PN Beslag implements ERP system in record time thanks to an agile approach
It was obvious to me from the start that if this was to become a success, I had to give this project my full attention. Agile implementation cannot be more agile than the organisation, and I wanted to prove that we have what it takes.Erik A. Skov, managing director, PN Beslag
A preceding business analysis had ensured that the task was "simple" and that the requirements were clear: In four months, PN Beslag and EG NeoProcess were to introduce a new ERP system from scratch, adapt the company work processes to the new system and train the employees. Some thought this was an impossible task.
Decision-making authority was paramount to success
The agile project method was chosen to ensure the best possible framework for a fast and simultaneously business-oriented implementation. In itself, even the best method is never a guarantee for success. In order for the agile method to work as intended, central employees have to be involved and to be given decision-making authority so that they can take on responsibility and make fast decisions during the process.
From the beginning, PN Beslag made a strong team of key employees available and gave the project full management support. The result was an action-oriented steering group with the managing director sitting at the end of the table as an active participant. "It was obvious to me from the start that if this was to become a success, I had to give this project my full attention. Agile implementation cannot be more agile than the organisation, and I wanted to prove that we have what it takes," says managing director Erik A. Skov.
Clear vision and division of responsibilities
The PN Beslag project started with the establishment of a product vision. During short, intensive workshops, the key employees from PN Beslag and the system architects from EG NeoProcess created a clear picture of how Dynamics AX should support the processes across the company.
Using fit/gap analyses, tasks were defined and described, and the responsibility for the implementation processes was carefully distributed between EG NeoProcess and PN Beslag. In short 14-day sprint periods, the tasks were performed and delivered. Progress was only measured by delivered, tested and approved functionality.
Continuous prioritisation and focus on business value
The content of each of the many 14-day sprint periods was continuously evaluated and prioritised. Superfluous tasks were removed, and new tasks were added in close cooperation between the project organisation, the project management and the steering group. The agile method is indeed characterised by the fact that not all tasks are equally important. Business-critical processes will always have top priority, and this is why the implementation process is dynamic and focus is always on business value.
"We knew that we could get very far with Dynamics AX in our production processes. This is why we sent a clear message to our key employees that changes to the standard system had to be justified by clear business value," explains Erik A. Skov.
Agile problem solution
The close cooperation and continuous dialogue between PN Beslag and the EG NeoProcess agile project team resulted in a very strong, interactive process. Even the challenges that arose during the project were handled using an agile approach – smoothly and instantly.
"In a project as compressed and business-critical as this one, encountering challenges is natural, and so did we. However, our common agile approach meant that we could quickly analyse, review and prioritise these challenges in order to find an efficient solution. With good counselling from EG NeoProcess, we made the right decisions and kept full speed on progress during the entire process," says Erik A. Skov.
A common thread from implementation to operations
Reaching the target on time and within budget was, of course, a great satisfaction for PN Beslag who had put equal weight on these two main targets. The major benefit, however, lies in the future when the production and planning processes have to be optimised further.
Today, EG NeoProcess is a strategic partner to PN Beslag, and the intense and successful implementation process means that the parties have established a good cooperation platform for optimising the operation of PN Beslag through continuous optimisation of the solution.
"When you work together as intensely as we did during the four months that this project lasted, you get to know each other very well. The people from EG NeoProcess really understand our business, and they also care about us now that we are up and running. Now is the time when we really start harvesting the benefits of the new solution, and it is important to have a partner who understands our business and takes pride in helping us realise the expected benefits – and EG NeoProcess does this," says Erik A. Skov.
Changes to the standard system had to be justified by a clear business value.Erik A. Skov, managing director, PN Beslag
A required replacement of a more than 30-year-old ERP system that could no longer be supported and a project time frame of a few months.
PN Beslag chose Microsoft Dynamics AX and the agile implementation method that requires some preliminary work, but in return ensures a shorter process and often a more satisfactory end result.
Four months after the contract was signed, PN Beslag went live with a state-of-the-art ERP solution that supports the company's central processes and strengthens its future competitiveness.
PN Beslag is a 133-year-old company that develops, produces and sells fasteners to both DIY people and industrial customers – typically factories producing doors and windows. The company has sales offices in Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom and has around 200 employees.