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Two years into its journey, Guhring Ltd, the U.K. subsidiary of the German-based cutting tool manufacturer, is gaining greater efficiencies after taking control of its stock management processes. Today, the company can assess the benefits of moving to a single, fully integrated IT infrastructure. Previously, managing accounts and writing reports was a time-consuming, error-prone process.With three different software systems in use to operate various arms of the business, getting a clear and consistent view of stock production volumes was nearly impossible. With only 58 people in the U.K., the subsidiary required a system that was easy to adapt and customise, as well as being cost-efficient. The U.K. operation chose to implement Microsoft Dynamics NAV as it met all of these requirements.
or insert sidebar quote tets test Manufacturer at Cutting Edge with Streamlined Stock Handling Operations Fast Facts Too much or too little inventory can dam- bility of customer information was ex- Customer: Guhring age a manufacturer’s business. tremely limited. Because of this, the three Web site: www.guhring.co.uk Manufacturers constantly strive to overcome different departments involved in the order life- Partner: Metaphorix issues such as erratic output, wasted time, and cycle worked independently of each other. The Country: U.K. excess costs across the production cycle. In accounts team used SunSystems, the sales Industry: Manufacturing and Dis- many instances, this can be attributed to run- order processing teams relied on DataEase, tribution ning disparate systems to manage the and the commercial production department production process, from order input to order used Filemaker to trace orders. Customer Profile: delivery. In this environment, key challenges Guhring Ltd is the U.K. subsidiary are to manage stock efficiently, keep produc- “We had to import everything from of the German-based manufacturer tion running, and generate a profit. To achieve DataEase into SunSystems using a pre- and is a leading supplier of high- this, efficiency must be optimised across stock dominantly manual process. A lot of the time quality, advanced-design cutting handling processes. this resulted in data errors that we had to find tools. and correct, which was quite time-consuming. While using a single information system to im- We could take an order on one system, only to prove stock control is something that looks find that the account was on hold on another,” great on paper, managers need proof that this says Clune. kind of software solution will meet their com- plex supply chain requirements. Streamlining Order Management More and more customers require proof that Two years into its journey, Guhring Ltd, the manufacturers are well organised and able to U.K. subsidiary of the German-based cut- meet their demands. ISO9001, a series of ting tool manufacturer, is gaining greater quality management standards main- efficiencies after taking control of its stock tained by the International management processes. Today, the company Organisation for Standardisation, “We had to import every- can assess the benefits of moving to a single, helps them demonstrate their produc- thing from DataEase into fully integrated IT infrastructure. tion capabilities. In 2004, Guhring SunSystems using a pre- made a commitment to comply with dominantly manual Previously, managing accounts and writing ISO9001 standards and certify that process. A lot of the time reports was a time-consuming, error-prone consistent manufacturing processes this resulted in data er- process. Yvonne Clune, Accounts Manager at are in place across the organisation. Guhring, says: “We had massive data dupli- The certification ensures that rors that we had to find cation issues across the whole business Guhring‟s team follows simple docu- and correct.” and no holistic view of our customer infor- mented processes and creates mation. With three different software systems products in line with exacting stan- in use to operate various arms of the business, dards. Mike Dinsdale, Managing Yvonne Clune, Accounts getting a clear and consistent view of stock Director of Guhring, explains how Manager, Guhring production volumes was nearly impossible. achieving this standard was important for the company. He says: "A suc- The three systems—DataEase, SunSystems, cessful operation demands and Filemaker—were not integrated, so visi- superior performance right from the factory floor through to sales order processing. The solution supported Guhring group‟s vision The right software solution is critical to realis- of standardised operations for its subsidi- ing this goal.” aries and helped improve information sharing across the organisation. Dinsdale To achieve ISO9001 compliance, Guhring says: “For the last 30 years we‟ve done our needed to track products more effectively own thing in the U.K. As a result, we had only across the business. It also needed to stream- limited access to our German counterpart‟s