Global office supplies manufacturing giant, Esselte Corporation, is the first company in the world to implement Microsoft Dynamics® AX across four continents with its global implementation partner, QUANTIQ. With 30% now completed, Esselte has already gained a high return on investment (ROI) with a range of immediate and long-term benefits.
Esselte was using 27 business systems in 30 separate IT divisions worldwide. It was a massive overhead in terms of cost per sales and the initial key driver to find a global software system was to make significant IT savings. The other challenge was the lack of standardisation globally. Each country was a kingdom of its own, reporting in its own way with no consistency of financial or sales reporting globally. The central finance division had to deal with all sorts of discrepancies between the various reporting methods including multi-currency.
The inconsistency and lack of accurate reporting resulted in limited visibility of the business in all operational areas from accounting to manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, marketing and sales. The state of Esselte’s IT operations inhibited the company’s focus on building its core brand and expanding further globally. It wasn’t able to efficiently leverage its existing IT systems to formulate major corporate growth such as acquisitions and, potentially, a public offering.
Mark Katz realised that a centralised ERP infrastructure was required to streamline supply chain management, manufacturing processes and to increase efficiency and profitability across the organisation.
“I was standing on the edge of a major global decision – a world first in fact – as we were looking at the largest global implementation of an ERP system. I knew Esselte Worldwide had to consolidate information globally and have visibility over the entire global operation. In order to do this, we had to launch the first large scale global IT implementation ever undertaken,” he said.
Katz initiated the search for a powerful, global system that would provide Esselte with a competitive advantage regionally and worldwide.“We had 33 different countries, cultures and 93 years of worldwide business to consolidate on a single platform. The system had to be easy to use and support additional requirements – that is, it had to change and grow with the business cost effectively,” Katz said.
Following rigorous evaluation and a short list of five products, Esselte selected Microsoft Dynamics AX in 2004 to consolidate all IT
systems into one global business solution over three years. According to Mark Katz, who has had extensive experience in implementing systems for large companies, including Levis-Strauss, in Europe and Africa, Microsoft Dynamics AX is the most robust ERP system with global capability in the world today.
Its strength is that it uses a layered system for managing multi-sites, countries, languages (31) and currencies; integrates all operational areas from financial management to production, supply chain management, HR to CRM and is capable of rapid deployments (3-6 months per site). “I was really taken back by Microsoft Dynamics AX’s scalability and functionality. It is a great core application with the ability to be used worldwide and to add on the specific requirements of each region whether it’s language, tax regulations, varying currencies or business processes,” Katz said.
QUANTIQ was chosen as one of two Microsoft Dynamics partners to develop a Global Core Solution and, at the same time, ensure that Microsoft Dynamics AX complied with policies and procedures that were Esselte-specific, country-specific and site-specific.
Esselte Corporation is already achieving its objectives to streamline its global supply chain management and manufacturing processes and to increase efficiency and profitability throughout the organisation. The Microsoft Dynamics AX application will further consolidate the skills and resources of Esselte into three key data centres – the US, Europe and Asia Pacific – providing 24/7 support globally. Overall, Esselte will gain wide-ranging control over its business which will provide a springboard for major competitive advantage to be realised in local and global markets.
As a company focused on the concept of “lean” including lean manufacturing, Esselte will have one system worldwide that will provide it with global standards across all its operations from order processing and accounting to production, marketing and warehousing activities.
All facets of the business will be monitored, measured and managed more effectively on the ground locally and globally and management teams will have the latest tools and timely information to make better-informed decisions.
QUANTIQ has delivered on what they promised on a global level and had even gone several steps further to help Esselte realise future efficiencies. “Two things really stand out about QUANTIQ. One, they put together a strong team who have some of the best implementation models available and, two, they have a sense of doing things right rather than just getting the job done and worrying about it later. They are very focused on the quality component and that has served us well as we really wanted to get it right the first time.
Globally and regionally, QUANTIQ has been an excellent partner for us. The QUANTIQ team didn’t just implement Microsoft Dynamics AX, they looked at what we were trying to achieve in a holistic fashion and used their depth of experience to recommend sound strategies and prevent us from some nasty pitfalls.