TTW Services Ltd.
TTW was set up in 1991 by Joe Wilkinson. The initials TTW stood
for The Three W's, these being Joe Wilkinson, Paul Wells
and Neil Whittington who were to form the initial team. It was subsequently
decided to omit Paul Wells - TTW now standing for The Two W's. As
it happened, Scott Wilkinson joined the team on the day that TTW
formally commenced operation, so once again TTW stands for The Three
W's! Over the years TTW has been used to stand for Transition
To Windows, Throughout TheWorld, Throughout The Winter
and one or two other less disclosable expressions!
The goal was to develop a fully functioning system for manufacturing
companies in the Windows environment which had just started to gain
some credibility at that time. Superbase was chosen for the development
of the product, eventually named WinMan, because Superbase was the
original Windows-based relational database management system.
The TTW team - centre front,Joe Wilkinson, (M.D.); to hisleft,
Scott Wilkinson; to his right Terry Brewer (TTW Inc.); back right,
Nick Jacobs (Technical Director); left of Nick, James Kimberley;
back left, Matt England.
From the beginning it was decided that the product would be sold
and initially supported by separate business partners. Systemware
Services Limited (SSL), located in Walsall in the West Midlands,
are currently responsible for the Sales and Marketing of WinMan
across most of the UK. TTW Services Limited in the Sussex head office
concentrate on the development of WinMan – taking it forward to
the next generation, the support of its business partners and direct
sales to clients in the immediate vicinity of the head office.
TTW Incorporated, in the U.S., was set up by Terry Brewer and Jonathan
Cranford in February 1994. Jonathan Cranford had previously been
part of TTW Ltd and went to the US to exploit the market there.
It was not long before TTW Inc. were demonstrating and implementing
WinMan across a wide variety of different applications. As the demand
and business has grown, more staff have been employed and more business
1992 and part of 1993 was spent developing WinMan, which was first
installed at a client's site in April 1993 and was probably the
first genuine native Windows Enterprise Resource Planning product
to be implemented anywhere. Today WinMan clients range in size from
small family-owned businesses to the largest, Lantec, in the U.S.
with over two hundred and fifty active users.
WinMan – Product and Customers
Today WinMan provides a complete and integrated manufacturing management
system for small to mid-sized manufacturers. WinMan provides the
solutions needed to gain control of all aspects of the business:
bill of materials, material requirements planning (MRP) integrated
purchasing, master production schedule (MPS), inventory control,
sales force management, purchasing and vendor contracts, job tracking,
fully integrated accounting, and much more.
The functionality and versatility of WinMan is clearly demonstrated
by the diverse client base ranging from American
Express who use WinMan in their centralized billing division
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Cardew
Design, who specialize in the design and manufacture
of ceramic teapots and who service both domestic and export markets
via independent retailers, distributors, their own retail outlets
and directly to the public through the ‘Collectors club’. Hydroflow
who manufacture filtration systems, vacuum filters and centrifuges
to clarify oils and emulsions, purchased WinMan as their sole commercial
application due to its comprehensive engineering, manufacturing,
materials and costing features. Since implementing
A WinMan Data Entry Screen - data can be entered in any sequence,
and all data is verified.
WinMan the management accounts are prepared and distributed within
two daysof the end of the month compared with two weeks previously.
Commissions to agents and reimbursements to service engineers are
now easily calculated and verified using queries written in-house
using the sophisticated in-house report writer. WinMan enables the
rapid re-engineering of a previously defined product to a new customer
The WinMan electronic user manual gives simple and clearguidance
for the user.
Lantech, whose main manufacturing
activity relates to high quality shrink wrapping equipment, have
to be able to offer a 10 day lead-time and such demands require
a high proportion of material availability and for the software
to reflect the manufacturing process and not restrict it in any
way. Lantech make extensive use of external KanBan and the ordering/
receiving/ vendor process is claimed by TTW to involve less user
input than any other system available anywhere in the world.
TTW was selected as a finalist for the Microsoft 'Leonardo' award
for technical innovation in manufacturing, for the Lantech implementation
of this two hundred and fifty user site in under three months. This
was certainly the first ERP system of such a size to be implemented
on the Microsoft Windows NT network operating system. Lantech say
that the payback for WinMan was achieved in less than six months
(the goal was a year).
