ERP Evergreen becomes reality for Maersk Container Industry

On 10 June 2019 MCI turned the ERP Evergreen dream into reality

On Monday 10 June 2019 Maersk Container Industry (MCI) went live on Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) v10. This comes almost two years after implementing test automation, one of the fundamentals of ERP Evergreen. For MCI it means this ERP implementation was their last and they are ready to harvest the long-term benefits of an always-updated business system.

MCI began the D365FO journey late 2015 as a Microsoft TAP Project. While spring and summer 2016 presented many challenges and first site go-live admittedly wasn’t as easy as hoped for, MCI never took their eyes off the value proposition of achieving ERP Evergreen.

ERP Evergreen, or continuous upgradability, is a complex thing. It not only requires the actual ERP application code to be upgradeable but also that the organization is prepared for and has the capabilities to conduct thorough and accurate pre-upgrade testing. Inadequate testing can result in incompatibilities between the new version and existing customisations and ISVs solutions and subsequent serious business disruptions.

Unfortunately, testing and upgrading has in the past been resource-heavy tasks which have been down-prioritised. For this reason, we have seen that new ERP implementations usually come in big bang projects every 8-10 years, leaving the entire organization exhausted and costing a fortune.

But those days are over if you, like MCI, give yourself the best conditions and:

  • Think carefully about current and future possible business scenarios to avoid building and implementing something that does not allow future business process flexibility
  • Implement automated application testing to make sure that for every deployment all code and process consistency can be tested automatically
  • Team up with a competent and long-term partner, who runs your applications as their own

When MCI went live on D365FO v10 on Monday 10 June, more than 60 test cycles had been executed and all application code had been lifted from overlayering to extensions. This has involved the lifting of 1200 objects of which 100 objects have required functionality modifications in order to be upgraded, as well as the lifting of eight different ISV solutions – a massive undertaking done by operations and support partner, Sonata Software.

I would like to congratulate MCI and Sonata for working hard and focused on turning the ERP Evergreen dream into reality.

In doubt about cloud-based D365 and the value of continuous upgrade? My best advice is this: Stop worrying, plan for the future, pick your implementation partner carefully and start your journey towards your last ERP implementation today.

Jakob Ingemann
Business Advisor, CEO & Partner

Climate: Successful mitigation of the perfect storm – in 25 days

Climate succeeeded in implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations in 25 days

Following a sooner-than-planned company split-up, commercial refrigeration experts Climate started over as a “new” company, albeit with a large existing customer base and an organisation to run. Through strong team-work and dedication, we helped decide and implement the best-fit future-proof solution in 25 days – without disruptions to Climate’s exceptionally high heatwave-struck business.

Previously an integrated part of a larger commercial refrigeration company, Climate, the project and service division, was separated from the refrigerator business on 1 May 2018. Before the split-up the company used a highly customized AX2009 solution with non-standard add-ons and needed an ERP solution for the new business. During the analysis, we identified Climate’s need for a data-driven standard ERP solution fully supporting finance functions, product and operations, as well as the flexibility-needing on-the-road fleet of technicians.

By implementing Dynamics 365 Climate was able to directly re-use existing internal knowledge gained from older Microsoft ERP systems, minimising training needs and time-to-value. To ease support, updateability, and future potential add-on integration, we re-designed business processes to fit Dynamics 365 standard processes and made a few necessary customisations.

“Working with IZARA has been an eye opener. As a company in large and sudden transition, we felt vulnerable and unclear about the future setup, but I have felt in good hands with IZARA from the beginning.

Our main benefits are two-fold; firstly, I am positively surprised by IZARA’s ability to identify our exact challenges by involving and assisting the relevant employees yet without “intruding” and slowing our work as well as the speed with which our new business system was implemented. It took only 25 days from start to end and during the entire time we were able to continue business as usual. Even as the hottest May in 129 years struck Denmark and increased the amount of incoming service requests by more than 60%!

Secondly, I am very pleased with IZARA’s constant care for the future of the project – Insisting on keeping processes simple while keeping securing flexibility for future phases of the project and thereby doing their utmost to avoid rework and sunk cost – I have no doubt they have been thinking more about my business’ well-being and long-term relations than their own short-term benefits…. Something that unfortunately isn’t the norm in the consulting business.”

[Henrik Vildenfelt, CFO, Climate]

Climate’s solid D365 backbone will be strengthened in the off-season autumn as we expect to exchange an inhouse-developed solution for the D365 Field Service to ensure even smoother operations. We will further increase digitalization and automation, ensuring all relevant activities can be easily and efficiently managed on the road.

