Global organizations, particularly those dealing in Consumer Goods, often struggle with piecemeal systems, which create inconsistent approaches to business processes and financials. Locations across the globe and multiple currencies make it harder to facilitate a united company structure. Additionally, a diverse supply chain can add complexity.
One consumer goods company that specializes in grilling equipment and parts, was planning to expand its global operations. They knew their manual processes would not get them there.
An ERP System That Can Take the Heat
This consumer goods manufacturer has a lot of irons in the fire. It outsources the manufacturing of its products overseas, which are then shipped to the U.S. and sold to large retailers like The Home Depot, Costco, and Walmart. It also needs to buy and sell parts between its different companies. Management of this outsourcing was difficult because it had no real ERP system, and the company relied heavily on manual one-off processes, spreadsheets, and paper trails.
One of its goals was to eliminate this disjointed approach and implement something automated and systemic. Doing so would not only support its business now but also help in the future with its expansion.
To get the assistance it needed to unify its business processes and select an ERP system that would meet its needs, the company engaged Ultra Consultants for Business Process Improvement, ERP selection, and ERP implementation. It chose Ultra Consultants because it wanted an independent ERP selection partner that would not push it toward any particular vendor, would provide them with a regimented future state design process and would help it select a system that would facilitate the transformation, regardless of the vendor.
Uncovering Gaps that Modern ERP Systems Can Fill
Ultra Consultants uncovered several opportunities where the company could improve its business processes. For example, it could not track, trace, or manage products that it contract-manufactured in China between when shipments left the factory and when they landed on dock in the United States.
Additionally, Ultra Consultants examined the company’s warehouse management practices and determined that demand forecasting processes for inventory positions could be beneficial. Because of the seasonal nature of grilling, demand fluctuates during the year. This seasonal cycle makes it difficult to have the correct stock position, fulfill orders, and maximize warehouse space.
A Roadmap to the Future State
To underpin the ERP selection process, Ultra Consultants helped the company map its future state, and in the process discovered that they actually have two different goals. The first is its U.S.-based operations on Microsoft 365. The goals are a completely integrated system from purchasing goods in China, automating as much of the process as possible, and tracing the goods through Taiwan to the U.S. warehouses. This would be a totally re-engineered warehouse management process, which would result in better customer communications on inventory due to higher visibility.
The second future state goal is to have the company’s global organization on the same ERP platform. Processes can be modeled identically, and this would introduce better buying and selling within the companies to cover product shortages or reduce excess inventory. This would also create a more cohesive financial picture of the business units in the general ledger and provide improved financial accountability.
Choosing a Vendor to Meet Multicurrency Needs
The company used 12 requirements to evaluate a potential ERP system including multicurrency capabilities, a multi-company ledger, and multilingual abilities. After a series of two-hour remote demos with four vendors, the company chose Microsoft Dynamics 365, as the system would easily integrate with its existing investments in Microsoft tools, as well as integration with CRM products used at the point of consumption and point of sale.
Preparing for Implementation
With the business process improvement phase and ERP selection complete, Ultra Consultants and the project team from this consumer goods manufacturing company are well prepared to utilize Ultra’s methodology for an ERP implementation that will help create true business transformation.