasons it has invested in a Jobshop system to support its commitment to customer service.

Based in St Ives, Cambridge, A.C.E. specializes in supplying high quality milled and turned components, along with associated assemblies, for customers in technology-led industries such as the electronics, scientific and medical equipment sectors, printing, aerospace, motorsport and communications engineering fields.  As a result, batch sizes typically range from a handful to 100 off and its products can be as different as suspension components for championship winning racecars to assemblies containing numerous parts machined to micron tolerances.  

The company’s ability to consistently meet such demands is due in no small part to ongoing investment in its manufacturing equipment and methods.  But, as the company’s Managing Director, Rock Loveday explains:  “The benefits of our advanced CNC machines simply would not have been fully realized without our Jobshop manufacturing system.”

Mr Loveday readily concedes that A.C.E’s original investment in Jobshop was driven by the need to find a top-class pc-based production control system.

“Our business is characterized by the coordinated machining and assembly of multiple operation, high quality components, often in a variety of materials,” he adds. “We normally process around 40 new orders every week.  Approximately half of these are sub-assemblies, each with perhaps 50 or so individual components.  As a result, our need for accurate production scheduling is paramount.

“12 years ago, when I was the company’s Production Manager, most of my time was spent progress chasing rather than production engineering.  However, since the installation of Jobshop, we have been able to put a lot more emphasis on the ‘control’ element of ‘production control’ throughout the company.  Today, Anglia Circuits Engineering has a 10 seat, soon to be extended to 15 user, Jobshop license, which covers everything from estimating and costing, to Bills of Material generation, purchasing, stock control and despatch procedures.

New Jobs

With only 25% of the company’s work accounted for by repeat orders of existing products and their derivatives, A.C.E’s success is heavily dependent on the way it handles new jobs from start to finish.

“Estimating and production engineering are both key stages in the overall process, which is why we’ve located these staff in the same area of the office,” adds Loveday.  “Jobshop enables us to both capture and build on our in-house knowledge, allowing us to compile extremely detailed estimates using company-standard machining, tooling and overheads information.”

The system also determines set up and run time costs based on the customer’s required batch size and will produce a fully specified, ready-to-email or ready-to-sign quotation printed on company letterheads at the touch of a button.

“Once our quotation has been accepted, we find Jobshop’s ‘quick load’ facility extremely powerful,” says chief estimator, Mel Harpham. “It not only creates the works order, but also automatically generates the associated Bill of Material, routing and operator set-up sheets for each job.  It saves an enormous amount of time, as well as providing the required shopfloor documentation; all based on consistent and accurate information.”


Production scheduling has been at the heart of A.C.E’s Jobshop installation since the early 1990s; enabling accurate delivery dates to first be generated, then maintained.  Perhaps just as importantly, Jobshop provides instant visibility of the impact on other orders when one job is pulled forward to meet a customer’s changing requirements.  Equally, it will flag the need for overtime working to meet the new schedule, and the costs associated with it.

With access to a complete breakdown of manufacturing and material costs, as well as historical data on any previous batches, Loveday and his colleagues are armed with the information to renegotiate prices, if necessary, based on a full understanding of the implications of any rescheduling request.

Further Jobshop capabilities harnessed by A.C.E. include the purchasing of bought out items such as fasteners, or outsourced heat treatment, plating or painting services.  The system also enables specific raw materials to be allocated to jobs, to both fulfil traceability requirements and provide extremely accurate material stock control.  This feature is even used to compile a weekly stock update report for one A.C.E. customer, which it uses to coordinate the despatch of further free-issue material to meet its upcoming schedule requirements.

“It’s easy to tailor reports through Jobshop’s support of Crystal Reports,” says Loveday.  “And things like this really help to cement our relationships with customers.”

Ongoing System Development

At present, the progress of work through A.C.E’s production areas is recorded using manual timesheets.  All relevant information is then entered into the Jobshop system within half a day, enabling the company to maintain an accurate picture of the status of every job. “However, this is potentially the next area to be addressed in terms of our system development,” says Loveday, “with the possible introduction of Shop Floor Data collection to further streamline our operations.”

The Jobshop system already requires that operations are correctly closed off before work can proceed to the next stage of manufacture; which also means that it will not issue delivery notes - and invoices cannot be raized - without each activity being booked as complete.

Following the despatch of goods, A.C.E. takes advantage of Jobshop’s reporting routines to review ‘estimated’ against ‘actual’ costs for every job.  “This helps us to identify production issues and areas for potential improvement,” adds Harpham. “What’s more, it also provides me with up-to-date information on which to base future estimates - effectively closing the loop on our complete business cycle.”

“During the 12 years that Jobshop has been at the hub of our operations, we have seen its capabilities keep pace with both our requirements and expectations,” acknowledges Loveday.  “By enabling us to take total control of everything from initial inquiry to shipment of finished goods, it has become central to our ability to continually meet customers’ requirements - and therefore to our ongoing competitiveness and success.”

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