Based in Cambridge, Ziath is a manufacturing company that makes devices for tracking biological samples in medical applications and life science research. With offices in US, Japan and the Netherlands as well as 30 people worldwide, they have about 8-9 base products which together with product variations result in about 50 SKU’s.

Founded in 2005, Ziath develops innovative new products designed to simplify processes in life science organisations, from academia, to the biotech and pharma industries. Find more information about Ziath by clicking here.

“Prior to us looking for ERP there was lots of panic about things going wrong. Like how the hell did we run out of something? We were getting an order in and although we thought our stock control was ok, we were then opening the box and find out that the part we needed wasn’t there. Therefore, there was a lot of panic to get component parts. It happened all the time.”

“We were using Excel but basically, we were not able to cope with that, it became unmanageable.”

In addition to that if a customer had something for instance that required return and repair, we were not able to trace properly if they had a warranty or what was the serial number for that. We didn’t have an idea for it.”

Neil Benn – Managing Director


1. Stock control

2. Tracking who had what? What have we sold to whom?

3. Tracking when we sold it to them

4. Serial numbers

5. Consistency of record keeping

“We had no knowledge about ERP whatsoever when we decided to start looking. We knew we had a problem that needs solving.”

Neil Benn – Managing Director

“We started looking into ERP when we started selling more than 1 or 2 units a month. We now sell 40 to 50.”

“In addition, there were a few other things that drove us to have an ERP system implemented. One was working on spreadsheets. That became unmanageable and second was the threat of audits from different suppliers. We knew that if they turn up and we give them a bunch of Excel sheets they probably won’t be very impressed, and we were going to fail those audits.”

“However, the fact that we couldn’t track parts, we couldn’t track stock it was getting way too complicated.”

At what stage of business development was Ziath when you decided to invest into an ERP solution?

“We had 5 staff and 250k GBP revenue, but we knew we had a problem that needs solving therefore we started doing some internet searches and Manu came up in various of them.”

Neil Benn – Managing Director

Challenges – Implementation

Many companies in the early stages are fearful about the implementation of ERP solution therefore it was interesting to find out how did Ziath manage to cope with that.

“At first implementation did not go well. For instance, a lot of people in the warehouse were struggling to understand how to get this to work, how to add the correct information into the system, how to set things and track things properly.”

You must do what the system is telling you to do, otherwise it will go wrong!”

“It must be a culture change for this to work. As time went by, we got people to understand that if you put the right information it works, and if you put the wrong information then it doesn’t.”

“When we got close to what we needed we started to see real benefits: Who has what product and where it is. We got the data right, and we had a transformative change, in stock control particularly.”

“Having a methodical mindset is very important for a manufacturing business. It helped everyone in the company to learn how to have this methodical manufacturing mindset!”

“Because we have a defined structured system it encourages us to process and feed into this. To be better at defining the things we are doing. The Manu Online system will not like if you start doing things sloppy and the system will tell you that.”

Neil Benn – Managing Director


Results – What Ziath says

“Far less unexpected shortages. We have much improved stock control, less instances for the assembly person going to open a box and finding out everything is in there or nothing in.”

Stock control in order.

“In addition, if someone says to us that they have a product with the serial number “xyz” we can see to whom we shipped it and when it was shipped. We have traceability of when, where, and what.”

Serial number tracking and traceability

“Furthermore, if someone gives us the serial number of a product, for instance in the event of a return and repair, I can type in the serial number and find out does it have a warranty, what part number, etc. especially when we have many variations on our products, where we sent it too. This have been beneficial. We record all our manufacturing operation in Manu.”

Work orders & Sales Orders

“Because of this defined structured system we have become better at defining the things we are doing. You must make everyone understand the change so they can add the data needed to make the system work.  It helped everyone in the company to learn how to have a methodical manufacturing business which is important in this industry.”


We asked Neil if he thinks that Manu Online contributed directly to the growth of the company. And his answer was:

“Yes, absolutely, without Manu Online we would be in an utter disaster.”

Neil Benn – Managing Director

How We Helped

  • Automate business processes to be more efficient: “We type a serial number in the system, and we get a full record of that product, what, when, where.
  • Introduce LEAN manufacturing processes to grow faster: “We went from 250k and 5 staff to 2.5mil GBP and 30 staff using Manu ERP for the past 10 years.”
  • Reduce inventory costs, speed up throughput, increase profit: “The assembly guy doesn’t have the instances where he goes and checks in the box and nothing is there, or everything is in there”
  • Connect systems such as sales, warehousing, inventory, logistics and finance for real-time visibility: “We had a look at other systems, but they were not as good for tracking serial numbers and lot numbers as Manu
  • Access anywhere with internet connection: “When we first came across Manu, we found it quite unusual that it was in the Cloud, this was good because there weren’t many cloud systems at that point.”
  • No expensive upfront costs: “We had a look at other ERP solutions but the amount of customisation, the cost per year running and set up was quite large. Plus, some of the others weren’t as focused hardcore on manufacturing so for us they weren’t what we needed. Manu cost was good”

“Manu Online has been very good at giving us a canonical source for sales orders and work orders. We tweaked ourselves to what Manu was doing and we got great results.”

Neil Benn – Managing Director, Ziath

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Case Study Ziath