Bekuplast GmbH
Bekuplast GmbH

With Flexibility into the Future - thanks to Microsoft Dynamics AX and ORDAT

"Thanks to Microsoft Dynamics AX we are able to react fast:

When it comes to new requirements we can modify the parameters and settings by ourselves. Thus we need our software partner only in exceptional cases."

Bekuplast GmbH

manufactures plastic containers for industries, commerce and logistics - to some extent also in a customized design.

In order to move Fish, Meat, Flowers or Bulk Goods

along the value chain, special containers are inevitable - after all, the products should not unnecessarily suffer from transportation. The reusable containers of bekuplast GmbH are notably environment-friendly. "Very often, our products are in use over a period of many years. They are easy to wash off and, at the end of their lifetime, they are recycled," emphasizes Norbert Michalik, authorized representative at bekuplast. Since the requirements on components, frozen food or plants are extremely high and varied, bekuplast keeps innumerous standard containers.

Furthermore, the plastic processor develops customized products for industry and commerce. Being a supplier of various sectors, bekuplast  is less prone to fluctuations in economic activities. 26 injection olding machines in Ringe (Lower Saxony, Germany) ensure a fluent production. Other sites are found in Poland, the Netherlands and in the Franconian Crock (also Germany). 160 employees manufacture about 12 to 15 million carriers a year. About 40 trucks are dispatched every day. The sales department operates internationally. The focus, however, lies on the German and Dutch market. In 2009 bekuplast generated a turnover of 38 million euros.

For a long time, bekuplast has been working with an industry software for plastic manufacturers - until the developer, a smaller software provider, terminated its services. In order to secure business activities in the long term, bekuplast decidedto change the system at the end of 2006. Over the next months a range of different solutions were analyzed.

"We took a look at business solution software as well as ERP systems. At the end we came to the conclusion that only a bigger service provider can assure the necessary investment security," explains Michalik. In spring 2008 Microsoft Dynamics AX prevailed, amongst others, over the solutions by SAP. The decisive factor was the flexibility of the program structure. "We work in well established production procedures and this was supposed to stay like it after the change in software," underlines Josef Westhuis, CIO at bekuplast GmbH.

 "MOreover, being a contract manufacturer we adapt to the requests if our customers - and the demands of the markets are high." Based on this background it is essential that the software can be customized without great effort. 

"For our company size SAP did not have the suitable solutions and the adaptability was distinctly lower than with Dynamics AX," says Westhuis.

Solution

in summer 2008 the system change entered its final and most exciting phase. Designing the processes involved a close orientation towards the standards. ”For a long time, we have worked with well-functioning software. That is why our requirements were accordingly high,” underlines Westhuis.

The project team managed to model most of the business processes by using parameters and thus did not cause any further expenses for programming. ”Thanks to the modern structure of Dynamics AX the individual requirements could be implemented without making any compromises. In this way, a customized, integrated ERP system was generated at an economically viable expenditure,” says Christopher Schütz, project leader at ORDAT. Only in the logistics sector an adaption was necessary, as CIO Westhuis explains:”we give each pallet a pallet number and each warehouse movement is journalized by using barcodes. Thus, we are able to keep an eye on the lots leaving our warehouse at any time.” “In doing so, bekuplast meets the strict regulations of the food industry, according to which all materials in use have to be retraceable – even if they are “only” containers for transportation.

Another new feature is the integration of the central production control. With the help of an interface, orders which have been planned in Microsoft Dynamics AX are transferred to the manufacture line. In reverse direction, operating data and machine data are sent to the company’s software.

Advantage

The switch in autumn 2009 went exactly as planned. ”We had to change the software out of necessity and without sacrificing our processes. Thanks to the flexibility of Dynamics AX we succeeded,” emphasizes Michalik. For him, the new company software is primarily an investment in the future: “Thanks to Dynamics AX we can react fast: when it comes to new requirements, we often modify the parameters and settings by ourselves. Thus, we need our software provider only in exceptional situations.”

With the new system, bekuplast has become considerably more flexible. This is especially shown when structuring own reports. “The report system is decidedly comprehensive,” Westhuis explains. „Compared to former times, we gain definitely more insight into our business processes. Now, particularly material movements can be reproduced more easily.”

The gained scope is so immense that it will take a while until all options can be completely used, forecasts Westhuis. Bekuplast, however, will not wait that long. It has already been decided to extend the system: in near future, document management and functions like quality assurance management will be introduced.

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