Today Infor announced that telecommunications component manufacturer Filtronic Broadband will extend its implementation of Infor10 ERP Business (SyteLine) to support recently acquired Isotek Holdings. Like the vast majority of the “World Class” ERP implementations participating in our Mint Jutras 2011 Solution Study, Filtronic Broadband has defined corporate standards for ERP. Mint Jutras defines World Class to be the top 15% in terms of results, progress achieved in reaching company-specific goals and current performance. Our study found that 97% of the top-performing ERP implementations have defined corporate standards for ERP, although this does not always mean a single ERP solution is implemented at all operating locations as we see planned for Filtronics Broadband. In fact World Class implementations with such standards are equally split on having a single standard (51%) or a two or multi-tier strategy (49%).
Filtronic Broadband’s requirement was for an ERP solution that could be used in sites spanning two continents: the UK and the United States. It was also driven by the necessity to move fast – it had to be implemented quickly before the end of the fiscal year. It decided to use Infor10 ERP Business to standardize inventory processes between the two operating locations, with the added benefit of accelerating those processes and reducing the cost of materials.
It’s not clear from the announcement whether the combined companies will use a single instance of Infor10 Business or whether each operating location will have its own. One thing is clear; operating in two different countries requires them to maintain two different legal entities. Passing data between two instances of the same ERP can be far easier than between different ERP platforms, but only if master data and processes are standardized. And that’s a big “if.” A certain openness and support for interoperability is a big factor. Yet success will depend as much on the design of workflows, processes and master data.
The approach Filtronic Broadband decided to take was to have a master database of all parts, with consistent item numbers across both sites. In addition to speeding up processes, it will help them eliminate excess inventory where the same part might have existed with different item numbers. This of course isn’t the only way to manage this type of distributed environment. Instead of using a single standardized set of master data codes (e.g. part numbers), master data using different codes could be mapped to one another. But for every one World Class implementation mapping different codes, there are slightly more than two using universal codes. So Filtronic Broadband was hardly unique in this decision.
According to Dave Barry, IT manager for Filtronic Broadband, the company is still in early stages. We’ll be watching to see what kind of real benefits are gained, whether related to time and money saved, as well as consistency in reporting.