BA Joinery

Helping this Billingham manufacturer develop a bespoke software package to make the firm more streamlined and efficient through Made Smarter Adoption North East.

Specialists in the design, manufacture and installation of bespoke, high quality architectural joinery, BA Joinery works with a broad range of clients, including main contractors, architects, interior designers, consultants and end-users. Established in 2008, BA Joinery employs 48 staff at its manufacturing facility in Billingham, as well as an extended team of subcontractors on site too.

We caught up with Head of Business Support, Sam Reed, to find out how Made Smarter Adoption North East helped the business develop a bespoke software package to help make the firm more streamlined, efficient, able to convert projects faster and assist with quality control.


Why did you decide to sign up to take park in Made Smarter Adoption North East?

We’ve been interested for some time about going digital and investing in our own dedicated software package. We just didn’t know what solution would suit us best and we were receiving lots of differing advice. We received an email from Tees Valley Business about Made Smarter Adoption North East and it looked perfect for us. As well as being fully funded, it would allow us to get the right information from the right people.


Prior to joining the programme, did you use digital technology within your business to improve efficiencies and productivity?

We’ve previously used various off the shelf products and other packages which meant we had multiple digital solutions across the business. We wanted something that was our own and could connect everyone together.

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What were some of the barriers to introducing digital technology within your business?

The main barrier has always been the lack of knowledge in what digital solution we actually needed as a business. You might think you need A, but in fact you need B and C. Previously, we didn’t have access to that forum in which we could gain different opinions and advice from the professionals who know best. We know how much of a big investment this is and wanted to ensure we took the time to get this right.


What have you enjoyed most about taking part in Made Smarter Adoption North East?

The workshops were really beneficial. We got to network with other people in the same industry and learn from them. We also got to see what we could build on outside of Made Smarter too. It was really helpful to pick apart our processes; strip everything back and see where the gaps were, where could we be more efficient. It was really eye opening and we wouldn’t have delved so deep into this area had it not been for Made Smarter.

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What digital solution have you introduced in your business as a result of the programme?

We are in the process of getting an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. It’s a full end-to-end programme that will include a CRM element.

The first stage we’re focusing on is our estimating department. Our estimating team have previously worked a lot with Microsoft Excel, but this system will allow us to create our own database, which will streamline our process and make everything progress more efficiently.

Each department of the company will be involved in the ERP and at the end of the process, they will all work in unison. We can integrate all areas of the business – from estimates and health and safety to project management and deliveries. This new system will allow us to keep track of everything in one place.

We’ve made sure staff come on the journey with us too, so they can see the benefits. Introducing this kind of change can bring trepidation, but our staff has been involved in how the system will look to make sure it works for them, after all they are the ones who know their job the best.


How will the digital technology improve your business?

We think it will make us more streamlined, more efficient; and that means we can convert projects faster. It will help with quality control too and add to the existing accreditations we have in place.

Adopting digital technology will help our management systems overall by helping to keep everyone organised and working together.


Why is it important for manufacturing businesses to adopt digital technology?

We think it’s important to move with the times. Digital is only going to become a bigger part of all our lives so working from pen and paper or an outdated computer system will only make you fall behind. It’s good for employers and staff too and it should be viewed as a positive experience. Digital solutions hike up capacity, meaning businesses can secure and convert more work.


About Made Smarter Adoption North East

Made Smarter Adoption North East gives you an insight into what’s worked for other people before you dive into something yourself. It’s important to get a good understanding of the solutions out there and you need help and guidance from an expert to do that.

Made Smarter Adoption North East is a fully-funded business support programme that connects manufacturing businesses in the region to digital tools that can transform the way they work. Grants are available to help eligible businesses introduce new digital solutions that improve performance and efficiency.

Backed by world-renowned businesses and UK government, Made Smarter Adoption North East aims to drive growth in UK manufacturing by improving the development and adoption of emerging technologies across the sector.

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