line order management, requiring a new system and could not share information easily. system that would support end-to-end supply The team in Germany evaluated our Microsoft chain processes. Dynamics NAV implementation and found that similar solutions could deliver benefits in a Dinsdale says: “The three systems that we had number of other subsidiaries around the world. were so inflexible that our computer systems, These have been implementing the same sys- rather than our people, dictated the way the tem over the last two years.” business was run. Guhring Ltd was, practically speaking, three companies, rather than one Guhring engaged Metaphorix Ltd, a Micro- functional operation. This impacted negatively soft Certified Gold Partner, to provide on customer service as we couldn‟t provide a optimum system support and deploy Mi- single view of customer orders. It also meant crosoft Dynamics NAV. Working with a we couldn‟t transfer workload around the vari- supportive partner was particularly important to ous departments. Sometimes, individual the company because it had an ambitious de- departments were overloaded with work while ployment deadline of just three months. others had the capacity to help out. The in- flexible three-system operation was ruining the Solution Smoothes Stock Handling Proc- business.” ess Since deploying Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Recognising these issues, the Guhring group Guhring Ltd has experienced a number of in Germany made a decision to replace the stock-handling benefits. existing software infrastructure at its subsidiar- ies. After extensive evaluation of SAP and Clune says: “We have reduced our “The three systems that Microsoft® Dynamics™ NAV, Guhring Ltd con- stock holding by more than 5,000 we had were so inflexi- cluded that SAP was too „cumbersome‟ for its items since implementing Microsoft ble that our computer operation. With only 58 people in the U.K., the Dynamics NAV by identifying slow and subsidiary required a system that was easy to non-moving items quickly and effi- systems, rather than our adapt and customise, as well as being cost- ciently. When you carry more than people, dictated the way efficient. The U.K. operation chose to im- 35,000 items, accuracy is critical. the business was run.” plement Microsoft Dynamics NAV as it met Guhring now produces regular „special all of these requirements. offer‟ reports from the system. We send these to our distributors to promote slow Mike Dinsdale, Managing Di- Dinsdale felt Microsoft Dynamics NAV would moving goods and reduce unnecessary rector, Guhring give Guhring improved visibility and report- inventory overheads. We are also able ing accuracy and allow it to connect in real to formulate levels and quantities based time to its parent company, manufacturers, on sales, and reduce our stock holding, and customers. The company wanted a clear which puts money back into the bank forecast of customer demand. It was also a rather than collecting dust on the key aim to improve long-term demand visibility shelves.” through collaboration between supply chain leaders and sales and marketing departments. Solution Touches all Departments The shop floor has also benefited from a single integrated solution. All work in progress can In addition, if there is a problem with an order, now be checked in real time. Chris Weston, a department can very easily trace the root Production Manager at Guhring, says: “Previ- cause of the issue, even down to an individual ously, a work in progress report could take user. This helps address problems very quickly hours to produce. By the time it was ready, it and identify where users can benefit from was already out of date. The same report can training. now be generated in less than five minutes. This offers us the ability to tell customers Freeing the Employee from Manual Tasks where products are in the manufacturing cycle Employees find the new system much easier and the time required to get it to them. Using to use. Clune says: “We thought Microsoft the previous system, we had to visit the shop Dynamics NAV did exactly the same as floor to check on production status.” SAP, at a greatly reduced cost. More impor- tantly, it is much more flexible and far less Similarly, the order processing department complex to use.” can now track the status of every quote and order efficiently. Quotes can be instantly Previously, reporting was a slow, manually in- converted to orders, allowing Guhring manag- tensive process that often kept employees at ers to easily monitor conversion rates. Today, work after hours. Now, it is much easier. Clune any member of staff can take an order and in- says: “We used the three systems for so long put it directly from their PCs. This eliminates that I had got used to working around the diffi- the need to use time-consuming paper forms culties. Now that we‟ve implemented Microsoft and re-key data at a later date. Paperwork has Dynamics NAV, I can see how cumbersome been significantly reduced. This is because the previous