Resource type: Case study

Western Mechanical Handling

Western Mechanical Handling UK Ltd (WMH) is a family owned company with over 40-years’ experience in the automation of production lines for the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Western Mechanical Handling
“The digital technology we have introduced to manage our business has dramatically improved how we do things and we are seeing many advantages.” – John Tomnlinson

Based in Callington, WMH designs and builds bespoke solutions to meet specific production requirements. They produce equipment that automates production within factories; such as for the production of quiche, Yorkshire Puddings and pork pies. They have recently launched a new product range which automates the cutting and slicing of cakes and savouries.

The Opportunity

The company has enjoyed a long period of successful trading but wanted to grow and increase production. They were keen to improve processes and increase capacity.

Founder John Tomlinson explains:

“We were looking for an IT solution with end to end integration which could reduce or eliminate the duplication of input and effort needed to keep all parts of the production system accurate and up to date.”

The Solution – A Tailored ERP System

Helen Northcott, who is the lead for Sales and Marketing, approached Superfast Business Cornwall to get some impartial advice. Digital Business Adviser, Paul Bartell, worked with her on the development of an ICT strategy, to ensure that their back-office systems could be fully integrated to save time and to improve efficiency.

Helen says:

“In order to have seamless integration between the business operations, we were looking to replace software and use a tailored Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.”

An impartial ICT expert funded by Superfast Business Cornwall helped Western Mechanical Handling to map out the different software options available to boost their efficiency and productivity as well as integrating their payroll and accounting needs.

Paul commented:

“It was great working with Helen and the team from Western Mechanical Handling. Helen was keen to have an ICT strategy and also wanted to improve the social media presence of the company. She attended Superfast Business Cornwall‘s ‘Technology for Business Growth’ Workshop and a Masterclass on digital branding. She also took on board the results of a review of their website. The business is now equipped to support the next growth stage of the company.”

The Impact for Western Mechanical Handing

The company expects to see reduction in both production times and costs.

John Tomlinson added:

“We are developing ultra-sonic precision cutting equipment and we want to build on our previous busy year. We moved to new premises and introduced new machinery, we have considerably increased our capacity. Alongside this, the digital technology we have introduced to manage our business has dramatically improved how we do things and we are seeing many advantages.”

Interested in growing your business using digital technology and adopting systems integration?

The role of system integration is to get all of your software systems and business applications – the ones you have in the cloud and any software you have installed on servers in your office – working together.  Benefits can include:

  • Boosting productivity – enabling different systems to work together can deliver significant productivity benefits, with employees no longer having to manually input the same data into separate programs
  • Streamlining processes – integration can result in greater efficiency by helping to eliminate manual processes, enhance existing IT processes or add value through new features
  • Better management information – you can gain an up-to-date overview of how your business is performing far quicker from a single integrated system than if you run several different systems
  • Cost – integration can significantly reduce the cost and time involved in maintaining and updating several systems
Further resources : Informative, free-to-access, online guides and more

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Created for small to medium sized businesses based in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, this practical bank of information contains free to access in-depth guides, top tips, case studies, videos, blogs and more. The content is impartial and written in plain English.

The benefits of adopting digital technology


Funded by ERDF, Superfast Business Cornwall provides a fully funded programme of support to help businesses understand, adopt and exploit digital technology for growth. Delivered by a small team of experienced Digital Business Advisers, the service offers 1-2-1 impartial advice, website reviews, workshops for small groups and advice on connectivity to Superfast Broadband. Grant funding may also be available for new digital projects which help businesses grow and create jobs.

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