Complete solution BIZ4Elements – component production from sections

Building Plastics company used a foreign system without an adequate local support. Among the crucial drawbacks of the original information system were the problems of Czech legislation implementation, non-transparent accounting in the system and its frequent critical errors.

Initial situation

Also the support of the system was unsatisfactory, namely long reaction times to customer complaints and system modification requirements. Production planning and control was handled outside the system in MS Excel tables. The information system did not provide adequate tools for monitoring and controlling the company from the managerial perspective.

Business goals

Building Plastics was looking for an internationally recognized system with a vertical solution and a partner who could not only implement the information system and provide the subsequent support but who would also be a partner with qualified human resources.

Business requirements:

  • Translation of the existing business logic into the system – a comprehensive system
  • Easy parameterisation/modification of the system when the business logic changes
  • Keeping records and managing several companies within one database
  • Online access to current information about each business transaction and company situation
  • Implementation of specific needs for the area of production and supplies for the building industry – product configuration wizard, raster pricing, surcharge system, short production times, capacity planning, etc.
  • Merging several manufacturing types in one integrated system
  • Interconnection of all modules – simplification of repeated data entries

Technical requirements:

  • Linking an external product configuration sheet in MS Excel
  • E-mail and fax record keeping
  • Sending out order confirmations and delivery notifications by email/fax
  • Access of sales personnel to basic system data when outside the office
  • Interface to the ERP of the parent company (AXAPTA)

Solution description

Building Plastics uses a solution based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV.4.0 information system and the unique BIZ4Elements vertical solution. This solution incorporates fundamental business logic of companies acting as suppliers/producers of components for the building industry.

Basic characteristics of BIZ4Elements vertical solution

1. Sophisticated system of setting sales prices and discounts

Up to three-level definition of customer prices/discounts can be specified for the sales components. The prices/discounts can be assigned to a category, group or subgroup of the goods.

Product sales prices are set using raster pricing and a system of additional surcharges. The raster price is the price of the product in its elementary configuration and it depends on the required width, height and on the product version used. The surcharges are used for non-standard requirements of the customer when compared with the standard version.

2. Business process management support

Upon accepting a customer order the system sends out a notification about the order acceptance and assignment of an internal number. Upon price quote processing, an order confirmation is sent to the customer. The notifications are sent by email or by fax.

When registering a customer order, the system records customer reference positions. This is unique information specified by the customer defining requested location of the product (such as building, floor, etc.). This information is retained throughout the entire business transaction and it is printed out on all documents.

3. Product configuration, production planning and processing

A specific feature of this vertical is tailor-made manufacturing based on variable customer requirements. To specify the material breakdown and TNG procedure of the final product a configuration wizard is usually used. External software is used for product configuration and the final specification card is imported into Navision information system. At Building Plastics the configuration wizard is created in MS Excel. Product configuration is processed in this application and then imported in Navision (individually or in batches). During the import production planning is updated and sales order reservation is created.

Due to short delivery times of the final products unlimited resources are used for capacity planning. In terms of capacities the total workload on individual professions per day is monitored. By the end of each month work efficiency is evaluated and the remuneration system is set accordingly.

Material planning is based on minimum stock levels. Minimum stock levels are adjusted to reflect seasonality.

In the area of material preparation the cutting plan preparation module can be used. As a part of cutting plan preparation cutting plan optimization has been implemented. The system chooses suitable combinations for cutting options from various lengths. It is possible to cut entire bundles or individual pieces.

When dispatching final products, production batch numbers and serial numbers can be used. It is also possible to printout identification stickers for the final products.

4. Dispatch logistics

It is possible to choose from several types of product delivery to the customer in the system. Using the Dispatcher’s Desk one can plan in-house transports or order transportation with an external carrier. This module makes it possible for the dispatcher to plan in/out deliveries (including the order of individual loading and unloading events). Then requests are generated for the warehouse to release goods in exactly defined order. It is also possible to send notifications to the customers regarding the date and time of their deliveries, or to print out key information for placing an order with a transport company.

For parcel shipments the system supports printouts of professional parcels, PPL stickers, postal vouchers and mailing certificates.

In addition to BIZ4Elements vertical solution other customer-specific solutions were implemented.

In the area of logistics it was primarily the use of various measurement units (basic, warehouse, purchase, production, packaging, transport ones). Regarding component sales, the system is set to sales per bundle. If the customer orders other quantities than the size of a bundle, the system automatically adds a surcharge for its unpacking. The warehouse domain was extended with the Temporary Warehouse module which addresses the issues of keeping track of third parties’ materials/products.

