Dynamics AX boosts plastic company’s global competitiveness
Replacing an old industry system with Dynamics AX 2012 R3 has given Bogense Plast a host of benefits and improved its international competitiveness, according to Production and Logistics Manager Anja Drewsen.
Automation increases growth opportunities
Bogense Plast is a supplier to companies that are among the global leaders in their respective fields, and exports account for 60 per cent of the plastic components manufactured by the company based on North Funen. Danish companies overwhelmingly purchase on their domestic market, where they can be sure of receiving top quality deliveries.
Nevertheless, despite close relations and partnerships centred on development, Bogense Plast is facing tough competition from rivals south of the border and in Asia.
“It may be a case of haggling over a fraction of a cent per component,” relates Anja Drewsen, Production and Logistics Officer at Bogense Plast.
Automation of the production apparatus, including the introduction of industrial robots, largely explains why Bogense Plast has succeeded not only in maintaining its good customer relations, but also in achieving year on year growth.
Another reason is the company’s decision to implement the new Dynamics AX 2012 R3 business system.
The system was brought online just before the 2015 summer break, replacing a sector system that was gradually being phased out. The old system handled assignments satisfactorily in many areas, and with many subsystems.
Following the switch to Dynamics AX 2012, however, there is no doubt at all that the system is helping reinforce Bogense Plast in a completely different way than previously.
“Dynamics AX has given us a competitive advantage in that we can provide our customers with service in the form of data. Moreover, we have gained control of our own costs and can now maintain a much better overview of the business,” adds Anja Drewsen.
“There is a growing tendency to move production back to Denmark from countries such as China. I think the reason for this is that buyers are starting to devote more attention to the total cost of outsourcing, taking quality costs and delivery time into consideration.
“We can certainly compete on price, but to do so we must have complete control of our costs. It’s a question of involving as few people as possible – which is where Dynamics AX proves invaluable,” she continues.
We held interviews with several potential suppliers and chose Bredana on the basis of a tendering round, good chemistry, and an approach to the project that left us convinced that Bredana could handle the assignment.
Anja Drewsen Production and Logistics Manager, Bogense Plast
Dynamics AX provides a 360° degree overview
Dynamics AX has replaced the subsystems – such as reporting – where data previously had to be extracted manually and set up in an Excel spreadsheet.
“We now have a logistics spreadsheet based on a cube, which provides us with a 360° overview of customers, goods, forecasts, sales and all our production and quality data. This will certainly help us make big savings on resources, which we can then devote to development instead,” says Anja Drewsen.
Order processing is another area where Dynamics AX has made a huge difference.
“The old system was laborious to work with. We can now navigate smoothly through the system and quickly establish whether or not an item is available. Briefly put, we can perform more functions with the same staff,” relates Anja Drewsen.
Some of the resources saved in this area are used to meet customer demands for FIFO (First In, First Out) in the warehouse.
“We’ve introduced batch management, and can now always select the oldest items first, because changes may be made to production specifications further down the line,” explains Anja.
Stocks adapted to customers’ withdrawals
Dynamics AX has also redefined the entire field of forecasting, which the old system simply could not handle.
“We can now take customers’ forecasts in Excel format and import them directly into Dynamics AX. This allows us to optimise our planning and to produce volumes that match customers’ withdrawals. We have a better overview of the volumes of raw materials we need to use, and are thus better placed to tell our suppliers what we expect.”
“Forecasting and the logistics spreadsheet provide an excellent overview. We have achieved higher security of supply in all areas, and will be able to reduce our warehouse stocks through operating with a higher turnover speed,” says Anja Drewsen.
Production planning is run in the Barco system, with integration to the ERP system.
“The two systems exchange data. Sales orders are used to generate demand calculations and production proposals in Dynamics AX, which are then transferred to Barco, where the actual planning takes place. Once the goods have been manufactured, data is sent back to Dynamics AX,” says Anja.
“The system is easy to use, and we deliver on time. Our delivery performance is between 98 and 100 per cent.”
Anja Drewsen Production and Logistics Manager, Bogense Plast
Delivery performance between 98 and 100 per cent
Bogense Plast has chosen to optimise warehouse operations through the inclusion of Bredana’s supplementary module ‘Pocket’. This is a bar code solution that transfers Dynamics AX functionality to handheld units. In this case, tablet computers with scanners.
Pocket is used to manage both warehouse storage and picking, and the updating of the Dynamics AX order book is performed in real time, so that sales, purchasing and shipping can all keep up.
“The system is easy to use, and we deliver on time. Our delivery performance is between 98 and 100 per cent,” continues Anja Drewsen.
Smart management of sub-suppliers
Bogense Plast manufactures plastic components that other companies use in their products.
In some cases, Bogense Plast commissions sub-suppliers to perform tasks such as fitting metal parts in a given component.
“Our old system made it difficult to withdraw an item and register that it had been sent to a sub-supplier. When it comes to our finished goods, we can now prepare a purchase order for our sub-supplier and thus add on another production step that draws the raw materials from our own stocks.”
Updating price lists automated
It has also become easier to update price lists, and the associated calculations have become much more accurate.
“Before we introduced the new system, we extracted the prices manually, set them up in Excel spreadsheets, corrected them and then entered them manually once more,” relates Anja Drewsen.
“The entire process has now been automated in Dynamics AX, and sales prices are updated according to the data basis, in that the system calculates a sales price based on the underlying consumption of resources and raw materials,” she adds.
Significantly improved financial overview
Dynamics AX 2012 R3 has also boosted the company’s financial overview.
“We now have a significantly improved overview. This naturally demands data discipline, but we can already see the benefits we stand to gain from it,” continues Anja.
“The monthly accounts are ready 14 days earlier than with the old system.
We have to know how our business is progressing, so we can react quickly to changes and apply the relevant input as soon as possible. We are constantly working to optimise our bottom line and to make a firm stand in the face of our competition, so we need to know that we are on the right path.”
Bogense Plast employs around 75 people in the production of high-quality plastic components – everything from machine parts to well-known designer products. The distinguishing features of the production set-up are new technology, a high level of automation, orderliness and a systematic approach.
Bredana chosen for its business insight
Many of Bredana’s consultants have worked in the industry themselves, and this proved crucial to the choice of supplier of the Dynamics AX solution, as Anja Drewsen explains:
“The fact that one of the consultants was a production engineer who had worked in the plastics industry was a major plus, because it meant that the issues facing us were properly understood and ensured that the solutions were high quality.”
The company had pushed the project back a bit
“I had a feeling that we were facing an enormous project that we would struggle to complete. However, things went really smoothly and Freddy Tindhof, our CEO, expressed his amazement that it was possible to implement a new system so easily.”
The project was completed using Bredana’s agile project model, which both aligns expectations regarding the budget and schedule, and allows agile project development.
“Involving the employees in the agile development sprints was hugely effective. It allows the employees to feel that they are playing an active part in the process,” says Anja Drewsen.
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