Flow International Corp. is a leading manufacturer of ultrahigh-pressure waterjet technologies used in a host of industrial applications, from stripping paint off ships to precisely cutting thick metal or stone. Founded in the early 1970s by two former research and development scientists from Boeing, Flow was the first to commercialise the use of an ultrahigh-pressure waterjet as an industrial cutting tool for cutting soft materials and grew initially from disposable diapers and tissue paper applications.
Flow was burdened by an ageing, heavily customised ERP system that was inflexible and difficult to extract information from. The company sought to simplify its business information and bring its 16 global divisions together as one company on a single ERP technology platform. “As the company’s business needs and market changed, Flow’s highly customised ERP system developed a reputation as being inflexible, difficult to access, and problematic to upgrade,” says Martin Walker, Director of IT Architecture & Engineering at Flow.
Flow made a commitment to simplifying its business information. The company determined that by allowing its business units to operate autonomously, it wasn’t taking full advantage of the efficiencies it could enjoy as a single entity. Eager to simplify business processes and bring its operating units together under one common structure, Flow chose Microsoft Dynamics AX as its solution and QUANTIQ as its worldwide implementation partner. As a result of this project, Flow has been able to simplify its IT structure and business processes, improve access to information, reduce costs, and streamline its financial reporting processes.
Flow has already begun to realise many of the benefits it hoped to achieve from standardising on a single Microsoft Dynamics AX solution. Flow’s deployment of Microsoft Dynamics AX has enabled the company to address its goal of simplifying and streamlining its business information and processes. “With Microsoft Dynamics AX we are now operating as one single company and doing things one uniform way, which wasn’t the case before,” Schweikart says. Microsoft Dynamics AX provides Flow with high-quality data needed to run its business efficiently and effectively. “Fundamentally, Microsoft Dynamics AX has changed our company because it has allowed us to manage our business with data,” Schweikart says. “From an executive standpoint, you can’t ask for anything more.”
WORKING WITH QUANTIQ
According to Schweikart, QUANTIQ’s global reach has helped make his job easier. “QUANTIQ is one of few companies in the world that has a global footprint to match our footprint, and there are incredible advantages to that.” he says. For example, he points to QUANTIQ’s upcoming implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX to Flow’s division in China. “QUANTIQ’s Chinese resources will be supporting us, which means I won’t be getting phone calls in the middle of the night.”
In addition, Schweikart says, he was impressed with the quality of QUANTIQ’s people. “QUANTIQ brought in people who not just understood Microsoft Dynamics AX, but who also understood our business and the technology we use. So if we start talking about a bill of materials, they understand that. That’s brought a tremendous amount of value to us.”