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Wye Cylinder Engineering

Wye Cylinder Engineering Ltd has over 50 years of experience designing and manufacturing a multitude of hydraulic cylinders for a wide range of applications.

Business Imperative

In 2015, Wye Cylinder Engineering Ltd (WCE) – a Hereford-based manufacturer of precision hydraulic cylinders for industries such as agricultural, construction and specialised vehicles – found themselves running a manufacturing system sold by an American-headquartered mid-market ERP supplier, explains Resources Director, Nick Berry, with finance and accounting carried out by software from Sage, and maintenance being handled by yet another system.

But the manufacturing system in question was being phased out, with the supplier suggesting that customers migrate to an alternative manufacturing system that it offered.


“The trouble was that the alternative system seemed designed for businesses much, much larger than ours – and, as with our existing system, there wasn’t much of a UK user group,” says Nick. “Seeing as how we were going to have to migrate away from our existing system anyway, we began looking at other systems, from other providers, visiting their users to explore their experiences with the software.”

The problem, he explains, was that WCE had some very specific requirements. An active user group was important, for instance. So too was a software system that was continually being developed and improved, unlike WCE’s existing system, where development had largely ceased. And again, in contrast to its existing manufacturing system, a large UK customer base was also important.

A highly-evolved MRP II capability was also necessary, given the nature of WCE’s business. Moreover, he adds, as WCE continued exploring the enterprise systems marketplace, the merits of a comprehensive ERP system became increasingly compelling.

“One system, and one database – totally integrated together: the more we saw, the more we realised that this was an important step forward for us,” he sums up. “Forget legacy manufacturing systems: what we needed was a proper ERP system that could do everything that we required.”

And when WCE’s exploration of the marketplace reached Exel Computer ’ EFACS E/8 ERP system, the company realised that it had found the replacement that it needed.

Why Exel?

“As a system, EFACS E/8 ticked a lot of boxes for us,” explains Nick. “A large UK customer base, an active user group, a rich set of functionality – and ample evidence that the product was being continually upgraded and improved. Plus, it was British, developed for British businesses – rather than developed for American businesses, and then adapted for the British market. Even better, EFACS E/8 was readily customisable, with Exel providing tools to do this.”


Implementation was straightforward, states Nick, with the system going live in early 2016. WCE had licensed 16 full EFACS users, and a further 13 factory-floor users of EFACS’ shop-floor data capture capability.

WCE also took advantage of EFACS E/8’s feature set. From the start, says Nick, WCE made extensive use of EFACS E/8’s MRP II capabilities, as well as EFACS E/8’s shop-floor data capture capabilities.

“With the shop-floor data capture capability, we had some bespoke code written for us in order to provide specific additional functionality – on newer releases of EFACS E/8, that functionality is now included as standard,” he notes.

And while WCE is a user of EFACS E/8’s reporting and dashboard capabilities, he adds, the company hasn’t really explored EFACS E/8’s newer capabilities in this area: the original as-supplied dashboards remain perfectly adequate.

Nor had WCE made much use of EFACS E/8’s capacity planning capabilities until relatively recently, he adds.

“I suppose we took some convincing that computer-generated schedules could be as well-optimised as those schedules that our planners develop manually,” he explains.

Business Benefits

Six years after implementing the solution, WCE completed its second upgrade, moving to EFACS E/8 version 6, release 3, from the earlier EFACS E/8 version 5, release 6.

“In principle, as an organisation we want to move onto newer releases, as the additional functionality helps us to develop the business,” explains Nick.

In addition to full support for Microsoft’s Edge web browser, he adds, two attractions of the new release are EFACS E/8’s new bank reconciliation capability, and several improvements in the area of banking and finance.

Importantly, too, the business will also benefit from a number of incremental improvements to EFACS E/8’s manufacturing and reporting functionality contained in the interim releases between the previous and latest versions, including new workbenches for MRP II and master production scheduling.

“We now have a fully up-to-date comprehensive system which is easy for all employees to use and its capabilities have saved us both time and money.”