Read our customer cases and contact us to hear more about how we can help you.

About Climate
Established in 2003, Farum-based Climate employs more than 40 commercial refrigeration and service experts and has fleet of 50+ qualified technicians/vehicles on the road. With more than a thousand statutory maintenance calls and 30.000 annual service calls, an efficient operations, planning, and logistics system is integral for the company’s focus on fast and correct exception management and service for its customers.

Deciding on ERP implementation after a divestment decision saved Dynea 2m Euros in potential discounts

Business advisory case: Helping Dynea get in shape for a future divestment through IT due diligence

“You’ve put yourself in a perfect position for being sold.” The pre-purchase IT advisor for a potential buyer was impressed with the flexibility and scalability of Dynea’s new IT infrastructure and business system.

Preparing for a sale of the entire company while not knowing which facilities would be sold to whom, Dynea became aware that business system inefficiencies could result in large discounts, massive split-up costs and, in worst case, lack of attracted buyers.

Through a thorough analysis, strategy recommendation, and implementation of a simple and perfectly fitted ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] platform, IZARA helped Dynea mitigate IT-related divestment discounts by

  • Showcasing a flexible and scalable standard ERP solution with low, fixed cost
  • Providing full transparency of the individual facility’s activities
  • Mitigate large rectification costs and potential discounts

Dynea dates back to 1947 when it first started as a chemical company and has since undergone major changes to its core business and structure. It is now well-known for its industrial adhesive products, and had in 2011, when IZARA was engaged, 42 production facilities in Europe and Asia. Towards the end of 2011 the owners of the Dynea Group decided to split up and divest clusters of production facilities to various international buyers. To minimise potential obstacles and expensive IT and sales liabilities, Dynea’s management team engaged IZARA to analyse the current infrastructure and business systems.

During the analysis conducted by IZARA and Dynea new CIO, it became apparent that the business system was not attuned to the business requirements. Major pain points included

  • Poorly integrated ERP solution and training in same led to time waste, lack of built-in automation, and high data inconsistencies,
  • Lack of business planning tools severely impacted procurement efficiency,
  • Manual reporting processed caused heavy delays in management transparency.

The analysis further revealed that the hosting/outsourcing agreement was inflexible and non-scalable and would results in massive IT cost for all entities, and thus a significant divestment discount in a split-up scenario.

Based on the analysis, we identified three business system strategy options, namely to

  1. Leave as is and sell with a significant discount,
  2. Upgrade to a more flexible and scalable standard solution of current system, but have no solution for small company clusters in the split-up,
  3. Adopt a different, simpler, more cost effective and better needs-suited system.

Following a thorough testing phase IZARA confirmed to Dynea’s Board that the business system could be simplified by running all facilities on a standard ERP platform without customization, that costs could be cut significantly through a flexible and scalable license agreement that allowed splitting up the licenses when divesting, and that it would be possible to complete the implementation in 10 identified facilities and within 10 months, before completion of the sales.

IZARA and a select team of Dynea subject matter experts were put in charge of the implementation, ensuring timeliness and budgets, setting go-live goals and deliverables. As agreed, the best-suited ERP platform, Dynamics AX, was implemented across the 10 facilities, within 10 months.

Following the successful implementation, infrastructure and business systems were no longer a liability as Dynea had obtained

  • Detailed production information from each individual facility
  • Smooth operations with no limiting IT dependencies and at low cost
  • Possibility to split licenses and operations in exactly the constellation the facilities would be sold

Overall, IZARA made Dynea’s infrastructure and business systems sales ready, optimised all identified facilities, including those not for sales, and saved Dynea 2 million Euro in potential divestment discounts.

“IZARA gave our company a tough decision to make, based on the thorough analysis of our facilities. I say tough decision because agreeing on an ERP implementation just before a scheduled sale to many people, myself included, seems like a risky, costly, and useless activity. But through the honest and straight-forward partnership, IZARA helped us gain the transparency our potential buyers needed to make an informed decision and the scalability we needed to divest the facilities as there was a demand for. Overall, we estimate a saving of around 2 million Euro in potential discounts and a much shorter, and smoother divestment.”

Henrik Vildenfeldt, CFO, Dynea

About us
At IZARA we put your freedom first. Freedom from overspent IT projects and disruptions. Freedom through a long-term partnership focusing on reaching your objectives. Because as your ERP partner we give you the freedom to choose a future in which IT is a scalable helping hand, business enabler, predictable monthly budget post, and a mean to a business oriented, leaner and less complicated organisation.

