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November 26, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

Software house and management consultancy Kewill Systems Plc, Waltham-on-Thames, Surrey, continues to weather the economic storm, reporting pre-tax profits up 11% at just under UKP2m for the six months to September 30 on turnover up 35% at UKP21.5m. The UK’s performance is well up, in terms of trading profits, which were up by 51% to UKP1.2m, though revenues were off 13% at UKP6.3m; the rest of Europe saw profits fall 4% to UKP722,000 on turnover up 89% at UKP13.4m, following the acquisition of Weigang MCS GmbH back in May (CI No 1,671); and the US, which Kewill says is picking up quite rapidly now, reported profits down 36% at UKP174,000 on revenues up 6% at UKP174,000. The company is focusing its efforts currently on getting Germany right Stuttgart-based Weigang, which was operating at a loss at the time of acquisition, is now profitable and is expected to be on track by the end of the year. Staff numbers have so far been cut to 80 from 130, but another 10 to 20 jobs will be axed before Kewill is through with its streamlining programme. Once the German company is ready, says chairman Kevin Overstall, we’ll bring XIS (the company’s executive information system) to the German market. Omicron’s new XIS product now has 10 customers, including the bookseller chain, Waterstones, in the UK. The product is currently available in phases one and two. Phase one, the financial modules, includes sales ledger, purchase ledger, general ledger, payroll and fixed assets, with Executive Information System links; phase two, the Business System, consists of sales order processing and invoicing modules, with links to CAD/CAM. Phase three, XIS Materials Management, including master production scheduling, materials requirement planning and costing modules, is due for release in February, while phase four – XIS Production Management – will come out sometime later in the year. The product is sold both direct and via dealers including Touchstone and MicroAge, and the majority of the 10 existing customers host the system on IBM’s RS/6000. Pick software house Trifid, which had been having a hard time of it as Prime Computer, McDonnell-Douglas and Bull all abandoned their direct sales outlets for Pick, has now resolved its problems, adopting a Pick-under-Unix approach with IBM, and is now well in the black. On projects, Sharron Burgmeier says Kewill’s CIM 2000 computer-integrated manufacturing proposal to the Department of Trade & Industry has been accepted, with net funding expected to be around UKP900,000. The aim of the project, on which Kewill is collaborating with three end users and Cambridge University, is to develop strategic manufacturing modelling tools. Of the three management project proposals submitted to the Esprit III board, Compass and SF2000 are expected to go through for consideration. The former, in the area of performance measurement, is valued at UKP1.6m net, and is due to last three years; the latter, in collaboration with AEG AG programme managers and again targeted to take three years, is in the area of shop floor management and is valued at UKP2.2m.

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