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Fischer International: Safe and Fast Microsoft Dynamics AX

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A subsidiary of Fischer (Germany) in the Czech Republic and the logistic base for Slovakia.

Information systems must provide users with maximum support. The information system is definitely not just a system for monitoring financial data. Money is not made at individual companies but in the competition among them. And this is where Microsoft Dynamics AX helps us most, because we put considerable effort into the process of analysis and reflection on our main competitive advantages in the whole system.
Vladimír Zámečník, Project Manager at Fischer International

Task

To implement a new enterprise resource planning system.

The support provided to the original ERP in Fischer International by its manufacturer expired in 2010. In addition, the external warehouse, which is essential for supplying the Czech and Slovak market, used its own ERP system that was interconnected with the Fischer International ERP only through an EDI interface. The interface failed frequently and the connection was imperfect.

The company therefore decided to find a new system that could cover nearly 1,200 company processes and help solve the logistics problems at the external warehouse. The new system was required to have a guaranteed lifetime and long-term customer support from the producer, to be among the cutting-edge products in the industry, and to be implemented by a partner offering high quality services. The new system was therefore expected to cover the whole portfolio of the existing ERP and additionally secure financial controlling according to German standards, to establish an application for the external warehouse management, and to replace the standalone system deployed in the company store. Fischer International ultimately chose Microsoft Dynamics AX and commissioned Infinity a.s., a company with which Fischer International had long had very good experiences and relations, to implement it.

Solutions

Implementation of the new system at Fischer International had started by January 2010 with a six-month thorough process analysis, involving its key users, i.e. the heads of individual departments, and a number of other cooperating employees. Altogether, almost half of the company participated in it. During the six months, our implementation team collaborated with Fischer in detail, optimized the system, and eventually eliminated about 1,200 processes,Petr Macák, Head of Corporate Applications at Infinity, explains. The final transition to Microsoft Dynamics AX, including at the external warehouse, took place in early January 2011 and 150 customers were attended to during the first working day. In the next two months, all functions and settings were fine-tuned and the system switched into its full operation.

Achievements

Since the very first day of its deployment, the new system brought about huge changes. The error rate in the external warehouse rapidly decreased by 50% and the release of goods from the warehouse accelerated by an incredible 20%. A new function was added for dispatching incomplete orders. Customers can mark the items they need urgently and those they can temporarily do without. When some lower-priority goods are out of stock, the customer service department contacts the customer to say that all the urgent items are in stock and to offer the option of having the order divided into parts and the required goods dispatched with priority. As regards internal processes, the system considerably improved communication between the warehouse and the customer service department. As a result, the customer service department always has accurate information available about the progress of a specific order. Another major benefit was that external warehouse information system failures were eliminated.

The system generated staff savings as well. Thanks to the restructuring of some processes and the direct interconnection between the information system of the Slovak branch and the ordering system of Microsoft Dynamics AX, the Company was able to eliminate two positions in Slovakia and one in the Czech Republic. On top of that, not a single additional employee needed to be hired by the Company, not even when turnover increased by 50% in the Slovak branch and by 20% in the Czech branch, and not even for the financial department, where the number of invoicing operations and accounting entries increased correspondingly.

The administrative burden was reduced as a result of the automation and simplification of a number of internal processes, enabling employees to spend less time on paperwork and more time on customer satisfaction. Microsoft Dynamics AX also makes it possible for the company to easily switch to a code list for more than 8,000 products, while the option of placing orders according to the previous national code list has been retained for customers.

Positive changes also occurred with respect to financial management. Apart from new opportunities in financial control and preparation of reports according to German regulations, the system offers the option of working with financial data in real time. This means that a financial balance is executed, and all key indicators, including plan fulfilment, are controlled in a fully automated manner every day. Each employee then receives a brief summary of key indicators by e-mail every morning. Employees can then estimate the amount of incentive pay they will receive as a component of their monthly wages. The tool has proved to be a very effective method of employee motivation, thus contributing to the fast growth of the company. The financial department is also more than satisfied with the direct interconnection and incident-free interoperability between Microsoft Dynamics AX and Excel, which is used to exchange some data with the headquarters in Germany.

Business Impacts

Deployment of the new system produced huge changes from the very first day. The error rate in the external warehouse rapidly decreased by 50% and the release of goods from the warehouse accelerated by an incredible 20%. The system also brought about staff savings and positive changes in financial management.

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Authors

Richard Nikel

Department Director - Entreprise Application Software

+420 531 025 284

richard.nikel@rsm.cz

Martin Osoba

Department Director - Custom Development

+420 531 025 311

martin.osoba@rsm.cz

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