solution was. The new technology barcoding is used to book stock in and out and has freed up a lot more time for me, so I can multi-part copies have now been replaced by be a lot more proactive in providing in-depth single part laser outputs. These serve as com- analysis and richer information to managers.” bined delivery notes and the labels. By making these changes, Guhring has achieved a 50 per Clune is utilising this free time to focus on cent time saving when booking stock in and producing reports that are more central to out of the warehouse. Guhring’s business growth and decision making processes. The drill down features While taking orders, Guhring can see the within the solution provide her with a level of status of customer accounts on the system. If information not previously available. It has “We have reduced our there is a problem with the account, customers also helped strengthen information sharing stock holding by more can be informed immediately, working with with the German parent company. Rather them to rectify the situation. This vastly im- than supporting users with day-to-day than 5,000 items since proves debtor days and customer relationship transactional issues, Clune can use the so- implementing Microsoft management. lution to create reports that provide senior Dynamics NAV.” managers with true business insight. Complex orders are far easier to process on the new system. They are saved in “Users are no longer just „data input‟ people. Yvonne Clune, Accounts comprehensive detail, eliminating the need Instead, they are responsible for resolving Manager, Guhring to re-key entries. This also helps when order- issues themselves because the system is ing stock from the parent company because so easy to navigate. We can write reports the information built up in the order processing quicker and conduct minor system changes system automatically produces the requisition far easier than we could before. We can worksheets. Previously, this often took more also customise the system ourselves and than an hour per day to produce. It now takes avoid the costs of engaging consultants for less than 10 minutes. simple modification work.” with Microsoft Dynamics NAV. We have mi- grated three systems to just one quickly and Immediate Impact on Bottom-Line effectively and began enjoying the benefits Migrating data from all three systems to a sin- from day one.” gle, integrated solution has given the company a holistic view of its information. This yielded As a result of this transformation, Guhring immediate stock valuation benefits for has achieved its ISO9001 certification—a Guhring. requirement for an efficient manufacturing business. Using Microsoft Dynamic NAV to Clune says: “The DataEase program had an streamline its supply chain ordering and error that caused problems with stock valua- billing processes, the company can easily tion. When our stock is incorrect, our follow the creed of ISO9001: “Do what you profitability is affected. As this had been hap- document and document what you do”. pening for a number of years, we‟d underestimated our profits. We didn’t know Dinsdale says: “We wouldn‟t have easily the scale of the inaccuracy until we im- achieved ISO9001 without Microsoft Dynamics ported the files into Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Metaphorix, which resulted in the in- NAV. It turned out to be more than £40,000 tegration of all of our processes in a single (U.S. $74,538) over a three year period. Now system. These technologies really helped us our stock figures are 100 per cent accurate when it came to documenting our procedures and all related data is stored in a central data- and this alone has justified our decision to de- base. Stock valuation is now accurate and ploy them.” instant.” Success through Business Transformation The new system, which was easy to install, has delivered significant benefits. Dinsdale says: “In my experience, it can take months to migrate data to new systems and deliver re- quired training to end-users. This isn‟t the case “We wouldn’t have easi- ly achieved ISO9001 without Microsoft Dy- namics NAV and Metaphorix, which re- sulted in the integration of all of our processes in a single system.” Mike Dinsdale, Managing Di- rector, Guhring, For More Information For further information about Microsoft products and services please visit www.microsoft.com/uk or call 0870 60 10 100* For hearing impaired customers with a Minicom contact: 0870 50 30 400* *Lines are open 8am-6pm Monday to Friday. Please note Numbers prefixed 0870 will be charged at national call rates. For details of national call rate charges please contact your telecoms provider For more Information about other Microsoft customer successes, please visit: www.microsoft.com/resources/casestudies For more information about Microsoft Dynamics Navision please visit the following Web site: www.microsoft.com/uk/dynamics/products/nav/ © 2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. 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