In the area of production it was necessary to merge production planning and production of various types:

  • Production of lamellas (made to inventory) – planning based on minimum stock levels (including seasonality). The products are sold directly or they serve as semi-products for later manufacturing.
  • Production of shutters, garage doors (made-to-order) – product configuration, short production times (less than 5 days)
  • Varnishing line (made-to-order, made to inventory) – various types of varnishing performed at one time (some operations are shared), in-house product varnishing, varnishing of third party material (in-house material, possibly also the paint)

Another specific issue which needed to be addressed was splitting the production process into 3 days. On each day a specific set of operations is performed (cutting on day 1, additional operations on day 2, packing and dispatch on day 3). Between some operations a waiting time had to be added dynamically before the next operation. A specific configuration wizard was created for varnishing where the sales price is determined based on specified parameters (varnished area, colour, appearance, polish, etc.).

The following issues were addressed as a part of system integration:

  • Linking the MS Excel product configuration sheet
  • Keeping records of emails and faxes – integration with MS Exchange for keeping records of these types of interactions
  • CRM extra.NET – development of a web portal for sales representatives which serves for retrieving key information about customers

Project execution

The project of implementing Microsoft Dynamics NAV information system was divided into two phases. The first phase was focused on launching the system for all critical system areas except production planning and control.

The first phase of the project was started in mid May 2005 and it had to be completed by August 8, 2005. The project was managed in line with the On Target methodology, which was, due to the short implementation period, modified according to the requirements of the individual project phases. The project was completed on the planned date, with more than 400 customer orders processed in the system in the first week of operations.

The modules of transport planning, web interface access to the system for the sales representatives (CRM extra .NET), raster pricing, and temporary warehouse were launched in successive steps by the end of 2005.

The second phase of the system implementation (covering the areas of production planning and control) was again split into several successive steps. In each step, one type of production was parameterized, tested and launched. By the end on 2005 production of lamellas and the varnishing line were launched. In early 2006 the company purchased a new varnishing line where various types of simultaneously performed varnishing can be processed (some operations are shared). This new situation had to be reflected by completing additional system settings and introducing changes related to varnishing price calculations for the customer based on predefined parameters.

During January and February 2006 the last production type was launched, namely the production of garage doors and window shutters. The system implementation was completed in March 2006 by launching the module for cutting plan determination, including cutting optimization.

Products and technologies used

  • MS Dynamics NAV.4.0
  • MS Dynamics NAV Application Server
  • MS Windows SBS Server 2003
  • MS SQL Server 2000
  • MS Exchange Server 2003
  • MS Terminal Services
  • .NET Framework; Message Queue
  • MS Office XP

Results and benefits for the company

“We have chosen Navision because we believe that the system can grow together with our company. Its robust platform is a guarantee for supporting our growth”, says Bernard Mullie, the Building Plastics company manager.

Introduction of Microsoft Dynamics NAV information system enables optimization of item list compilation. Special item lists were created for Building Plastics to reflect the individual nature of requests of every customer. The information system controls the varnishing line production, including paint consumption planning. Graphic production planning makes it easy and efficient to plan production capacities.

The implementation included introduction of the system in a partner company of Bematech s.r.o., which produces decorative shading equipment for interiors. Fabrics and systems supplied by foreign manufacturers are used in the production. An important activity of the company is distribution of fabrics, PVC lamellas for manufacturing of vertical blinds and welded aluminium tubes.

The following modules were implemented at Building Plastics as a part of Microsoft Dynamics NAV information system implementation: Finance, Cash Administration, Sales and Receivables, Relationship Management, Purchased and Payables, Warehouse Management, Resources, Fixed Assets, Manufacturing, Capacity Planning, Foundation Pack, Process Management and Design.

Company profile of Building Plastics s.r.o. Building Plastics is a leading international manufacturer of roll-formed aluminium lamellas, PVC and pressed aluminium lamellas and other components for production of roller shutters, roller garage doors, roller fenders, fixed and roller mosquito nets.

Building Plastics ČR is the only company in the Czech Republic directly producing aluminium lamellas for external window shutters.

A new varnishing line is specialized in powder painting, it is equipped with high-end technology and it currently belongs to the most modern and unique facilities of its kind in the Czech Republic and the neighbouring countries.