Advanced Manufacturing (Sheffield) spin out to world class

Dr. Gareth Morgan | Mark Hands

Managing Director | Operations Director

Supplying precision parts to global aerospace and energy companies is a brutal business. Recently, a customer of Advanced Manufacturing (Sheffield) Ltd, which provides components to Rolls-Royce for line-side assembly, told its suppliers it needed 100% on-time in-full delivery (OTIF) to reach “gold” level. Long term contracts and security are the prize for gold level. Many companies today have had to learn to operate in the 94% to 97% OTIF range but, for many, 100% remains hypothetical.


Today, average OTIF at AML is unrecognisable to that when it started life nine years ago, as a spin-out of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing.

"We have to aspire to be world-class operationally and that is where Access Group has helped."

Gareth Morgan, Managing Director


To read more download our FREE 'Digitalisation demystified for world-class SMEs' whitepaper


The company specialises in titanium and nickel alloy machining, manufacturing complex metallic parts and precision sub-assemblies. Asset performance in this environment is everything; AML runs three shifts as standard and delivers parts weekly. With shopfloor data capture, machine efficiency and worker-time data is logged at every operation, with the output data fed into Access FactoryMaster MRP and Orchestrate Scheduling software to inform daily production meetings.

Production staff can accurately record the time spent on each stage of the manufacturing process using a touch screen; it can log the time workers spend on and off jobs, for a complete view of what is happening on the shopfloor. Allowing all employees to share the data it provides has been transformative.

"We were at 67%-70% on-time delivery a few years ago. Our average delivery is now 97% and for some customers it’s up at 100%."

This is light years ahead of AML’s old production data system, where data was held on disparate Excel spreadsheets and departments were siloed. Staff had to search through the shop to find where parts were.


“Now we use bar code scanning and shopfloor data capture across the business, and all the departments have full visibility of what’s happening in the factory."

Dr Gareth Morgan, Managing Director


The operational data drawn from shopfloor capture informs daily production meetings, where staff can see live data from the day before. Greater visibility helps make better business decisions – and rather than having a potentially negative “Big Brother” effect, staff engagement has soared. Today the £3 million engineering business, which includes Siemens and Rolls-Royce among its customers, has a much more motivated and engaged workforce, partly as a result of using and seeing this data.

"Access FactoryMaster MRP gives us the opportunity almost to run the business from your desk. Everything happening on the shopfloor is accessible."

Mark Hands, Operations Director


To read more download our FREE 'Digitalisation demystified for world-class SMEs' whitepaper


AML synchronises Access FactoryMaster MRP with planning tool Access Orchestrate Planning and Scheduling, allowing the business to compare planned and actual rates of progress. This allows it to deploy available resources accurately and appropriately.

"In the past, we did not have a link from the live information back to the planned [production] time, therefore you could not forecast where output was going to be."

Dr Gareth Morgan, Managing Director


This links to deliveries which have become such a hot metric for their customers.

"This will support you if you can hit delivery dates consistently. But if you keep giving a “best guess” then you get into trouble and in the past, we did that. Using  Orchestrate, we can make accurate planning predictions and hit on-time deliveries.

We have to aspire to be world-class operationally and that is where Access Group has helped."

Dr Gareth Morgan, Managing Director