Although the software had long been in use within the company, it was clear to Heinen that it could not meet Bergolin‘s modernisation requirements or support the necessary cross-application workflows and processes. Bergolin decided strategically to rely totally on the Microsoft platform. „That‘s the only way a medium-sized firm can manage complex process organisation with the resources available,“ said Heinen. „With Linux applications, administration quickly becomes far too complex. It comes down to the fact that we must be able to supply IT infrastructure, telecommunications, collaboration, organisation and project management internally from a single source.“
„When we look back now, we can say that it was becoming increasingly difficult to meet the requirements of modern, sustainable supply chain management. Likewise, information was often only available in individual departments. We were unable to plan our procurement logistics effectively,“ said Heinen, identifying the weaknesses prior to the launch of the new ERP system. „We now have big plans to get even more out of our business processes thanks to these new foundations,“ said Heinen.
From the outset, a little gentle persuasion was also required to introduce these process improvements: „For the Heads of Department, it was a new occurrence for the IT, Organisation and Controlling department to interfere with business processes and demand lean processes aimed at achieving overarching corporate objectives,“ said Heinen, describing the organisational challenges of the ERP introduction. Modern firms like Bergolin are abandoning their silo mentality and adopting a processoriented approach: it is important that the transition points between departments are clearly defined, and that no media or information disruptions occur. Time schedules must also be coordinated, to avoid bottlenecks and unnecessary downtime.
To achieve this, Bergolin relies on a clear process design. It was therefore a top priority to introduce the standard Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 ERP system as fully as possible. With the YAVEON ProBatch certified industry solution, a proven standard was available for the paint and coatings industry for mapping typical financial accounting, production, logistics, quality assurance and research processes. With ProE-SCM, YAVEON also provides another certified standard tool for fully integrating the management of hazardous substances within NAV, enabling intercompany postings between the Bergolin subsidiaries and communicating with customers via EDI. The master data is completely consistent across all applications and process stages. The actual transactional data can be accessed from anywhere at any time.
International roll-outs within a week
The standard templates in the ERP system also ensure the company‘s future overseas development. In November 2014, the Bergolin Polska subsidiary was connected to the ERP in under a week. This would also be possible for most other countries. The Unicode also allows subsidiaries in China and Arab countries to be connected.
The initial scepticism of some staff about using a new system was also noticeable at Bergolin. But as is generally known, acceptance increases with experience. In everyday use, the benefits of modern classifications in data processing soon became apparent. Staff increasingly realised that documents can be found quicker using metadata and search functions and that browsing through mostly outdated systems is no longer necessary. Employees have therefore changed their thinking, which will facilitate the further organisational improvements that Heinen is already planning.
Increased performance through digitalisation
If final proof were needed of the benefits of NAV for Bergolin, this came immediately after go-live. It quickly became clear that scheduling, requirement proposals and raw material provision can be done much more efficiently with NAV than with the old system. And this was before optimisation processes and product features were fine-tuned. In other areas too, the YAVEON ProBatch and Dynamics NAV processes appear to be highly efficient, and have advanced the company organisationally. „Our success was due to the fact that we maintained a clear approach during implementation,“ reported Heinen. Supported by the management team, all the company‘s divisions were focused on a single objective: to create a modern firm that sets out to think in concrete terms and implement Industry 4.0 and digital business processes. That‘s why paper has now been entirely eliminated from the company‘s materials management; scanners are now digitising all documents. Building automation allows the company‘s premises to be centrally controlled, and includes sophisticated access management.
Complex raw material picking
Production is also largely automated. Weighing machines are fitted with industrial terminals and connected to the ERP system. Another special feature when preparing items for production is that Dynamics NAV splits the parts lists according to the various selection guidelines. Delicate logistics processes ensure that the necessary raw materials are selected and then supplied using the most appropriate technique based on specific chemical-technical and/or logistical aspects.
Hazardous substances safely stored
The warehouse is divided into zones for incoming goods, production supply and distribution. The fire service can instantly access the current stock and hazardous substance register using its own computer, in order to take appropriate action in an emergency. The company‘s new factory opened in 2014 and has extremely impressive protection and safety equipment– a result of the consistent digitalisation strategy pursued by Christoph Heinen.
Heinen is also happy with the YAVEON advisors. „They have provided an excellent service from the beginning. We were always made aware of the risks and advised to resolve any open issues, so that we were already in very good shape at go-live. The subsequent improvements and refinements are unavoidable developments that cannot be performed in advance. Some of our competitors have often had a different experience. We‘re pleased that we were able to achieve an increase in productivity from the outset and didn‘t suffer any systemic supply shortages.“