Case Studies - Mechatherm International 

Web Application Ensures Data Consistency To Parts Inventory

Mechatherm International
Software Developers

3 developers, 1 manager

Software Technologies

BBWT

Blueberry updated a legacy Access system for industrial engineering company, Mechatherm International, to a modern browser-delivered application that manages all aspects of documentation required for the design, supply and commissioning of furnace equipment.

The Requirements

Mechatherm International Limited, based in the West Midlands, has been designing and supplying furnace equipment predominantly for the aluminium industry since their formation in 1973.

They are a growing business delivering projects worldwide. Each of their projects requires a complex list of parts to be manufactured and procured for each bespoke installation. Until they went looking for a new software partner in late 2013, the technology they were using to support their £12M turnover business was predominantly Access databases, with many variants of their “Partpack” database thrown in, creating real headaches in terms of data consistency.

Their previous attempt to move their software forward, using Sharepoint, had been fairly unsuccessful, with poor user adoption.

When Blueberry was brought on board to design a whole new replacement system, there was a special request: the system should have the same Access look-and-feel because of the familiarity of the old GUI (graphical user interface) with their existing user base.

Our Solution

We developed a browser-delivered application linked into Mechatherm’s Active Directory (AD) for authentication.

The system was built using our BBWT web application framework, and was designed to retain the old Access look and feel – but still purrs under the bonnet!

All projects are now held within the same SQL database, so there’s no need to keep loading new databases. Lazy loading of very large document lists further increases page load speeds, since data outside of viewing is not loaded until the user scrolls to it.

The application is also integrated into Mechatherm’s finance system (Opera) via APIs which enable them to raise orders to suppliers and obtain financial information.

The Results

The new system manages all projects (as individual Access databases) from Document Control, Ordering, Packing and Despatch to the end-client sites.

Because the GUI design intentionally mimics the previously well-adopted Access system, the existing users were very pleased with the replacement system.