Väderstad selects Jeeves ERP for rapid growth

Having seen sales quintuple over the course of a decade, Väderstad needed to reassess its business processes and acquire a modern, flexible, fully-integrated ERP system, capable of supporting the company’s projected growth across 12 international markets.

The vision, ”To deliver highly effective machines and methods to modern agriculture,” is an essential success factor for family-owned Väderstad Verken AB, based in Väderstad, Sweden. In 2011, the company had revenues of $255 million, which represented a five-fold increase since 2000. Väderstad has approximately 1000 employees in twelve countries, operating twelve fully-owned dealerships and two manufacturing companies. 


By the mid-2000’s, constantly increasing demand, expansion into new markets, and precipitated product development resulted in a demand for a new ERP system. In two consecutive years, Väderstad had doubled its revenues and this robust growth required an ERP system capable of supporting ongoing expansion. In 2008, the decision was made to replace Väderstad’s existing ERP system with Jeeves ERP. Ultimately, the company wanted a flexible, end-to-end ERP system capable of keeping up with rapid growth and process change.


”We found ourselves in a position where we seriously needed to both change and improve our workflows,” said Torbjörn Andersson, project manager at Väderstad. ”We quickly realized that it would cost as much to upgrade the current system, as it would to replace it with a new and modern ERP system. With Jeeves ERP, we have the advantage of a standard system, as well as the ability to continuously develop it. [We have a] system that can be adapted according to our flows and functional needs, at the pace of our operational change.”
”A comprehensive feasibility study and a vetting of the system by managers and key personnel laid the groundwork for a successful implementation of Jeeves ERP,” said Andersson. ”With Jeeves ERP, there are also methods supporting continuous improvement, additional integrations, and automation of administrative routines.”


According to Andersson, Väderstad has achieved tremendously improved logistics, increased inventory turnover, and reduced capital tied-up in inventory. Other advantages include a better real-time control of operations, since reliable data and figures are globally available to hundreds of users.


DS Smith Packaging

DS Smith Packaging heightens service with Jeeves ERP

DS Smith Packaging abandoned its in-house developed ERP system after realizing its shortcomings. The decision to implement Jeeves ERP made DS Smith Packaging a more competitive company, with increased information management efficiency and heightened customer service levels.

DS Packaging Sweden works throughout the whole packaging chain, which includes design and production of packaging, as well as improvements to customers’ logistics. DS Smith Packaging has used the Jeeves ERP system in limited parts of its operations for several years. 
Jeeves had already helped DS Smith Packaging implement and develop the system to handle ordering, warehousing, invoicing, and purchasing in three DS Smith Packaging divisions, while also providing ongoing product support. Today, DS Smith Packaging is looking to expand its use of the Jeeves ERP solution to encompass the entire business.


DS Smith Packaging needs a system that integrated the entire operation, offering coordination benefits across all units, as well as controlling the entire process from design to finished product. The Jeeves ERP solution is now process-optimized to support DS Smith Packaging’s business. The information flow from a business inquiry to graphics, design and calculation to the final customer order now takes place based entirely on processes built inside the Jeeves system. “The fact that we’ve now grouped our processes in one single system means that we can maintain a much higher service level,” said Håkan Andersson, IT manager at DS Smith Packaging for the past 10 years. ”Our operation is integrated and our employees are integrated.”


Production is one of several functional areas in which the Jeeves ERP system benefits the company. The solution has enabled DS Smith Packaging to implement system integration within several production areas. The ERP system is now linked to the 100-meter long corrugated cardboard making machines. 
“In the Jeeves ERP solution, we’re directly connected to these large, corrugated cardboard making machines,” said Andersson. ”When we receive an order, it’s registered in the ERP system and then goes directly to the right machine. 
The unloading procedure is another business process that is made efficient with Jeeves ERP. DS Smith Packaging makes 200 million square meters of corrugated cardboard per year, but it’s impossible to have such large warehousing facilities. As soon as the product is finished, it leaves the factory and is delivered to customers or stored at forwarding agents. “We have equipped the forwarding agents with handheld computers that communicate with Jeeves ERP and show what needs to be delivered, as well as reporting [that shows] what has been delivered,” said Andersson.


