Working as one

The situation

When companies grow by acquisition, one issue they inevitably face is how to bring a variety of independently developed business processes and IT systems together.

Figuring the challenge is just too great, many companies simply box on with disparate systems. Others may take a top down approach, decreeing from head office how everyone must now work, and imposing a single IT system on everyone, whether they want it or not. ASSA ABLOY, the global leader in door and window security hardware, took a different approach. 

"ASSA ABLOY Asia Pacific all went onto Dynamics AX, using the template built by Australia. This is unusual in the AX world and says a lot about the quality of  Empired's work."

John Ikin
ASSA ABLOY ERP Project Manager

The technology

Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solution provided a powerful and flexible platform for consolidating and optimising processes throughout the APAC region. With a single regional instance, the APAC organisations can jointly leverage investments in optimising and automating production, order processing, inventory management, and procurement activities.

The gain

John Ikin, ASSA ABLOY Australia ERP Project Manager, could not be more delighted. “Now that all our offices in the Asia-Pacific region are moving towards operating on the same system, we’re finally starting to get efficiencies that we’ve wanted for a long time.

“They include intra group trade and aligning Australia and New Zealand’s finance and business processes. We have real visibility on work in progress stock and our planning is better."

“Where before we were barcode scanning about 30-40% of orders through the warehouse, we’re now scanning around 90%."

“The benefits are hard to summarise neatly – it’s a whole range of things that just allow us to run the business better. We’re communicating better and pulling in the same direction.”

The delivery

This project was as much about governance as it was about technical skills. From the outset, it was critical that ASSA ABLOY and Empired agreed on the precise extent to which business processes would be driven by the regional head office, and which processes would be up to each individual office.

“It called for an incredibly collaborative approach,” says Empired Solution Specialist Doug Daley. “Not just between ASSA ABLOY and Empired, but also between the ASSA ABLOY project team in Australia and the governance team in Hong Kong.” 

“When systems like this stick around for 10-15 years it is critical that the project team understand the importance of the task they are about to undertake. ASSA ABLOY really focussed on ensuring this message came across loud and clear. I remember Tom Devine, the MD of ASSA ABLOY Australia, saying to his team at the start of the project, ‘This is your chance to leave your mark on this organisation’.” 

“The project’s success really boils down to engagement and collaboration. The distinction between vendor and customer disappeared, in many ways our consultants became more coach than consultant, and when we went live, the ASSA ABLOY team fully owned the project – its design, the processes, configuration, you name it. ”

The business value

  • Internal efficiencies, and better planning and visibility for work in progress stock
  • Companies all operating on the same system within the APAC region supports intra group trade
  • Standardised templates create alignment between Australia and New Zealand finance and other business processes
  • One source of communication across the company means different areas of company are now talking to one another and know what each other are doing. One result: better customer service


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