Dynamics 365 optimises core processes in China 

The leading hydraulics manufacturer in the Nordic region, HydraSpecma, implemented Dynamics 365 in their Chinese subsidiary. The result is that HydraSpecma has achieved transparency in operations and the ability to share data between the head office in Skjern and the Chinese subsidiary.


Branche: Production

Størrelse: Large


Is it possible to deploy a Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution 7,000 kilometres away in China while the pandemic rages? And is it possible to handle all training of local superusers online? Is it possible to run such a large project without consultants and project staff from Denmark being physically present?

The answer is yes. In September 2020, HydraSpecma's manufacturing facility in Tianjin, China, went live with a Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management solution, enhanced by modules from Bredana Axcite. The implementation process was severely challenged by an increasingly closed world, yet this did little to deter a strong trio of superusers from HydraSpecma in Skjern led by CFO Hans Peder Aarre, a dedicated team in Tianjin led by Vice Site Manager Shirley Xing and consultants and developers from Bredana Axcite.

Meetings and training took place remotely. Superusers and end-users in China were taught online by superusers from Denmark. In Denmark, both superusers and consultants worked at night to compensate for the time difference between the two countries, and online "exams" were held for end-users in the run-up to going live, in order to ensure that they were familiar with the solution.

"The implementation was under control all the way through, and the processes involved in going live came with very few challenges," says Hans Peder Aarre.

As a result, HydraSpecma has achieved operational transparency and data sharing, which was one of the main goals of the new solution. At the same time, Dynamics 365 has made everyday life easier for the 60 or so employees in Tianjin, where workflows have been digitalised and processes optimised. In addition, with China as a pioneer project, the Group has gained valuable knowledge of Dynamics 365, which will come into play when the Dynamics AX solution at the factory in Skjern is upgraded to Dynamics 365 in 2022, and the sales company in the United States will also move to Dynamics 365 – probably already this year.

The remotely trained team in Tianjin, China, led by Vice Site Manager Shirley Xing, has been a dedicated one. 

From "black box" to complete transparency

The companies in Skjern and Tianjin work closely together. Parts for a number of products assembled in China are produced in Denmark. Purchasing and sales are managed from Denmark. This also applies to plans and production techniques. The factory in Tianjin produces a small number of products for own OEM customers.

Before Dynamics 365, the company in China had a local ERP system that was difficult to access from the outside and thus a bit of a "black box".

"We couldn't keep up and do the controlling. And we couldn't help our colleagues in China, as we didn't have enough insight," says Hans Peder Aarre.

"We wanted to bring China into our data warehouse, work with the same KPIs and use our BI tools to benchmark. We also had a strong desire to digitise processes and get away from all the spreadsheets in Tianjin."

"In the long term, we want Microsoft Dynamics 365 to be the one system that supports our group structure and intercompany trade," says Hans Peder Aarre.

"With the implementation in China, we have already achieved the transparency that enables us to better support our colleagues in China, and they have actually developed a closer relationship with us."

"Our new WMS solution with barcode scanners saves us a lot of time. With the scanners, we avoid the errors that can occur with manual entries and – very importantly – our stock is always updated in real time." 

Shirley Xing, Vice Site Manager at HydraSpecma in China

The entire value chain optimised

Vice Site Manager Shirley Xing finds that Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, Supply Chain Management and some of the specialist modules developed by Bredana Axcite have a big impact on day-to-day operations.

"Our new WMS solution with barcode scanners saves us a lot of time. With the scanners, we avoid the errors that can occur with manual entries and – very importantly – our stock is always updated in real time," Shirley Xing explains.

Every two weeks, the factory receives 2–4 containers from Denmark with parts for assembly. A complicated process upon reception, involving manual checking of order lines, has now been replaced by scanning and faster storage. Picking routes and packing have also been optimised.

The Axcite Product Management module ensures that master data for products is maintained in an easy way. The solution ensures that an item cannot be put into service until master data has been entered.

With the Axcite Procurement module, the factory gains increased control and visibility of delivery times from suppliers.

"Occasionally, a shipment changes from sea to air or vice versa, and in that situation it's easy to update the system and keep track of when we will receive the item. This also allows us to provide our customers with clear communication," says Shirley Xing.

The Job Card Device solution has made it possible to view the status of a production order and calculate cost prices accurately in one go.

"Recording labour and machine hours on a production-by-production basis opens up entirely new possibilities in pricing," says Shirley Xing.

Finally, Shirley Xing highlights the Forecast module in Dynamics 365, which makes it much easier to predict what customers will buy. The solution allows viewing of historical data, as well as providing the ability to import and validate forecasts from customers.

"Dynamics 365 has generally made it easier for us to perform a number of work functions and processes and provided greater insight into our own business. The system's user interface helps individual employees keep track every day," says Shirley Xing.

"Dynamics 365 has generally made it easier for us to perform a number of work functions and processes, and has provided greater insight into our own business. The system's user interface helps individuals keep track every day." 

Shirley Xing, Vice Site Manager at HydraSpecma in China

Consultants from "reality"

The experience of online development and implementation of Dynamics 365 in difficult times shows that when everyone does their best, it really is possible.

Hans Peder Aarre praises the project organisation in China under Shirley Xing's leadership:

"They have done a great job and had full control and understanding of everything," he says.

The same goes for the superusers in Denmark, who have been good at passing on their knowledge to colleagues in China and supporting them along the way.

"Bredana Axcite has been great on the consulting side. You can feel that the consultants have been out in the real world and are therefore good at understanding our everyday lives and processes, and able to figure out challenges. This is a great strength," says Hans Peder Aarre.

"The community we've had around the solution has been really good."

Shirley Xing also appreciates the consultants from Denmark:

"They understand the problem, even if we can't always describe it clearly," she says with a smile.

Facts about HydraSpecma

HydraSpecma is one of the Nordic countries' leading hydraulics companies, formed through the merger of two formerly strong brands – Danish Hydra-Grene and Swedish Specma.

HydraSpecma's goal is to add value to the power and motion industry. From single components to complete solutions. The company's main ambition is to be the market's best solution provider by guaranteeing stable operation, high reliability of supply and delivering world-class hydraulics across continents.

The company employs more than 1,250 people globally and is represented in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Poland, the UK, India, China, Brazil and the US.

Business areas include wind power, construction equipment, general industry, aftermarket, material handling, commercial vehicles, agriculture, marine, and truck & trailer.

The head office is located in Skjern, and HydraSpecma is owned by Schouw & Co. 

Would you like to know more?

We would love to share our experience with you. Non-binding and free of charge, of course.