Jeeves has worked alongside its solution partner SYSteam to achieve IT support changes throughout DS Smith Packaging. “In order to focus on developing cost-effective system support, you need close cooperation and a flexible solution that can adapt as the operation’s needs evolve,” said Anders Gidlund of SYSteam.


PIAB chooses Jeeves ERP to support growth

PIAB is a power user of Jeeves ERP,  making use of all the system’s application areas. As the company has grown internationally with resellers in various countries, the Jeeves ERP solution has been the key to successful integrations. 

PIAB is a global leader in industrial vacuum technology that develops and sells solutions for improving productivity and working environments in the graphical, medical and automobile industry, among others. Being a global leader entails designing, constructing and installing vacuum solutions in all corners of the world. PIAB’s organization is therefore widely distributed, with subsidiaries and distributors in more than 50 countries. The company’s headquarters is located in Täby, outside Stockholm, Sweden.


PIAB was founded in the 1950’s and enjoyed continuous expansion and development. As the business grew over time, so did the demands on the company’s former ERP system. Growing pains were felt at the headquarters in Sweden, as well as within the operations of each of the company’s subsidiaries. 
”There were several other competent ERP systems that fulfilled our needs; however, Jeeves ERP offered us a system capable to face our company’s future challenges,” said Stig Andersson, who was responsible for the Jeeves project at PIAB. ”At the same time, Jeeves and its [implementation] partner understood our business and our needs.”


PIAB implemented Jeeves ERP across its entire Swedish operation. Today, PIAB users in Sweden have a high system competence level and run a complex business with a large number of transactions. PIAB has high expectations for its Jeeves ERP system and needs to quickly be able to search for information to provide relevant reports for decision making. The company also looks forward to increased functionality that will streamline daily tasks, as well as open up new possibilities for integrated control and business development. 


When PIAB was acquired by the risk capital firm Altor, the company introduced a new growth strategy, followed by the acquisition of a large number of international resellers meant to strengthen the company’s distribution channel. Together with the support of a Jeeves implementation partner, PIAB adapted and implemented a comprehensive solution including Inter Company Transaction (ICT) management between subsidiaries, central inventory, and the parent company. ICT’s central feature reduced the number of manual registrations in the system. When an order is registered, the information is stored in a central database. Order acknowledgement, purchase orders, and invoices are then created automatically.
”The logistics flow is the key to success in our growing and increasingly internationalized business,” said Anderson. “The solution for transaction management between our companies, Jeeves ICT, is the most important feature in our ERP system. Today it controls and manages our entire European operation. We have a central inventory in Belgium, and our resellers can easily check inventory balances and order pumps and components.”
Centrally, the ICT gives an integrated picture of the inventory status, which improves PIAB’s production planning. In Germany alone, there has been a 60 percent improvement in delivery times, reduced capital tie-up, and less administration. PIAB plans to introduce similar solutions to its American business.


“Buying Jeeves was also buying in to the idea behind the Jeeves technology,” Anderson pointed out. “[The Jeeves architecture] allows for easy integrations and fast upgrades to new versions of Jeeves ERP.”
Jeeves differs from most other systems since the logic is not based on source code. Instead Jeeves ERP’s logic is stored in a database, which makes Jeeves very simple to integrate with other systems. Furthermore, the architecture stores all customer-specific adaptations in a separate database. This approach leaves PIAB’s adaptations intact when upgrading the standard system. A new version can easily be installed while existing adaptations are automatically carried forward.


PIAB has been a user of Jeeves ERP for years and remains satisfied. “Jeeves has developed close relationships with its partners and customers,” said Anderson, “which ensures that product development is intact through the chain. I feel that Jeeves listens to us as customers and considers our needs when developing their product concepts. That makes it possible to grow safely with Jeeves!”

Färdig Betong

Taking command with the Jeeves ERP system

The unique Jeeves ERP solution returns reduced costs, greater control, lower risk, and better decision support for management.

