Doncasters global ERP deal takes off at Paris Air Show

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In support of a global strategy to standardise systems and processes across its 25 companies, Doncasters wanted to introduce a standard IT solution into the groups core businesses. A deal with SYSPRO ERP supplier, Information Engineering, was formally signed at the Paris Air Show.

The Doncasters Group is a leading international manufacturer supplying precision components and assemblies to the aerospace, power generation, speciality automotive and medical orthopaedic industries.

Originally founded by Daniel Doncaster in 1778 in Sheffield, England, Doncasters is now one of the longest continuously operating industrial manufacturing companies in the world. The group employs some 4,300 people at 25 sites across Europe, the USA and Mexico, and has institutionalised lean manufacturing and Six Sigma principles throughout its operations.

Doncasters had disparate IT systems across its different sites and wanted to introduce a single ERP across the business, in line with its corporate strategy to standardise systems and processes within the organisation. It evaluated the markets leading systems and eventually opted for SYSPRO from Information Engineering, already installed at the companys site in Chard, Somerset. The deal, the largest ever in Information Engineerings 18 year history, is initially worth 2.5 million over 10 months (with nearly 2 million of software and services revenues), and includes sites in the USA and Mexico as well as Europe.

Before the implementation began, Information Engineering visited nine of the groups companies (in the UK, US, Belgium and Germany) to map the existing business processes in each company and to recommend (via a 200 page report for each site) immediate efficiencies that could be put into place. It then proposed a blueprint for a standard set of processes to be adopted by all the companies in the group (including those sites outside of the scope of the initial ERP implementation programme).

Paul Williams, sales director at Information Engineering: Our standard methodology is to review current business processes, then blueprint a set of desired processes, applying principles such as lean manufacturing. We then configure and demonstrate the software supporting those desired processes. This was particularly important in a group of multiple businesses where the essential objective was to standardise best practice across the entire organisation

The process mapping and blueprinting took five months to complete and Williams believes it was a worthwhile exercise: By mapping the SYSPRO system against a standard set of processes, weve saved 30 to 40 percent in implementation time and cost for each site.

Doncasters CEO, Eric Lewis: The future success of Doncasters is dependent on twenty-first century planning systems the SYSPRO system is a tremendous fit within our group. The blueprinting exercise was well received by all our MDs; they and I are eager to move to the implementation phase.

The first site is due to go live in September and the initial phase of the implementation is due for completion by April 2006, with the system live in thirteen sites. Doncasters is considering plans to roll the system out to other sites in the group.

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