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Munster Simms Engineering Limited, better known under the product brand names Whale and Henderson, is an independent company with over 60 years experience in the design, manufacture, marketing and selling of pumps, valves, faucets and plumbing (water systems) used in mobile or low voltage environments.
Munster Simms employs around 140 people and also has a US based subsidiary. The Company supplies over 900 products to more than 100 OEM customers globally, including companies such as Sunseeker and Caterpillar.
Munster Simms is a privately owned company based in Bangor, Northern Ireland. The Company has a long history of quality product and customer orientation and a track record over recent years for product innovation.
The Company designs, manufactures and tests its own products, largely but not exclusively, in injection moulded plastics for use in Leisure Marine; Recreational Vehicle and Caravan; and Industrial applications, many of which are in the toughest environments imaginable.
Although the Company and its product range have changed radically over the years, its core values of customer service, product support and value for money have remained constant. Its brand names Whale and Henderson have rightly gained the reputation of representing quality and reliability.
The business has seen market share increase in the face of generally weakening worldwide markets. In fact the Company, who export their range of water and waste pumps for boats and caravans to manufacturers and parts distributors through a worldwide distribution network has ensured that wherever Whale or Henderson products are in demand, they are available.
Working together Open Business Solutions and Munster Simms defined the ideal operating processes for the business. The solution was successfully implement ensuring the Infor ERP system fully met the demands of the Munster Simms business model.
Munster Simms is an exceptional success story and a refreshing break from the normal “doom and gloom” stories in manufacturing. They continue to go from strength to strength in their target markets.
For over 60 years Munster Simms has enjoyed a worldwide reputation for the quality and reliability of its Whale and Henderson brand products. The Company has three principal international divisions - Marine, Caravan and Commercial.
The range of products is diverse, and includes freshwater electric/manual pressure dispensing pumps, fluid transfer pumps (including diesel, chemicals and semi solids), taps, showers, water filters, and a range of easy to fit semi-rigid pipe-work fittings. The product range represents almost all aspects of freshwater, grey water and black water systems typically found in the leisure marine and caravanning industries. Many of these products have given birth to pumps and plumbing systems used in other mobile and low voltage applications. While being market leaders in the marine and caravan markets, the products are also sold into many different markets such as construction, agriculture, medical and the vending industry.
The Company’s Manufacturing operations and people policies are recognised as meeting ISO9001-2000 and "Investors in People" standards and all products are CE and relevant industry standard approved e.g. NSF, CSA, WRC.
Financial Director, Wesley Hanson, puts their success down to the Company’s absolute commitment to drive down production costs without reducing customer service, quality and value for money. Not surprisingly this has resulted in some interesting business challenges, and INFOR ERP has been successfully used at the Bangor based plant to address them.
Some of Munster Simms components and materials are imported from the Far East with long lead times, and so require careful forecasting to ensure continuity of supply. In order to maintain a tight control over the supply line and at the same time, to reduce waste, Munster Simms has chosen to implement a ‘KanBan’ approach to its manufacturing control processes.
“Kanban makes perfect sense for controlling our shop floor,” said Wesley Hanson. “Our products are made in dedicated or semi-dedicated cells, and our key goal is to keep everyone working to meet fluctuating demand without introducing complexity, and most importantly, without letting customers down.”
Having a mixture of business requirements presented an interesting dilemma for Munster Simms. The business needed a very lean production control system and also relatively sophisticated procurement planning. Munster Simms engaged Open Business Solutions to re-model the way that their system was being used.
The solution for Munster Simms was to use demand planning - also called sales and operations planning - and transfer the results of market analysis easily into INFOR ERP. From there, the system is set-up to manage long-term procurement needs to meet the sales plan, while letting KanBan run the shop floor.
“We are very pleased with this outcome,” commented Wesley Hanson. “We have 1000’s of parts, and we sell to such a variety of markets that the thought of having to track component demand for our entire range was daunting to say the least. We were particularly pleased to see that the INFOR ERP solution was flexible enough to cope with our diverse business needs.”issue.