"Prior to implementing Navision, it was a full week's work to order the components required for a batch of machines. Even then, items could be easily missed because we have around 15,000 parts for each machine," Les Kadziela said.
"Now with computerized purchasing through Navision, purchase orders can be managed, processed and sent in one day. This includes ordering for all our machines as well as managing our current stock levels and our requirements across the board."
UR Machinery's interest in Navision was sparked by its parent company Kverneland, the largest agricultural implements manufacturer in the world, which had implemented Navision in some of its sales operations in Europe. After a tender process, UR Machinery chose Microsoft Business Solutions' Partner, Fenwick Software, a progressive Melbourne based IT Services Company, to carry out the implementation.
"Fenwick Software understood our business better and had more experience in manufacturing, which was critical to us," Mr Kadziela said.
Mr Steve Langmaid of Fenwick Software said the Navision implementation at UR Machinery was a significant step for Kverneland. "I believe UR Machinery was the first Kverneland manufacturing site in the world to use Navision, and so is something of a test case to see how well Navision copes," Mr Langmaid said.
"Also it was significant in the implementation of the change of ownership and management at UR Machinery, and represented a move towards bringing the business into line with the Kverneland ethos."
The first stage was the financial management suite such as the general ledger, accounts payable and receivable which went live in one month followed by inventory, electronic purchasing and payroll by the end of the year. Mr Langmaid said the fact that Navision was a good fit with UR Machinery’s requirements made the implementation relatively straightforward.
"During the workshop and implementation process we did minimal modification to Navision to ensure we could implement swiftly and start delivering benefits," Mr Langmaid said. "The six-week timeframe for the initial phase was fairly aggressive, so the team stayed very focused on the goal."
The implementation was staged to make allowance for UR Machinery's peak activity period during harvest season. "We went live with phase one on September 2, and it was important to get the core system bedded down before the busy vintage time of January to May," Mr Langmaid said. "The manufacturing phase is still in progress and that should be completed by the end of May."
Mr Kadziela said the company was impressed with the purchasing solution which it has found invaluable in terms of time and resource gains. "Now, at the press of a button, we can either fax or email an order automatically," he said. "It then creates the order through our server and generates a PDF file which the system faxes or emails. The staff member doesn't need to get out of their chair or even run a hard copy."
"We have been pleased with the implementation process considering most of our staff working outside the office were not particularly computer literate," Mr Kadziela said. "Going live with Navision has been gradual so we have been able to organise training workshops and lower people’s anxiety about the changes."
While cultural change has been taken into consideration, UR Machinery also faced a transformation in its costing system. "One of our biggest challenges which necessitated a computerised system was that our costing system was manually based," Mr Kadziela said.
"It was very difficult to track costings on a process by process basis. We wouldn't know how well a machine was going in terms of cost, until that machine was completed and costings finalised. By then, it was obviously too late to make any material decisions regarding its manufacture.
"Manufacturing was the key consideration in the software. We needed software that would provide us with a number of options, including Materials Requirements Planning (MRP). It means we are able to structure tools and routings to the detail that we need and be able to monitor and manage each facet and each assembly."
Since the earliest phase of the implementation in manufacturing, UR Machinery has found Navision has brought immediate gains to the business. "We'd had delays in ordering and items were missed and there were unexplainable variances on labour," Mr Kadziela said.
"We weren't able to account for any of these in detail and production stopped when a part was required, but was not in stock.
"Through Fenwick we were able to introduce a customised electronic time-clock option that we hadn’t even thought about, where attendance and job costing data is automatically captured.
"We are able to import information automatically into Navision which produces our postings to production orders and postings to payroll."
UR Machinery has developed with Fenwick the ability to access data from their existing CAD system into Navision. This has aided in changes to existing drawings and in the development of prototypes. "When drawings are completed, a parts structure is exported which Navision imports and creates any new parts designed and can also create a new bill of materials (BOM)," Mr Kadziela said.
"All parts are created as well as the item card with a set of defaults. With 15,000 different parts covering items from nuts and bolts to sub-assemblies and engines and hydraulic components, I am impressed with the access and processing speed. Navision performs extremely well and is exceptionally flexible, providing a number of options and methods of processing data throughout the software.
"Fenwick Software understood our business better, and had more experience in manufacturing, which was critical to us."