XL-BYG – Dynamics AX
Each business chooses its own IT system. Having Axapta as our common base is a great advantage.Peter Clausen, IT manager, XL-BYG
XL-BYG's members are primarily independent and self-managing businesses, and this factor influences the choice of IT system.
"Each business chooses its own IT system. Having Axapta as our common base is a great advantage," says XL-BYG IT manager Peter Clausen.
Logics from financial system available on extranet
The software house EG – using the built-in internet tools in Dynamics AX – has developed an extranet that allows employees in the various timber businesses and DIY centres to work directly in XL-BYG's AX system via a browser.
"Practically all XL-BYG's business processes can be found in the AX system. Information on suppliers, turnover, agreements, products, campaigns and prices are also available on the internet. In that way, we reap the benefits of using the same business logics internally at XL-BYG and externally in XL-BYG's communication with its members," Karl Ib Roed Sørensen from EG explains.
The finance departments of Ditas' member businesses can print invoices via a browser – or transfer them directly to their own financial systems. Even though the member businesses use seven or eight other – different – financial systems, information is transferred digitally from the central AX system, minimising manual data entry.
The chief clerks of the respective business areas can find information on product ranges, goods and prices – and, not least, order goods. Marketing staff can find information on offers and campaigns and compile individual advertising folders with accurate product specifications and current prices directly from the system.
"Managers can follow turnover directly and see the latest business agreements with suppliers. They used to call us often to make sure they had the latest version. They don't do that anymore," says Peter Clausen.
Dynamics AX is XL-BYG's central nervous system
XL-BYG's IT manager recounts that the wholesale society used to send "boxes of print-outs" to the businesses each month with information on their monthly purchases and how much they needed to buy to reach the next bonus level. The individual businesses receive a bonus based on the volume of their purchases.
"Now they can extract up-to-date figures and supplement their orders to reach the next bonus level if they wish to do so. We have saved a lot of window envelopes over the past few years, and the members always have access to accurate information," says Peter Clausen, IT manager at XL-BYG.
In practice, businesses order their goods directly from the suppliers in accordance with their XL-BYG contracts. Invoices and payments, however, always pass through XL-BYG's and the wholesale society's AX solution. This means that XL-BYG handles central invoicing from suppliers to businesses – and suppliers are paid directly by XL-BYG.
"But when we have campaign offers, suppliers demand that XL-BYG collects the orders from all businesses, and our members then order directly via the AX system," says Peter Clausen and thus illustrates how the web-based AX solution is the central component of all aspects of XL-BYG's daily work.
The Dynamics AX financial system underpins business
The comprehensive web solution has been developed continuously over the last two years in a collaboration between XL-BYG and EG. The system is also used in a number of other retail chains, but several new functions are still on the wish list.
"The decisive factor is that we can delegate ever more functions to our members. They are now able to update their own contact information so that we always have the right contact names and phone numbers for the persons responsible for each product range," explains Peter Clausen.
EG has developed the chain solution for XL-BYG using no other technology than the built-in development tools in AX. Still, the task was no small one.
"The technology caused us no problems, but we have had to expand a standard financial system with solutions to meet a large number of industry-specific needs without modifying the financial system itself, so that XL-BYG automatically benefits from future Microsoft developments of the system. But it is no simple task to bring together 400 suppliers and more than 240 businesses, each with different financial systems," Karl Ib Roed Sørensen from EG concludes.
XL-BYG wanted to expand its financial management system so that its members could handle orders, supplier contracts and advertising campaigns directly through the financial system Microsoft Dynamics AX via a web interface. This extranet was to be designed to allow XL-BYG's members to specify which employees should have access – and to which parts of the system.
By means of the existing AX internet tools, EG designed a browser-based extranet that enables employees of the approximately 240 businesses to find relevant information directly in AX.
The system is a web-based AX interface and has rendered superfluous thousands of letters from XL-BYG to its member businesses containing contracts, order confirmations, invoices, account statements and advertising material for folders and campaigns.The system is a web-based AX interface and has rendered superfluous thousands of letters from XL-BYG to its member businesses containing contracts, order confirmations, invoices, account statements and advertising material for folders and campaigns.
119 businesses and a total turnover of approximately DKK 8.5 billion make XL-BYG one of Denmark's largest construction product chains. At the same time, XL-BYG is running a well-assorted webshop selling building materials and articles for homes and gardens.