Project Description

Pulse facilitates a distinctive service

“Central availability minimises the risk of errors and we achieve a higher output with the same input”

PET-power_logo

PET Power produces PET packaging for leading brands in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries and supplies the packaging throughout Europe. The production site is located in Etten-Leur where 50 machines continuously produce standard and customised transparent and coloured bottles and jars. When its own production capacity is unable to keep up with demand, production is outsourced to other countries. PET Power also works closely with partners, for example, for the lids and caps. End customers include international A brands and national labels. Many products are also destined for contract suppliers to private labels, such as shampoo for major French supermarket chains. The company occupies a strong market position. To help maintain its presence, the IT operations were optimised by installing Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft SharePoint.

PET Power excels in diversity. The company is the frontrunner in terms of the sheer range of products it produces with its own standard range comprising >600 moulds. Customer-specific moulds are also developed when necessary. Neck finish and dimensions, content and presentation surfaces form the basic configuration of every type of packaging. These are complemented by a range of matching closures and decoration, sleeves, labels or print solutions. PET Power is a one-stop-shop. Once the customer has selected a bottle or jar, all they have to do is fill it.

Pulse-Client-PetPower

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The company was started in 1995, by founders with a predominantly technical background. For a long time, structured IT activities were largely ignored and numerous stand-alone and linked software solutions existed side by side. A traditional, paper-based approach was taken to planning and administration, plus there was no CRM in place. What the company needed was an overarching, international ERP system, capable of exchanging data internally and externally. PET Power consulted an external agency and inventoried which solution was the best fit with their business practices. The answer appeared to be Microsoft Dynamics AX in combination with SharePoint. Marcel Schrőder, Management Director at PET Power: “We have to be able to outsource manufacturing abroad and we have various internationally-based sales offices. This complexity is incorporated in Microsoft Dynamics AX; Microsoft is also an internationally operating organisation and that safeguards continuity.” Once the decision had been made, PET Power contacted Pulse. Project Manager IT Ivo Klaassens: “The demonstrations given by Pulse and their clear empathy and understanding of the nature of our organisation and the processes that take place immediately put them at the top of our list.” Schrőder: “And more than that, the people at Pulse inspire confidence. We looked at some of the solutions they had previously implemented in the list of references, and the figures added up too. An additional bonus was that Pulse develops standard industry solutions so we could be absolutely sure that the final result would totally suit our organisation.”

Joint development

Preparations for implementing Microsoft Dynamics AX commenced; with the help of an internal steering committee, the blueprint was produced within three months. Key users formed a project group that mapped out the administrative, operational and sales processes. Implementation followed six months later. Schrőder: “We consciously chose to take a measured approach. We didn’t crystallise all the details beforehand, but learned and adapted as we went along. For instance, during implementation, we came across a problem with the scheduling tool. At our company, accurate scheduling is paramount to a smooth production process. The standard solution on offer failed to fully measure up to our requirements, which was a risk we couldn’t afford to take. In response, Pulse wrote AXtension Output Scheduler. A solution that is 100% satisfactory. We are now perfecting this application, so that specific customer labels and quotation follow-up can be integrated.”

Sharing information creates customer loyalty

PET Power’s philosophy focuses on customer intimacy and customer needs. Schrőder: “Microsoft Dynamics AX is geared to our products and the production plant, with a link to sales and the customer. The next question is: how can we share this information with the customer? What we see as the customer is the actual purchaser, but also the internal employee and the (international) sales offices. All these stakeholders need information at their individual levels. Our task is to supply that information. We operate in a highly competitive market; the traditional way of working relies on direct customer contact between the sales department and the purchaser. We take a different view. After all, people at various organisational levels at our company, and at the customer end, are involved in an order process. They are all experts in their own field and they speak each other’s language as it were: our financial department talks to the customer’s financial department. The same applies at quality, logistics and board level. To offer access to the same tools to each role in the process, we decided to implement Microsoft SharePoint.”

“The system is accessible and retrieving information is easier.”

Share with sales

Geert van Raaij, Principal SharePoint Solutions at Pulse: “Together, Microsoft Dynamics AX and SharePoint provide a platform from which PET Power can work using a single system, which also supports the entire process. This fulfils their original wishes, and the initial steps have now been taken.” The first step was enabling the international sales divisions to access data. A portal allows the information contained in the Microsoft Dynamics AX database to be accessed via Microsoft SharePoint. Klaassens: “We wanted a single data source that could optimise the internal operational processes. We found the solution in Microsoft Dynamics AX. Microsoft SharePoint also provides a single source of information for all the documents at PET Power so they can be processed, monitored and shared completely digitally – both internally and by our international sales offices. The great thing is that a single database system is used front-end.”

Rapid acceptance

Schrőder: “Our staff are really positive too. The system is accessible and retrieving information is easier. Currently, the stock list and tooling data, price-lists, document management including version management and all files are available from the FTP server through Microsoft SharePoint. Central availability minimises the risk of errors and achieves a higher output with the same input.”

Discipline is essential for information sharing

Schrőder: “Key to production is our bill of material. In the original situation, problems occurred when details of products or product numbers were generated or modified quickly, or incompletely. Then suddenly, during production for example, there would be a shortage of cardboard for the pallet packaging. The entire production line ground to a halt, with disastrous consequences. Now our team works using the central database we have implemented. This database always has to be correct and up-to-date. It means we can produce smoothly and efficiently, with no errors, downtime or unnecessary waste.” It is essential that shared data is correct too. Schrőder: “As we now use SharePoint, the necessity of ensuring correct data input in the system is greater. This information simply has to be accurate. Klaassens: “If we share information about price adjustments or product master data with customers or authorise customers to access stock records and delivery times, you simply can’t risk not having a product physically present in the warehouse, or sending incorrect invoices.”

Share with customers

The Customer Intimacy Model facilitates a sustainable, customer-oriented strategy: “It starts by providing good service and creating customer loyalty. We focus on understanding the customer’s needs but at the same time have to be lean, as price is also a determining factor for customers. We strike a balance by continually communicating with the customer and acquiring a clear insight of what the customer wants. Sharing information through Microsoft SharePoint, which increases transparency and enhances service levels, contributes to customer loyalty. We strongly believe that creating a differential advantage over the competition in this area logically results in achieving other targets such as maintaining or increasing profitability.”

Ambition

Other changes have to be made before that point is reached. At present, the workflow process and customer contracts are being tackled. More information is gradually being entered in the system that can be used and shared internally and externally across the organisation. The objective is to have the customer portal ready and social media integrated by 2013. The company also wants to provide a kind of news kiosk for internal use to allow HR matters and news from the organisation and the media to be shared; similar, but different, to intranet. Schrőder: “You need to dare to be driven enough to start something new. That is precisely what we have done with Pulse. And we are not finished yet! Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards. Innovation is fundamental, not just in products, but in all the peripheral aspects. So we can offer our customers full-service packaging management, in the broadest sense.”

Project Specifics

Version: Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft SharePoint Number of users: approx. 50 in the Netherlands and approx. 25 abroad. The platform that has been created will indirectly affect the entire company (250 people). Branches: headquarters in the Netherlands, sales offices in more than 19 countries.

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