IZARA – Peace of mind, as a service.

Allowing transparency and predictability to drive MCI performance.

IZARA and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations helped Maersk Container Industry/MCI improve communication, transparency, and predictability across all facilities

For Maersk Container Industry (MCI), an outdated business system had resulted in a shift towards spreadsheet usage and non-optimal communication across the global operations. After the successful Dynamics 365 implementation MCI had improved its

  • transparency and understanding of risks and costs,
  • data consistency and accurate cost settings,
  • predictability and pro-active, data-driven decisions.

MCI manufactures refrigerated containers, refrigeration machines and dry containers to the intermodal industry, which covers shipping lines, fruit multinationals and leasing companies. Furthermore, MCI has a global after sales service network and sells spare parts to 400 service providers across the world. With a production of 400 dry and more than 150 highly technical reefer containers per day in the facilities in Chile, South and North China, seamless communication and transparency is key.

In 2015, MCI and IZARA partnered to conduct a thorough infrastructure and application landscape review to assess the current state and outline a path for the future.

During the analysis phase, we found that MCI was facing some of the most common challenges for businesses operating in a margin-driven industry, namely outdated and single resource dependent infrastructure and an ERP which was neither fully implemented nor up to date. Thus, MCI could benefit from improved

  • communication through access from all locations,
  • data consistency through a single data repository and maintenance,
  • transparency of cost and resource usage,
  • planning tools,
  • user rights control and segregation of duties.

All in all, the analysis depicted a sizeable improvement potential for MCI, both in the internal use of systems and applications as well as in the customer facing parts of the business. The journey forward was named “Ten years in one” to highlight both the size of the change and the speed in which it would be implemented.

To determine the best way forward, MCI and IZARA immediately started identifying the selection criteria and with keywords such as predictability, flexibility, and scalability and a desire to move IT from internal pain to external service, a perfect fit was found in the cloud- and subscription-based Dynamics 365.Based on the analysis, we identified three alternative strategies: a) leave as is and accept, that the business system wouldn’t be as business enabling as newer systems allow for, b) upgrade from the current business system, M3 version 6 to version 13 which would mean re-implementation, and c) look at alternative ERP solutions.

The pre-implementation testing phase showed that majority of the standard Dynamics 365 components were suitable for MCI which would not only make the solution easily supported but also improve MCI’s time-to-value significantly. The final solution comprises of a standard ERP system with seven add-on ISV solutions centered in an AZURE datacenter on the US east-coast as that network-wise has proven to be the right ‘center of the world’ for MCI’s global operations.

MCI’s new and stronger backbone integrates 700 users in the four MCI locations, connects 400 service providers through real-time integrated e-commerce, seven global 3rd party logistics distribution centers, mobile device framework for efficient warehouse and shop floor operation, and can receive EDI orders directly from the needing vessels and other customers.

The case also revealed how resource-intensive manual testing is for successful ERP implementation and upgrades. MCI’s new solution therefore ensures monthly patches and bi-annual feature upgrades by IZARA’s partner Sonata. This is ensured through test-automation of 90% of discrete and end-to-end business processes.

The business add-on and improvement phase is still ongoing, with no disruptions of course. So far 700 users have been moved to the new platform and we expect 50-100 users to follow in the next 3-6 months as we move into QC management, product lifecycle management integration, and digitalization of internal operations.

“Dynamics 365 has provided us with increased transparency and flexibility across our businesses, supporting data driven decision throughout the value chain.

IZARA assisted us in analysing and mapping our IT-spend and confirmed that we probably did not spend too much in total, but a big part of the spend was not really-value adding activities. After a thorough business objective and needs analysis by IZARA, Dynamics 365 in the cloud and surrounding services was shortlisted. During implementation IZARA took charge of project management as well as finance lead to ensure implementation of the agreed project objectives in all corners of the company.

Post go-live IZARA is still dedicated to optimizing our implementation and usage, helping us setting the direction and ambition for the usage and integration of the business system as an evergreen solution so we hopefully never have to implement again…unless technology disrupts.

Lars Heineke, CFO, MCI Group

For a short video on the Microsoft Dynamics implementation at MCI, click here.

About us

At IZARA we put your freedom first. Freedom from overspent IT projects and disruptions. Freedom through a long-term partnership focusing on reaching your objectives. Because as your ERP partner we give you the freedom to choose a future in which IT is a scalable helping hand, business enabler, predictable monthly budget post, and a mean to a business oriented, leaner and less complicated organisation.

IZARA – Peace of mind, as a service.