Elcome keeps customers afloat with new ERP solution

Maritime services company, Elcome has announced the deployment of Microsoft’s Great Plains. Al Futtaim Technologies, which has implemented the thin-client based ERP solution said the new system will provide better management and communication for Elcome's service engineers, partners and customers.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  April 7, 2004

Maritime services company, Elcome has announced the deployment of Great Plains from Microsoft's business solutions division. Al Futtaim Technologies, which has implemented the thin-client based ERP solution said the new system will provide better management and communication for Elcome's service engineers, partners and customers. The Microsoft Great Plains solution will help Dubai-based Elcome, which sells and services navigation and communications equipment for ships, to manage a wide range of activities as the company expands its operations in the Gulf region. The company has offices across the Middle East, Africa and India said the new application will optimise their strategic business processes across these geographies, as well as manage more than US$5.3 million of inventory more efficiently. “Many companies in the maritime industry are slow to change, but we knew we had to have greater efficiency in our business to enable us to manage our growth. We started looking at our financial data, but then realised we could integrate many more parts of our operations than that, to give us greater transparency of processes, greater control and much better ability to meet our customers’ needs,” says Jimmy K. Grewal, IT & security manager, Elcome. The project includes the first complete roll out of Great Plains Field Services in the region, a module of Great Plains designed specifically to manage engineers and other staff that work away from the company’s offices. Elcome’s engineers, often have to undertake repair work while ships are still at sea.This creates a need not just for a powerful human resources planning solution to manage the engineering team, but also a need for a mobile solution says the maritime services provider. “When something goes wrong with a ship’s communication or navigation systems, the ship can be delayed if the problem isn’t fixed. It is very important that we are able to meet the window to get things fixed; providing everyone with the right information,” explains Grewal. Elcome is hosting the Great Plains application with regional service provider ASP Gulf and making the application available to branch offices through Citrix’s Metaframe Suite and the web, via Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server and Business Portal. The company decided to outsource hosting of the application so that it did not have to worry about investing in infrastructure for its various offices, and so that it would have the flexibility to move to Dubai’s proposed Maritime City, scheduled to open in 2006. “This solution also allows Elcome to better manage the cost of expansion at the desktop level, as staff can access the application with just a thin client device, instead of a full PC,” says Venkat Raghavan- divisional manager of Al Futtaim Technologies. The solution can also be integrated with external customer and supplier systems to provide quicker and better management of relationships, and the capability to access the solution via handheld devices such as Pocket PC or smart phones. The 36-year old Elcome serves as a sales and service organisation for Marine Navigation & Communications equipment and has recently expanded to vessel management systems, simulators, data communications and solutions for the defense industry.

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