Systems update

York Egypt was in need of a business solution that brought in efficiency and cost savings across all its operations in the region. The company hopes the new iScala modules will help its rapidly growing business demands.

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By  Sarah Gain Published  April 25, 2005

York Egypt, which is a supplier of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) equipment has updated its IT systems with the deployment of an array of iScala modules covering financial management, general ledger, supply chain management, fixed asset management, payroll management and reporting. Prior to the Epicor Scala implementation, the company was using basic spreadsheets and non-automated systems for its financial, logistics and payroll functions. Simultaneously, York’s Middle East operations were experiencing rapid growth. With parallel operations across multiple client locations and across multiple product lines, duplication of data in terms of paperwork was tremendous for York. This resulted in a lot of additional costs both from a perspective of additional time spent and excess stationary due to duplication of documentation for various stakeholders and processes. Thus, it became imperative for the organisation to implement a centralised enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that would help manage corporate and operations data within a fixed minimum budget. In addition, a great deal of time was being wasted in terms of information retrieval for various purposes such as data analysis. This also meant a very complicated and time-consuming data analysis process not just for financials, but also for broader macro level business intelligence initiatives. As a result, the overall efficiency performance of the firm suffered and there was growing pressure on the company to streamline its supply chain to increase throughput, while at the same time improving its business reporting capabilities and analysis. “It was imperative that we get a flexible and scalable ERP that we could rely on and maintain easily. The solution needed to be robust, flexible and scalable in order to help overcome all cultural barriers regarding language, local business processes, and end user knowledge of ERP,” explains Sadek Sobhy, financial controller at York Egypt. After considering the various ERP options available in the marketplace, York International’s corporate office decided that a combination of iScala modules would provide the strongest value options that the HVAC&R supplier was seeking. “The applications promised to be reliable, as well as being easy to maintain and acquire. Because they were also very cost-effective we felt that Scala would fit the bill perfectly,” says Sobhy. The project saw the implementation of a variety of iScala modules including financial management capabilities that included general ledger, account receivable and payable facilities, petty cash and PDC management. A supply chain management package was also deployed to cover aspects of stock requirement planning, purchase control, drop shipment and inventory, warehouse and lead time management. Finally, applications to rationalise and simplify fixed assets management, reporting and payroll management were provided, completing the company’s business process overhaul. In order to have a successful deployment, it was important to completely update all the HVAC&R supplier’s systems. An implementation timetable and standardised systems and procedures were agreed upon, however the success of the deployment was dependent on the training and education of the York staff. “It was a steep learning curve as our IT team was not fully acquainted with the system. It did not take long for everyone to grasp, however, as Scala provided us with a great deal of support and knowledge. There were one or two minor crashes, but nothing big enough to throw the project entirely off the rails,” he adds. The rollout encountered very few problems once it got under way and York Egypt’s inhouse team was able to deploy the solutions itself. Since the company had no automated systems in place, it was simply a case of inputting the manually collected data, which was physically cleansed as the project progressed. The first phase of the implementation was successfully completed in 2004 and from then the only major concern for York was the comprehensive training of the employees, who had to come to grips with the features of the computerised resource planning system that included the iScala programmes 10 Accounting Dimensions, Report Generation and Crystal Reporting. “The implementation of the solution brought in tremendous changes to the way of functioning for the employees. It led to the redistribution of work and proactive issue handling. The change control exercised during this time enabled the employees to accustom themselves to these changes. Once they were comfortable with the solution, the results were more than evident for all to see,” Sobhy enthuses. With the introduction of the updated ERP, the company is now on par with its operations worldwide. The fully integrated apps support its multiple language, currency and statutory requirements, lowering costs and reducing complexity. Furthermore, Egypt York has seen overall performance enhancement and online data centralisation. It is also reaping the benefits of reduced inventory through the enhanced supply chain management procedures. The increased data visibility, better controls and procedures, as well as more timely and accurate information that the ERP provides has tangible rewards for York. According to Sobhy, “The impact of the iScala implementation was witnessed across the supply chain, with the financials function showing as much as a 50% to 60% increase in time and cost savings.” The introduction of an automated ERP not only removed unnecessary data duplication and the corresponding wastage, but also enabled real time data analysis and business intelligence procedures. Being in a competitive and fast-growing marketplace, this was essential for York to allow it to deal with all situations and trends in the space. The impact of the implementation has not just been on routine activity like payroll management and standard bookkeeping, but has also resulted in a complete change of the entire financial analysis and planning process at the company. “From one screen, the management of York Egypt is able to view financial implications of various aspects of the business. Thus, enabling better and more effective financial and business planning, as well as major savings through a much more efficient and automated process,” Sobhy explains. The detailed information of the inventory makeup has reduced the average inventory across the supply chain, freeing up more capital. The powerful batch traceability, bin management and quality control of the new warehouse management solution has considerably improved the flow of products through the centres. In addition, the drop shipment module now enables York to sell items more profitably: “We have been able to reduced stock levels, storage costs and release capital otherwise tied up in stock. Improved stock requirement planning and purchase control, is allowing us to streamline the materials management functions,” says Sobhy. Being listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), operating in a competitive environment, it is imperative for York Egypt to continuously, quarter on quarter, grow its bottom line. In this respect iScala’s financials, logistics, fixed asset and payroll management modules have helped York to boost sales while simultaneously driving down costs, mainly through increased productivity across the supply chain. However, Sobhy says there is no room for complacency. The company has taken the decision to commence the next round of overhaul and is in discussions with Epicor Scala to finalise the details and modalities of its plan to implement service and manufacturing modules in the not-too-distant future. “More of our systems should be upgraded, updated and automated for the company to maintain and build on its competitive advantage and future-proof its operations.”

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