Duckworth & Kent moves to full automation and intuitive warehouse management

“As a global operator running manual processes across a multi-distribution system, it was clear that there was a need for us to move to a modern solution for process automation and easy data access. As a long-standing customer of BrightBridge, the NetSuite solution was recommended by their specialist team as powerful and highly customisable; the cost of the updates we needed in Sage was on par with migration to NetSuite, so there was no doubt we should switch to an integrated cloud architecture and reap the rewards.”
Andrew Waldock, Chairman and Medical Director
Duckworth & Kent
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  • Industry

    Ophthalmic instruments manufacturer

  • Location

    Hertfordshire, UK

  • Challenges

    Multiple unconnected systems and dashboards

    Business visibility inefficient and unsustainable

    Lack of futureproofing and scalability

  • Products Implemented

    • Oracle NetSuite – the leading multi-company, multi-currency and regulatory financial platform in the cloud – employed as the robust foundation
    • Implementation of NetSuite MME OneWorld for manufacturing
      • Financial ledgers
      • Order processing and invoicing
      • CRM
      • Purchasing and inventory control
      • Assemblies and works orders

Duckworth & Kent (D&K) is a leading global manufacturer of high-quality titanium reusable ophthalmic instruments, and distributes its range of more than 500 products worldwide. The family business chose BrightBridge to design and implement a NetSuite OneWorld solution to free it from the shackles of executing time-consuming business tasks, integrate warehouse operations and access the real-time data needed to facilitate a 360-degree company view.

Out-of-development Sage isn’t a patch on up-to-the-minute NetSuite

As a Sage system user for many years, D&K felt it needed to embrace a cloud-based system and move away from a Sage solution that has reached the end of its development lifecycle – why invest in optimisation of a legacy product? D&K wanted to improve flexibility within the organisation, achieve the agility required in a changing landscape and gain full automation with an intuitive warehouse management and financials solution. Ultimately, D&K craved a state-of-the-art futureproof, scalable software architecture and Sage did not meet these requirements.

Automation of business operations provides efficiency and flexibility, and negates downtime

D&K was executing business tasks such as accounting, sales order processing and warehouse operations manually. There was no easy way of accessing the real-time data needed to facilitate informed business decisions – the company was heavily reliant on paper reports for key business information such as sales figures. There was also a requirement to close down their Sage system for the end of month process, as well as the end of year financials. This was restrictive to operations, including to the team members involved in this process when it came to taking annual leave.

The automation capacity set up within NetSuite by BrightBridge negates this month and year end downtime. With automation of tasks such as customer statements and remittance generation and sending, the valuable time of accounts operatives is considerably freed up. The firm can also be largely paperless, with headed paper now replaced with electronic templates, created by BrightBridge within NetSuite.

Connecting vital elements to streamline multi-location warehouse management

With D&K utilising a system of three distribution operations,  whose systems were not linked, the processes were open to errors and the manual execution of tasks laborious and time consuming. With disparate information sources, it was impossible to get a real-time view of operations across the business.

When it came to stock checking and ordering, the company relied on manual processes that involved generating job numbers, printing of job cards for items that were nearing end of stock and creating individual cards for out-of-stock items. The ordering of these items would then be manually processed. The procedure would incur hours of work, with repetitive input of supplier and customer details across multiple documents, presenting not just a mammoth resource investment but also carrying a huge error risk.

With BrightBridge’s integrated NetSuite architecture in place, the process is now automated, meaning a stock check, management and ordering is a one-touch process executed in minutes. There is also the capability to set preferred stock levels, so operatives can take a step back from order and stock management. Elements such as production planning, parts ordering, stock and sales orders and customer service are connected, and the three warehouse site operations are now fully integrated.

Ensuring streamlined customer experience, team training and customisation of solution

As a NetSuite partner with high-level solution expertise, BrightBridge can customise the solution to meet the specific needs of the business it is working with. Working closely with the team at D&K, BrightBridge was able to ensure that the warehouse management elements of the solution were created around their unique requirements and its three sites.

With a real requirement to ensure the transition to the new system would not affect customer experience, BrightBridge prioritised making the process seamless: D&K received stock, took orders and shipped on day one of ‘go live’.


“The system has simply revolutionised the way we operate and we have more time to really focus on areas of importance to the business. The access to real-time data allows us to gain one version of the truth – which is something we absolutely could not access before – and the difference this makes to our decision-making is immense. BrightBridge’s knowledge and dedication to developing a solution that works for us has already been incredibly impactful and we look forward to exploring more features of the solution in phases.” Andrew Waldock, Chairman and Medical Director

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