Sustainability and digitalisation go hand in hand at Alfix
Alfix is one of Denmark's largest manufacturers of solutions for floors and tile installation. The company works actively for more sustainable construction. They need an agile partner that can act on things quickly and collaborate closely. Alfix's permanent Bredana consultant has a specialist background in manufacturing/logistics, and the dialogue never has to start from scratch.
- Dynamics AX 2012
Two guiding principles vie to outshine each other in Alfix's strategy. One is a proactive contribution to reducing CO2 emissions during construction and in existing buildings. The second is increased digitalisation, which will make it even easier doing business with the company – and at the same time optimise and streamline the processes throughout the value chain.
One result of both objectives is the process of ordering Alfix’s DuraTherm facade solution, which consists of a number of sub-components for external insulation of, for example, detached houses from the 60s and 70s. A solution that helps to reduce energy consumption in buildings, which accounts for 40% of Denmark's total energy consumption.
Previously, the customer had to form an overview of the consumption for the insulating solution using many different product numbers from multiple suppliers. With the Alfix facade system, you only need to enter the number of square meters to be insulated in one place and answer a few other questions. The total package is arrived at very quickly and, shortly after ordering, pallets containing all the Alfix products to be used, including facade insulation, are delivered to the construction site.
“It’s easy for our customer, which is the construction market or the timber trade, and it’s easy for their customer, who is typically the tradesperson,” says Anders Bertelsen Toft, director and third generation of the family behind Alfix.
“Digitalisation is a natural part of our business and an essential part of our growth strategy. The facade solution is a specific example of us digitalising to make it easier for the customer to get an overview of which materials are to be used and what it costs to reduce heat consumption and thus CO2 emissions,” says Anders Bertelsen Toft.
“We want to be the ones who quickly meet customers’ needs. Being a Danish family-owned producer gives us great opportunities for this because we’re really close to our customers and end users, both geographically and in terms of value,” says the director.
“We needed an agile partner that could also act on things quickly. We didn’t want a big organisation with heavy project management – but skilled people who could jump in and work closely with us when we came up with an idea.”
Per B. Jensen, Factory Director and Head of IT.
“Need an agile partner”
A few years ago, Alfix chose to work closely with Bredana Axcite on ERP and increased digitalisation.
“We needed an agile partner that could also act on things quickly. We didn’t want a big organisation with heavy project management – but skilled people who could jump in and work closely with us when we came up with an idea,” says Per B. Jensen, Factory Manager and Head of IT.
He highlights the deep business understanding that characterises Bredana Axcite.
“We’re never starting from scratch. Our permanent consultant has a specialist background in manufacturing and logistics and knows our business.”
Since the start of the collaboration, Alfix and Bredana Axcite have completed a number of projects, all aiming to digitalise, streamline and optimise processes.
The facade solution is one of them. Another is the simplification of workflows for new products.
“Digitalisation is a natural part of our business and an essential part of our growth strategy. Alfix’s DuraTherm facade solution is a specific example of us digitalising to make it easier for the customer to get an overview of which materials are to be used and what it costs to reduce heat consumption and thus CO2 emissions.”
Anders Bertelsen Toft, Director.
Huge time savings when creating products
“When we were creating new products, you had to fill in 144 fields to cover all the parameters. It was a lot of manual work, which grew as we increased the number of our own products and merchandise,” says Per B. Jensen.
“Bredana Axcite has helped us develop a solution in Dynamics AX, which takes a copy of existing products so we only have to enter what differs. In other words, we reuse product master data.”
“It’s made things much easier for our procurement department. I would guess that in the past it took a whole day to create a product. Now it takes just thirty minutes to an hour!”
The “unknown” charges are under control
One of the prerequisites for calculating the right sales prices, and ultimately achieving the desired profit, is accurate knowledge of the cost prices of the raw materials that make up a product.
“We found that there were more and more government charges on the deliveries, and that we gradually needed to gain an overview of them. So together with Bredana Axcite we’ve developed a cost price calculator that ensures that we include them all,” says Per B. Jensen.
“The solution can also help us estimate future cost prices, and that’s a big advantage because our salespeople need to know the sales prices for the new year in December.”
“We’ve gained much better control over the charges, and this is absolutely crucial in our industry, where a product is often made up of 10-15 raw materials,” says Per B. Jensen.
Track and trace on all shipments
Alfix uses Danske Fragtmænd to distribute the 100-200 pallets that are shipped daily. Previously, there was extensive paperwork associated with loading goods onto the trailers. But Dynamics AX has been integrated with the Dropboy shipping system, which in one fell swoop has made paperwork superfluous. This has made the administration much easier and also means that all items can now be tracked using track and trace.
“We have a continuous overview of where all our pallets are, and that’s a huge advantage,” says Per B. Jensen.
Alfix is heading towards the cloud
All IT projects that Alfix is currently implementing take into account that within a few years Dynamics AX 2012 will be replaced with Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management in the cloud.
“Up to now we’ve actually insisted that we would like servers and databases locally, but now we’ve come to the conclusion that the cloud offers greater security than our own servers,” says Per B. Jensen.
“It’s also a plus for us that the systems will be more accessible to our employees when they’re in the cloud and that it will be easier to communicate with our partners. I imagine that within a few years we might need customers to be able to see our inventories and we theirs,” says Per B. Jensen.
Preparations for the upgrade are expected to start this year.
Facts about Alfix
Alfix is one of Denmark's largest manufacturers of solutions for floors and tile installation, plus a wide range of auxiliary products as well as facade plaster and more.
The company provides both products and technical assistance and is often involved in more demanding projects such as large swimming pools at home and abroad.
Alfix works actively for more sustainable construction, which also includes specific work with the UN Global Goals, which is integrated into the company's growth strategy. At the same time, Alfix also wants to inspire others to participate in the green transition. Specifically, a large number of initiatives are being taken to reduce the company's environmental footprint as well as CO2 emissions in the Alfix products of the future. The company's own construction of a new distribution centre is also being carried out in accordance with the guidelines for DGNB certification.
The company is led by Anders Bertelsen Toft and his father Torben Carstensen Toft – third and second generation. Hans Carstensen Toft founded the company as the first generation of the Alfix family in 1963.
The idea was, and remains, to produce quality products for floor, wall and facade structures with great strength and durability.
Over the years, Alfix has developed organically to its current total of 52 employees. Growth has been positive for many consecutive years, and a large part of the production is exported to Sweden and Norway.
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