The product may look like a solid gray mass, but Lars Wiking knows the concrete industry is a veritable kaleidoscope of materials and relationships. Wiking is IT manager for Färdig Betong, Sweden’s leading concrete supplier, with headquarters in Gothenburg and sales heading toward the billion kronor mark. 
Färdig Betong partnered with Omnilog to develop an unrivalled business solution for managing complex business conditions within the concrete industry.


Färdig Betong wanted to run its business from the marketing department, which needed to have central information—but concrete is always mixed locally at batch plants near the customer. Jeeves ERP became the backbone of the new system that takes care of customer information and configuration. The system enables Färdig Betong to deliver the right kind of concrete, in the right amount, at the right place and time from any of almost 40 batch plants the company runs throughout Sweden.


“Customer management is critical, simply because we have so many customers,” said Wiking. ”We assure customer-database quality by retrieving most data from Upplysningscentralen (UC), a business and credit information agency. We can quickly register new customers and maintain high database quality.” Naturally, credit ratings are also checked when customers order concrete from Färdig Betong. If the credit check gives reason for caution with a new customer, the system indicates procedures that should be followed. This is done centrally within Jeeves ERP. Later, when an order is going to be mixed out at one of the batch plants, the customer’s credit rating is automatically checked against the central database, which guarantees that no orders are filled for customers who cannot pay.
Like the entire construction sector, the concrete industry is highly decentralized, with many suppliers. Why? Because buildings are constructed where they are needed, not in permanent factories. By necessity, every new construction project involves a new combination of suppliers, individuals, and customers. Demands for availability are very high. Shipments of concrete to a major bridge construction project, for example, cannot be interrupted because the system is down or communications between batch plants and the central system were interrupted. 


A new EU directive also requires traceability of shipments to the batch plant that mixed a particular batch and that the company can certify exactly which concrete mix was used. ”Our system has given us the capacity to meet all these requirements, even when the workload is as high as one concrete load every three minutes,” said Wiking. ”We can mix a full load in 90 seconds, and the concrete mix can be varied according to hundreds of formulas.” 
The new system has rapidly become a key competitive factor for Färdig Betong, which has been using Jeeves ERP since 1997. According to Wiking, Jeeves ERP and its complementary IT solutions are major components in Färdig Betong’s highly efficient business processes. The company is running a vigorously growing business that has gone from annual sales of about 250 million SEK to nearly four times that in less than 10 years, with no increase in administrative staff. Färdig Betong has also successfully cut the administrative cost for a cubic meter of concrete by 16 SEK, equal to a lower cost of two absolute percent in relation to the average composition of the concrete.


“With Omnilog, we have spent between 8 to 10 years developing this solution,” Wiking said. ”We get constant validation that Jeeves ERP is stable, flexible, and developable. Integrating external modules with Jeeves ERP is never a problem due to the open architecture. The heart of the system is actually a message broker that coordinates information between Jeeves ERP’s central databases and the local systems. And the simplicity of upgrades enabled by the Jeeves architecture is an incredible asset. We’ve upgraded the systems six times and have rarely had to spend more than 30 hours on an upgrade.”
Wiking also regards Jeeves as a vital management tool: “Executive management makes decisions based on information in Jeeves ERP. We can rapidly generate reports and identify opportunities and bottlenecks. Our focus right now is on streamlining administration and improving customer database management and production control, but I believe the decision support we get from Jeeves ERP is going to be even more useful.”


Färdig Betong also plans to make its system the hub of an international expansion. The company is already part of the Swedish Thomas Concrete Group AB, with subsidiaries in Germany, Poland, and the US. Altogether, there are about 300 batch plants that generate a combined annual sales of about 3.5 billion SEK. ”We essentially have a custom-made system now,” said Wiking. ”Can it get any better?”



Jeeves ERP helps Bufab cover the globe

Bufab has used Jeeves ERP for almost 10 years. Today, Jeeves is used in 22 of its 33 companies, and Bufab plans to implement the ERP system in more companies as the organization grows. 

Bufab is a wholesaler that not only supplies different types of fasteners but also manufactures them. The company’s operations encompass more than 100,000 different products and employs 750 people in 25 countries.


