With over 40 years of experience, NHP Electrical Engineering Products Pty Ltd (NHP) is a market leader specializing in electrical engineering products. NHP’s mission is to be their customer’s first choice in industrial electrical and automation products, systems and solutions. Their aim is simple – to provide “what you want, when, where and how you want it”.
The core of NHP’s annual sales is value added assembly, a mixture of MTS, MTO, CTO and ETO. They manufacture custom design items that must be engineered to order. Customer-specific designs are therefore key to their manufacturing process. The process is supported by a staff of 150 – 200 people and their output is 5.000 ETO units per year. Their outdated legacy system required them to work around various issues. For example, when file sharing, the Access database did not support too many simultaneous users. Not only would the system crash, but also the wrong drawings were sometimes selected, resulting in late deliveries. Because their system was no longer suitable, NHP decided to search for a replacement that would ensure they reached their goal of delivering on time and within budget. NHP literally searched the internet and found AXtension® Enterprise Content Management (ECM).
- 900 employees.
- 25 branches.
- 24 regional locations in Australia and New Zeeland.
- 70.000+ items in stock.
- Serving a number of industries including: mining, manufacturing, water and wastewater, infrastructure, commercial buildings, pulp, paper and timber, processing plants, oil and gas, and food and beverage.
NHP uses a customer’s design to manufacture their Engineer to Order (ETO) products. “The first step is the quotation and configuration.” says Wess Cassidy, General Manager. “During this step the design is used to estimate the components that are needed. This step can access about 15 associated tender documents. Since you talk quite intensively with the customer, you always need these documents at hand and must know their whereabouts.” Eventually, the customer fills out a Purchase Order, which is then exported to a Sales Order that the customer verifies. Using the customer’s design, NHP creates a drawing, which then requires the customer’s final approval. After this, the Production Order and the associated Purchase Order are generated. Some specialized work is done externally. This means that the design, drawing and work instruction must be shared with third parties.
“Lots of associated documents are included in the entire process. When you do not manage this process well the production floor ends up working with the wrong drawings and the customer will end up with the wrong goods” says Wes Cassidy. “Our old system was outdated and lots of business critical documents were handled by hand. This resulted in many errors: wrong drawings resulted in wrong and/or late deliveries. This problem needed to be resolved.”
NHP needed to make sure that the companies to whom they outsource and the production department all work with the right design, drawings and work instructions and that the design and drawings are properly shared externally as well as internally. Lots of documents are handled through SharePoint and NHP runs their business through AX. NHP’s grand plan was to implement a standardized solution that met the following requirements:
- Based on the Microsoft stack.
- Allowed them to share information internally.
- Allowed them to share information with the customer and vendors.
- Somehow integrated SharePoint and Dynamics AX working together.
- Integrated system so that minimal manual entry is needed.
- Eliminate the risk of using the wrong version of business critical documents.
- Save time on (manual) handling of documents.
- Always have the right version at hand.
- Provide the customer with “what they want, when, where and how they want it”.
NHP achieves their mission of being their customer’s first choice for electronic products because Microsoft Dynamics AX enhanced with AXtension® Enterprise Content Management which is the perfect way to share, store and access documents.
“The standard document handling in Dynamics AX is really good, but one of the limitations is that when you attach a document to a form you cannot access it on another form. And, through the process from the Sales Order to a Production Order, you need to access the documents in all kind of different places. So, the standard document handling is not sufficient” says Wes Cassidy.
With AXtension® ECM you have a completely different view of the document handling system. For instance, when viewing the quotation the same screen shows you the libraries containing the different types of documents that are related to that particular project. On the right side of the screen you can see the SharePoint view. The project-related documents are uploaded in SharePoint via Dynamics AX, allowing you to manage the project from the Sales Order.
From the Quotes form you can go to the Sales Order and access the same library structure described above. “When the product managers talk to the customer they have all the latest versions of the required documents at hand. They are all working with the same information. They don’t have to go back and forth with the people who made the quotation, it is right there. The engineering team also has access to the right drawings, right there.” Wes Cassidy continued, “for us there is a huge efficiency gain right there!”
“Another huge advantage is the ability to use standardized templates when creating new documents like Purchase Orders, Production Orders, etc.” said Wes Cassidy. “When you access the Sales Order and create a new document you can open a template. First, you have to pull Meta Data from SharePoint. You are prevented from making any errors because the details are pulled directly from the Sales Order. All the required fields are already filled out based on the Sales Order input. When you send out documents you are sure that all the right info is embedded. Not only does this reduce errors, it is also a huge efficiency gain.”
Advantages of AXtension® Enterprise Content Management
- Makes use of the advantages of both Dynamics AX and SharePoint:
- Meta data tagging resulting in reduction in errors, easy to find, everyone has the information they need.
- Always accesses the correct documents because of SharePoint’s versioning functionality.
- Error reduction.
- Integrated System, standardized solution.
- Efficiency gains.
- Embedded in Dynamics AX allowing IT to maintain one environment. No additional needs for IT infra-structure.
“Standard solution with the support that comes with a standard solution and not depending on one or two specific people who have the specific knowledge.”
Advantages of AXtension as an ISV
- Professional, responsive, easy to deal with.
- Unparalleled support during the project implementation: training, proof of concept, business case, installation assistance, and so on.
- Very short adoption period because of the ease of use. Two months in total.
Using AXtension® Enterprise Content Management for document management offers NHP:
- Saving of, on average, one million Euros on stocks.
- High stock reliability (min. 98%).
- High delivery reliability (99.8%).
- Shorter loading time (reduced from 2-2.5 hours to an average of 1 hour).
- Insight, overview and transparency.
- Chance of error is zero.
“For us it was the right tool, at the right time, supported by the right team. It’s been a great outcome for us as a company; I don’t believe we could have achieved so much so quickly without AXtension® Enterprise Content Management.” Quote from Bernard Moloney, IT develop manager.
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