The people and history behind FLAGS Software

FLAGS Software is part of Touch Systems, one of the leading software development companies in the UK. Founded in 1989 by university friends Nick Elkin and Richard Gamlin, Touch Systems has revolutionised quality inspections for assembly line manufacturers. In fact, we created the very first pen-based touchscreen application to be commercially available in the UK.

Nearly 30 years on and Nick and Richard are still at the helm. Nick heads up FLAGS Software while Richard manages our sister brand, Clarity Software. Business Development Manager Sam Yarnall and Head of Product Development Richard Mott support Nick, along with the rest of our passionate, dedicated team based in Solihull, UK. Across the pond, Gary Halford runs our North America branch from Ontario, Canada.

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Touch Systems is founded

Software engineers Nick Elkin and Richard Gamlin found Touch Systems.

1989
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FLAGS Software is launched

Pioneering touchscreen technology, FLAGS Software allows users to capture the exact location of faults with the tap of a finger. Quality inspectors plug their hand-held terminals into their desktop computers at the end of a shift to transfer the information. This early use of touchscreen technology was 17 years before the first iPhone was released.

Jaguar becomes our first client

Attracted by the speed and precision offered by FLAGS Software, Jaguar starts using FLAGS to improve the accuracy of quality inspections in their paint shop.

1990
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Introduction of stylus pen

FLAGS Software now translates words written with a stylus pen into computerised text – allowing for an even higher level of detail to be captured, stored and tracked.

Inspection precision today 1992
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Land Rover implements FLAGS Software

Today, Jaguar Land Rover uses FLAGS across five different plants in two continents.

1993
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FLAGS becomes wireless

Rather than having to plug terminals into computers to upload information, FLAGS Software can now transmit data using radio waves. This means the overall number and type of faults found can be collated in real time. Manufacturers can spot trends and investigate emerging issues in minutes instead of weeks.

1995
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We welcome Bentley as a client

Bentley adopts FLAGS Software in order to drive the premium quality of their product.

1997
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FLAGS allows for the automatic capture of data

While we can’t take credit for introducing the automation of manufacturing processes (introduced in the late 1940s), we can claim to be the first to introduce the automatic capture of process data. Around 1998, FLAGS Software starts recording critical information from the paint shop, such as the oven temperature and how long products stay in the dip.

1998
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Komatsu implements FLAGS Software

Already well established in the automotive arena, FLAGS Software branches into a new industry with leading mining and construction equipment manufacturer Komatsu.

2000
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FLAGS starts texting

In around 2003, we enhanced FLAGS with SMS technology. A huge step forward in real-time information sharing; now engineers, managers – anyone with a mobile phone – can receive notifications directly from production line machines. People can be alerted to faults or the movement of products, wherever they are.

See notifications 2003
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Widespread information collation

With the ability to extract data from various points along the production line, the natural progression for FLAGS Software was to collate this information. By bringing together previously fragmented data into a centralised dashboard, FLAGS enables users to make better informed decisions.

2004
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We break into America with Amtrak

Amtrak adopt FLAGS Software to optimise rail carriage production and quality.

2005
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Quality control process enforcement

Employees are empowered to work smarter with the introduction of quality inspection checklists. Rather than having to remember which checks to perform, quality inspectors can follow a series of questions within FLAGS. Inspections are standardised, guaranteeing products are put through the same paces.

Explore quality control 2006
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Our client list is shaken (not stirred) up with the addition of Aston Martin

We are proud to welcome prestigious car manufacturer Aston Martin as a client of FLAGS Software.

2008
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Workflow optimisation is introduced

FLAGS can now assign actions, targets and ownership to specific points throughout the manufacturing process – and compare actual performance to business KPIs. The implications of this new technology are significant and far-reaching. Businesses can now have full visibility of their plant’s performance in real time and easily identify opportunities for improvement.

Explore workflow optimisation 2010
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We enter the injection moulding industry with Rosti

Rosti is a global leader in the manufacturing and supply of injection moulded products. We are pleased to add Rosti to our fast growing list of clients.

Our USA expansion continues with Malibu Boats

Word spreads across the States of the impact of FLAGS Software on production line efficiency. We are proud to implement FLAGS at the plants of Tennessee-based water sports boat manufacturer, Malibu Boats.

2015
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100% in-process inspections

Before our latest enhancements to FLAGS Software, gap and flushness tests would require products to be taken out of the production line process. Thanks to increased integration ability, FLAGS Software can now ‘talk’ to measurement systems that perform these tests – both providing and extracting data. This means manufacturers can now perform inspections 100% ‘in process’.

Vision inspection integration

2016 also saw vision inspection integration added to the ever-increasing capabilities of FLAGS Software. Now bespoke product specifications – as defined at point of sale – can be automatically checked before roll off.

Motor Coach Industries comes on board

Illinois-based bus manufacturer Motor Coach Industries becomes our latest client.

Discover System Integration 2016
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The future

With technology developing faster than ever before, we are genuinely excited about what the next few years hold for FLAGS Software. We currently have a team dedicated to innovation and researching the potential applications of emerging technologies.

2016