S.E.W. Friel plant, pick and can corn, tomatoes and other vegetables
formajor food distributors. Approximately 120 million cans are processed
in the canning season between the months of July and September in
a typical year the equivalent of loading 5 jumbo jets a day
Friel selected WinMan because they wanted a fully integrated system
with manufacturing cost control and inventory serialization, lot
control and trace ability to comply with new regulations introduced
by the FDA. In view of the large volume of processing during the
canning season they also required a system powerful enough to process
more than 2000 manufactured items per day
Friel makes use of WinMan’s multi stock location facilities to
record the location, grade and sell by dates of each batch. The
system enables them to record the customer and delivery location
of each shipment
WinMan’s inherent trace provides full drill down capabilities from
the sales order item to the shipment, manufacturing order, original
component material receipt and purchase order.
Expert Developers using Superbase
Joe Wilkinson - M.D.
"As we concentrate entirely on development here in Sussex,
we would consider ourselves to be total experts in the use of Superbase.
We are using the current Superbase facilities for direct TCP/IP
connection so that it will work over the Net. The next generation
of our product is looking to reside quite naturally on the Internet
and that will just be part of our current product range, so whatever
happens, as things go on we move ahead. We always take into account
what Superbase is doing. We always incorporate new Superbase functionality
into our product and interpret it to our advantage. I’ve always
maintained from experience, that the real critical mass for developers,
the most effective team size, is four. If you know what your are
doing and you have the right skill sets, you can do almost anything
with a small number of people. In that sense we mirror Superbase.
We are applications people, we are not bits and bytes developers.
We know what people want to see on screens and how they want to
do things. So we complement what the Superbase team do."
Nick Jacobs -Technical Director
"The product is much better placed now as a developer’s product
than previously. It gives us the ability to be able to create and
modify our applications easily, and this ability is crucial
for some of our clients. At the moment with Lantec, our biggest
client, we are working on the modifications they want here, and
then e-mailing the code and table structure back to them in Kentucky.
If necessary we can turn stuff round in 36 – 48 hours. We can develop
for a client who is 3 – 4,000 miles away without the usual geographic
complications and cost."
WinMan is now totally object-driven. The aim was to develop a product
which would, if necessary, look after really small manufacture and
distribution companies. The essential ingredient in the companies
TTW deal with is that they handle material. Clients normally have
a material-handling problem which may or may not involve manufacturing,
and the idea was that by being an economical unit and by using an
inexpensive product like Superbase, a product could be put out for
a very small company and be cost-effective.
"We anticipated that PCs, peripherals and printers would decrease
in price. We thought the whole cost of ownership of intelligent
systems would come down. We are still staggered at the large cost
that the other significant developers charge for medium sized systems.
Entry prices from £100,000 to 150,000 for a 20 user system, are
frequently quoted which is just crazy, so the price of complete
systems isn’t moving down the way it should be. We still find that
people look at the price of our product
Cardew Design who specialise in the design and manufactureof
and then get nervous about it because it’s not expensive enough.
This perception still causes problems. But as market expectations
move in our direction we’ll become the norm as opposed to the exception.
We obviously have to overcome credibility problems, with some of
our major customers.
A good example is the work we have done for American Express at
their distribution centre in Florida. A 250,000 sq ft facility,
all it does is print statements. They were using SAP. SAP required
a minimum, up front of $350,000 even to talk about the product.
We did it, and made a good profit on it, for $35,000. So we’ve also
proved that Superbase is scaleable. It will run on large NT networks,
and run efficiently and quickly enough."
"We support two of our largest clients from here, notwithstanding
we have an American support operation. They are quite happy – I
guess support is an attitude of mind."
TTW provides comprehensive support and service to maximize the
clients' investment in WinMan. Based on the input they receive from
users and business partners they continually improve customer services.
WinMan is designed to be user friendly but if the client has questions
about WinMan, there are several options for obtaining help: ·
For the key sites supported, TTW can replicate the client’s exact
systemin-house, enabling anyone at TTW to support the client remotely.
In addition, WinMan comes with an extensive and very clear electronic
user manual and FAQ file, and of course clients can fax or email
queries to the team. The WinMan website contains an area for registered
users where up-to-date technical bulletins, the customer newsletter,
FAQs, and program and utility downloads are available.
The WinMan site can be found at http://www.winman.com.