Case study Manufacturing

ERP System Review

Ensuring value is delivered from a critical system

API engaged Waterstons to review their legacy ERP system, determining the optimal direction for the system and ultimately deciding whether there were any reasons why an upgrade path should not be followed. It was important to ensure that the decisions made complemented the business’ long term strategy.

System Review

A team of Waterstons Business Technology Consultants conducted an objective review of the ERP system functionality and usage through a series of interviews and a two day workshop on site in Livingston, Scotland. The interviews were undertaken over two days and involved a one to one dialogue with most of the process team leaders. During these two days a tour of the factory was included to see the manufacturing processes in action first hand.

The interviews allowed Waterstons to understand the current systems and their role, in addition to the business processes that are served by the legacy ERP system or not served at all. This helped to identify potential areas for improvement and areas for future investment.

The Findings

The Waterstons team was led by an experienced Project Manager fully accredited in PRINCE2 project management.

The project highlighted the findings, identified risks and independently recommended a way forward for API.

  • There were significant inefficiencies and single points of failure impacting on data quality, efficiency and overall reporting.
  • Many key processes were managed outside the current system, e.g. the use of multiple spread sheets.
  • Research conducted found ERP solutions available that would better fit API’s requirements than an upgrade to the current system. Differences in costs between the various options were not as great as first assumed.
  • The work included a review of the existing system’s roadmap and recommendations around the suitability of an upgrade to the current product versus the implementation of a replacement product.


As a result of the System Review, Waterstons identified the elements key to choosing a best fit ERP system for API that can be used as a basis for a System Selection:

  • Holistic view of company data allowing improvements in data quality and efficiencies in process.
  • Reduction in data transfer between systems and removal of duplication allowing a single version of all information to be shared across the company.
  • Documented and streamlined system processes to replace manual workarounds.
  • Clarity of costing and margins achieved across the board.
  • Scalability and security for the future.

There were several short term improvements or ‘quick wins’ recommended by Waterstons which could make a difference immediately with little or no investment. These included exercises to improve visibility of stock across locations; knowledge sharing; changes in processes and some simple business process reengineering.

Process Review

A critical part of the Waterstons approach is the review of current systems and processes. This provides the fundamental foundation for a subsequent system review. Combining Waterstons’ experience with their structured approach allows for system review projects to be executed efficiently and effectively.

Waterstons are able to understand how the business operates and define what processes and systems are in place. It is common for companies to have challenges around the level of standardisation and integration and Waterstons are able to help prioritise these challenges and provide recommendations to move forward. Recommendations will incorporate both quick wins and long term strategic activities.

ERP System Selection

Selecting and implementing an ERP system is a major investment and decision for any organisation, so it is critical that the correct system is chosen.

As part of the ERP selection, certain infrastructure decisions have to be made. Through our experience and knowledge, we are able to guide clients through these decisions.

Process and system assessment is frequently carried out by Waterstons and we have established a deep understanding of process challenges over a broad range of markets. Waterstons specialise in the manufacturing sector and through this have established specific understanding of the market challenges and opportunities.

Risk Management

Waterstons provide business case support by identifying risks and their mitigation, in addition to high level costings and return on investment.

Risks are identified and are thoroughly reviewed and managed throughout the project lifecycle.

Suggestions on their mitigations as well as a project plan are provided. This ensures the the project sponsors are aware of possible risks, their likelihood of occurring and their impact before, during and after implementation.

Our experience in the market of systems and infrastructure solutions, in addition to our vendor independence makes this possible.

The Waterstons team provided the complete review we needed to understand the business systems options available to us - and the impacts of those options. It was a vital deliverable in our IT and Business Strategy
Chris Smith Group CFO

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