“The transition to a new ERP-system is a large investment and risky process. We have been given careful guidance in this regard.”
“After rapid growth as a result of international acquisitions, industrial supplier ELCEE wanted to stream line and optimize their information processes. Together with Skopos, a process analysis was carried out, a blueprint was drafted and a new ERP supplier was selected and contracted. “The basis for further growth has been laid.”
ELCEE is a supplier of engineered and standard mechanical industrial components and assemblies. Business units are located in, among others, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden. ELCEE is also active in Asia, particularly in China, where many purchasing activities take place. In recent years ELCEE has experienced a substantial growth. As a dominant player in a fragmented market, various acquisitions were made, not only in the aforementioned European countries, but also in Belgium, Denmark and Poland. As a result of the acquisitions, but also as a result of organic growth, turnover of ELCEE rose in three years’ time from forty to more than one hundred million euros.
The upside of all these acquisitions is, that the organisation now has the scale and strength to compete on a European level. At the same time, the integration of several smaller companies into the main organisation, brought some growing pains. “They all had their own way of working and their own ERP package”, says Richard Meeuwissen, COO of ELCEE Group B.V. One and a half years ago, Richard joined ELCEE with the task of optimising all logistics and information processes for the entire ELCEE group. As part of this project, Skopos was asked to perform the process analysis, to draft a blueprint and to supervise the selection of a supplier, as well as the contracting for the selected system.
Bottlenecks mapped out
“What we were looking for was financial consolidation, a better understanding of key sales figures, , and improving our productivity. In addition, streamlining warehouse logistics and the purchasing activities were also important to us” says Meeuwissen. “Our desire was to have one ERP package for the whole company. To makes this happen, we first had to map out the systems and current work processes in ELCEE, in order to find out where the bottlenecks were located. Also, we wanted an ERP-blueprint to capture our critical processes and information needs, not only in the present situation, but also in the future.“
“What appealed to us at Skopos was their hands-on mentality. They makes complex matter accessible, both in terms of software and change management.” Especially the latter aspect is sometimes underestimated by companies during the transition to a new ERP system, Meeuwissen knows. “After all, you have to deal with key users who are used to a certain system. When moving to a new system, it is important that these users receive the right attention and guidance.”
Attention for key users
Over the course of the project, a number of shifts in approach took place. Initially, the preservation of the current system was not ruled out, but during the process analysis phase Skopos and ELCEE concluded that it was not possible to make sufficient adjustments to the current system. Gilde Buy Out Partners, an investment company that took an interest in ELCEE halfway through the process, solidified the move towards the implementation of a new package. “They acknowledge the great importance of a single system in which up-to-date figures can be retrieved at any moment. They saw this as the prerequisite for being able to take the company to the next level..” Consultancy company PWC carried out an audit on the project. “They were positive about the way we have approached the project, as well as the support we received from Skopos.”
At least as important as the knowledge and skills that Skopos brought to the table, was the “mirror” that Meeuwissen and his colleagues were regularly presented with. “Skopos asked critical questions, such as why we organised processes in a certain way or why certain configurations had been made.” The group of key users were continuously involved in the process. “The group was called in at the right time, so that we could evaluate where we stood and where potential risks and pitfalls were. Jan-Willem Ruessink, who supervised the project on behalf of Skopos, always had a keen sense with his knowledge of change management. We have experienced this as very pleasant.”
The right focus and planning
The project from process analysis to contracting the chosen supplier, took eight months in total. A process on which Meeuwissen looks back, with satisfaction. “The project has been given the right focus and planning to get us, where we are today. You are talking about a large investment and risky project, and we have been given careful guidance on that.” Parallel to the creation of the blueprint, Skopos and ELCEE drafted a long list of ERP suppliers, it was later reduced to a shortlist of two suppliers. These were invited for demo sessions, during which we carefully checked whether the offered solutions were consistent with the needs outlined in the blueprint.”
After selection, Skopos also negotiated with the selected supplier. “Important, thinks Meeuwissen, because an ERP-implementation is something in which companies usually build up little experience. As an organisation, you might do a selection and implementation once every ten years. The experience that Ruud Haring of Skopos brought in this area, has therefore been of great value to us. Not only in the final phase, but throughout the entire process, Skopos, as service provider, has always taken a flexible and pro-active approach to all the issues that arose,” says Meeuwissen. He finds the advice given to his organisation, to invest in knowledge and skills in the field of Supply Chain Management, significant. “As a result, we have strengthened our staff in various places in the organisation, ensuring we can carry out the implementation on our own. Skopos has made itself redundant, which I find very positive. This means that they have really thought from the customer´s point of view.”
Meanwhile the kick-off of the implementation is behind us. “The process with Skopos has been completed two months ago, in a very pleasant way. Now it is up to us to carry out the implementation. We have a good feeling about the system we chose, a feeling that has been strengthened after several reference visits to other companies. That gave us confidence.” The goal is to complete the implementation in October. “We are going to get a system that will improve our processes and productivity, but will also better be able to monitor our Business intelligence and current management of KPI’s. This lays the foundation for further grow in our market.”
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