Case study Manufacturing

Manufacturing efficiency improvements

Selecting and implementing the right ERP solution

Having made the decision to implement an ERP system, Dane Group turned to Waterstons to help them select the right solution and project manage the implementation

Challenge

Like many companies, Dane Group Plc realised that improvements could be made in their business processes to make them as efficient and lean as possible.

Dane decided to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution to manage the business across its two divisions. Senior management recognised assistance would be required to ensure the right system and supplier was chosen, and that its implementation was a success.

With experience in both the construction and manufacturing industries, Waterstons were chosen to take part in project managing the selection and implementation of Dane’s ERP system.

Solution

The project was phased, involving systems selection, standardisation of company procedures and system implementation stages.

Selecting the system
Waterstons followed their proven roadmap (outlined overleaf) to select the right ERP system:

  • A detailed business process review was undertaken to map the process for each department, allowing a structured approach and ensuring any future business requirements were included in the ITT.
  • The resulting process map made it easier to identify gaps in Dane’s requirements against the responses to the ITT.
  • The systems selection process resulted in ‘IFS Applications’ being chosen as the best solution for Dane.

Procedure Standardisation
Documentation within each functional department was standardised in preparation for the system’s implementation.

Managing the implementation
The Waterstons team was led by an experienced Project Manager fully accredited in PRINCE2 project management:

  • Waterstons worked with Dane and the vendor to ensure the successful implementation of the ERP system.
  • The Dane team was highly motivated to ensure the success of the project with Waterstons’ support at every stage: problems were anticipated and resolved; issues were escalated and managed; and risks were assessed throughout to ensure a smooth implementation.

Systems Selection

An IT system of this kind is a large investment for any organisation, so it is imperative the right system is chosen and implemented correctly. Dane recognised that purchasing a system that didn’t fit their business could generate a host of serious difficulties.

Invitation to Tender (ITT) and System Selection work is carried out frequently by Waterstons and we have struck up working relationships with a vast number of Software Suppliers. For this reason, Dane chose Waterstons to assist them in choosing the right system. Waterstons’ proven Systems Selection process ensured Dane purchased and implemented the right ERP solution for their business.

The time proven process that Waterstons followed in selecting the IFS Applications system incorporated the following roadmap:

  • Business process review
  • Creation of ITT
  • Issue of ITT
  • Initial analysis of responses
  • Short list of potential suppliers (encompassing technical and cost analyses)
  • Software demos: ensuring the right questions are asked
  • Assisted reference visits: to help with the assessment

Waterstons are completely independent of any software company so we can ensure that an informed and impartial choice is made.

Risk Management

An intrinsic part of project management is identifying risks and planning so that these risks can be removed, reduced or managed.

During the course of delivering the project, various challenges had to be overcome. Waterstons’ consultants were able to use their in-house training on change control, conflict management and highly focussed customer service to ensure that challenges did not become obstacles.

Waterstons assisted with mapping and comparing the existing processes with the new processes that would be used once IFS Applications was implemented. This allowed Dane’s team to better understand how the solution would work.

Benefits

The approach that Waterstons took ensured that the implementation was well-managed and completed in a timely manner.

Efficient working
Waterstons’ knowledge of Dane’s processes has meant that the system can be used effectively to share data throughout the business and to eliminate duplication.

Faster decision-making
The system has been designed to improve the quality of information to support strategic decisions.

There is now a central repository for all business information, allowing reporting to be fast and timely.

“The use of Waterstons throughout the process - from ITT specification to project managing the implementation - ensured a successful conclusion to this project. The streamlining of business processes and improved reporting has resulted in complete traceability of materials from design, purchasing, manufacturing to installation on site.”
Richard Bertram Finance Director