COMPUTER BUSINESS REVIEW

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Issue Date: October 2006

MPL drives operational efficiencies

1 October 2006

Sage ERP plays an important role in ­preparing for a more competitive ­business environment for MPL.
Maurilait Production Ltée (MPL), a member of the Food & Allied Group of Companies, has implemented the Sage Line 500 Financials, Distribution and Manufacturing modules as part of an internal drive for efficiency in anticipation of a more competitive environment.
MPL is a manufacturer of dairy products (flavoured milk, ice-cream, yoghurt, etc) and holds the franchise for the Yoplait and Candia products in the Mauritian market.
The company's existing legacy system was extremely customised and the company was relying completely on a single (individual) supplier. This was regarded as a high risk factor. Additionally, the company was experiencing operational inefficiencies - raw material stock running out, traceability of finished goods was impossible, stock rotation was non-existent and it had high stock levels yet poor service levels ie, high stock level of the wrong product.
It was further having difficulties calculating product margins and monitoring costs efficiencies.
Sage, Navision and JD Edwards were evaluated by the Food & Allied Group IT strategy committee, and Sage was chosen as the group standard application due to its costs, reliability, efficiency and operational advantages. New Edge Solutions was chosen to implement the new software, as it operates as the group's supplier of IT products and services, is the technical link between the group and its external suppliers and is regarded by the other group companies as a privileged partner.
Given that the choice of software product and software implementer was group driven, the decision to go ahead with this implementation was made within a relatively quick two months.
The Sage implementation took place over a six month period, starting with the financial modules in November 2004, distribution modules in February 2005 and manufacturing modules in April 2005.
For each of these phases, a well structured 3-stage methodology was followed. Firstly, an AS-IS analysis was conducted, and information collected on the shortcomings of the existing situation, existing process flows, etc. This was followed by a TO-BE analysis, which covered an analysis of users' requirements, prototyping, new business processes, solutions to existing problems, interface requirements, reports requirements, etc. The final phase - Implementation - saw the installation and configuration, customisation and report development, training and testing, data migration and go-live.
During each one of the phases a significant amount of business process re-engineering (BPR) and organisational changes took place, and there were significant changes to the users' job descriptions.
Says MPL GM Jean-Jacques Boullé: "NES' contribution to the BPR stage was key to the entire project. And although this 3-phased approach took longer than typically associated with these projects, this approach was less risky, gave users time to adjust to the changes, resulted in a smooth implementation and gave financials users the opportunity to participate in and contribute towards the successful implementation of the subsequent phases.
In addition to the Sage Line 500 implementation, MPL was able to capitalise on its investment by implementing the BI cube for its reporting purposes.
Says Boullé: "MPL now has access to improved and realtime information resulting in faster decision making. On the operational level the supply chain is now much better integrated through the interdependent business processes in Sage. The new system has enabled us to improve co-ordination of resources and people across the enterprise as well as resulted in better strategic thinking at lower levels of the organisation.
"Operational process improvements have resulted in more efficient stock levels, higher service levels, improved communication, etc," he states, "MPL's users are comfortable with the system, which is running smoothly, and a lot of time and energy is being saved. Users now have more time to devote to analysing the business results and establishing cause and effect relationships.
As there are a significant amount of inter-company transactions taking place, the next phase of the MPL implementation will consist of interfacing MPL with other group companies. For example, invoices from one group company will be automatically downloaded into the other company's system and sales orders will be downloaded automatically from one group company to another, etc.
"MPL has already reaped significant business benefits and ROI is high. We regard this implementation as highly successful, our expectations were met and payback is likely to be short," Boullé concludes.


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