The A Team
With increasing demands for IT systems at every level and in every department of the business, all of door and window–maker Apeer’s demands are handled by its own in–house IT team.
IT leader Eddie McStravick described his department and its goals: “We now have six in the team, all with computer science degrees or studying for appropriate qualifications. Our core brief is to pursue greater efficiency throughout the business and at the core of this is our manufacturing system, built entirely from scratch.
“There are some excellent proprietary digital management and production systems available in the market and we use one or two: but there was nothing that suited our needs perfectly, which included a focus on employees. Through the system we created, everyone involved in production is tracked from the point where they clock in, with the system then allocating jobs and tasks with processes then closely monitored. This runs through all of our production processes and also quality control, which is achieved using the latest digital imaging technology. So far it has taken 7 years to develop and we are constantly improving it. “
Faultless quality and customer satisfaction go hand in hand of course: no amount of so–called– ‘support’ will keep customers happy if the products consistently show faults. “Our primary focus is always on customers,” insists Eddie. “Our products must meet customer expectations and our systems have been designed to firstly prevent problems, and on the occasion when a problem does arise it must be identified and rectified immediately, thus ensuring consistently high quality reaching the customers and of course, their customers.”
Apeer’s IT team is comprised of four developers plus a trainee, with Eddie at the helm. The department is totally self–contained with no outreach to additional services: “We are responsible for every aspect of Apeer’s IT–based requirements,” said Eddie. “That includes Doorbuilder, our online door design facility which we have recently re–launched after a major update; and we have also built an app called ApeerSnap which shows our KPI’s and targets.
When asked where he draws his inspiration and enthusiasm for IT from Eddie cited Apple as being one of his most important influences: “I am incredibly impressed by Apple technology and what it allows us all to do. And virtualisation is fascinating and offers us so many possibilities, to create and test ideas before committing to tooling for example.