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Growth – Innovation – Prosperity

Synchro ERP Ltd - the leading global provider of specific software systems to the metal casting industry celebrates its 40th anniversary. Barbara Nolan Collins, who has helped build the company into the successful business it is today, looks back at the history of the company.
The story began in Birmingham University in 1974 when university lecturer Trevor Law and his student designed a simple software production control programme. Foundries introduced to the software saw the value, uptake was greater than initial expectation had predicated and with significant government grants available this was a marriage of opportunity. 
In 1975 Dewtec Systems Ltd was founded. The company grew quickly taking the opportunity to be ‘the first’ providing a production control system specific to foundries. The company, based in the West Midlands, grew moving to larger premises on a semi regular basis to accommodate expansion. 
The software grew from the initial basic production control function, expanding to a trend in newer language design focusing on programming for larger scale systems through the use of modules. This then dictated the obvious business model - every customer could purchase separate modules according to their requirements and expand when the necessity arose. With the optional software support contract being approximately 18 per cent of the total modules purchased; companies took the contract thus providing a reliable cash flow stream.
In the first 18/20 years several software rewrites ensued, MRP and MRP II (material requirement planning) were developed specifically for the casting industry. The company expanded into the United States and business was booming. 
The challenges of the growing business inevitably meant some important aspects were either being ignored or some team members were not doing the best job with a view to the future survival of the business. The software industry was changing fast…

When no one was listening
Chris Collins the R&D programmer at Dewtec had serious concerns, and felt looming issues were not being addressed such as the impending year 2000 and the impact of Windows on the future of the industry. In 1994 he left Dewtec to develop a Windows version. Dewtec prioritised its resources into a year 2000 re-write, however the software was written as a DOS application, an excellent language but Collins felt it was not going to be the ‘future’ for any software developer.
He spent months working night and day developing a foundry-based Windows system, with little resource he achieved this and within 18 months the system was ready to use.

An honest approach 
The traditional business model of selling each module did not appeal to Collins who favoured a different approach. The new system would be leased with no upfront cost per module and no separate support contract but a simple all inclusive model - with all modules, support and upgrades attached to a cost per license. This approach would open up the system to smaller foundries, which were unable to fund, or were reluctant to spend large upfront fees on MRP/ERP software systems. This business model lends itself to long-term relationships, longevity and commitment, there could be no ‘here today and could not care less about tomorrow’ attitude. 
“Chris and I created a company with strong moral values: every customer would pay the same published pricing; customer care would be outstanding; unlike typical customer experience, communication would be a priority; there would be no company loans; a development stream would be maintained and we would explore new languages and emerging technologies,” said Barbara Nolan Collins. “The Synchro team would want to remain loyal because they felt valued.” 
In March 2006 Dewtec Systems Ltd went into liquidation and Synchro ERP Ltd purchased the company.

Business is healthy, robust and driven with passion
Barbara is clear about why the company has succeeded: “Synchro is selective about the business we take on, not all business is good business after all we are in the business of satisfying customers,” she said.
“Synchro ERP Ltd is currently the global market leader with offices in the UK, USA, Germany, Spain, South Africa and Brazil; with agents in India and China. We have an amazing team behind our success, with a global implementation team and full support in a variety of languages the company grows from strength to strength.” 
Chris Collins enthuses: “We are not born knowing how to grow and succeed in business, every day brings new challenges. Both my wife and I are still in love with this journey. We are immensely proud of this 40th anniversary - well done Team Synchro.”
Contact: Barbara Nolan Collins, marketing director, Synchro ERP, email: barbaranolan@synchroerp.com web: www.synchroerp.com