Previously, Bufab used a number of proprietary acounting systems that, for the most part, were not integrated with the rest of the ERP system. To boost efficiency between the companies and within the group, Bufab started looking for a common accounting and ERP system for all its wholesaling operations. Several fellow subsidiaries in other businesses were already using Jeeves ERP, so the choice was relatively easy. “Our existing systems could not be adapted to international use,” said Joakim Karlsson, Controller at Bufab. ”With Jeeves ERP, we were able to get international support in the markets where we operate. The fact that our fellow subsidiaries were extremely satisfied with the system just made the choice easier.” 
Another major advantage the Jeeves ERP system offered was that the system would be easy to adapt to changes in business needs and processes. Bufab wanted to provide an efficient logistics solutions for its customers and interact with them via its ERP system, with the aim being to cut indirect costs. Today, Bufab’s processes are controlled through Jeeves ERP and include integration with customer billing, scanning of invoices from suppliers, payment flows, internal and statutory reports, accounting, and other tasks.


Each country has its own rules for the presentation of annual reports, income statements, and balance sheets, for example, to comply with regulations. Some countries have their own charts of accounts, and different reports vary in appearance. A VAT report in the Czech Republic looks very different from a Swedish VAT report. Bufab had to take all of this into account, but at the same time keep things organized in order to maintain an overview of all its companies. To achieve visibility, Bufab created a standardized model that is common for all companies, specifying how information should be structured in the system. The central idea is to follow the model as far as possible, and only make those adjustments necessary to comply with local rules and regulations.
“By having a common model that we follow every time we implement Jeeves ERP in a new country, we avoid having to reinvent the wheel. Instead we can take an ’assembly-line’ approach to each roll-out, allowing us to focus our time on what is unique to that particular country,” Karlsson explained. For a standardized approach to work, the underlying ERP system must be sufficiently flexible. Fortunately, Jeeves ERP has the flexibility that Bufab’s  method demands, and a new system can be rolled out quickly.
“Jeeves has a short implementation period compared to other systems I have been involved with,” said Karlsson. ”It doesn’t take more than about a week to implement the system in a new country.”
When Jeeves is to be implemented in a new country, Bufab begins by spending a few days preparing a GAP analysis. This process entails analyzing what is unique to that particular country and how the standardized model needs to be adapted to those circumstances. Then the employees get two to three days of training. After that, the new system is ready to use. To guarantee that everything is working as planned, an evaluation is done when the first monthly report is scheduled to be produced in Jeeves ERP.
“We have gained a broader overview of operations in the different countries,” said Karlsson. ”Now we can compare our companies with one another – for example, Spain with France with Poland – and compare key performance indicators and outcomes in a completely different way than we could before. And that helps us manage better.”
Bufab also has gained better decision support. Reports can be generated faster and all according to the same standards. Previously, reports from different countries might look different, which complicated matters. “Jeeves ERP satisfies the legal requirements in all countries as well as the internal requirements we make at Bufab,” Karlsson added.



Jeeves ERP holds the reins for Bodycote

Through the Jeeves ERP system, the engineering company, Bodycote, has achieved the perfect balance between functionality and adaptability.

When the engineering company, Bodycote, was going to select a new ERP system at the end of the 1990s, the company carried out a major study of the systems available in the market and chose to invest in Jeeves ERP. Ten years later, Bodycote is still successfully running the Jeeves ERP solution.
“Jeeves has worked beautifully as the central system where everyone can access information, so we are extremely satisfied,” said Klas Andersson, CIO at Bodycote.
Bodycote is an engineering company with a unique business model. The company does not manufacture any goods itself, but provides services based on expertise in materials technology, among which the hardening of steel is the biggest business segment. Customers are primarily subcontractors to the automotive industry.


Bodycote does not manage the purchase of components and such, so it doesn’t need any functions for that. Rather, the company needs support for its service processes. A purely standardized application is not enough, because adaptations are needed to satisfy Bodycote’s requirements. The combination of standardized functionality and flexibility was exactly what Jeeves could offer. “We chose Jeeves because we saw how adaptable and open the system was, which allowed us to participate in its development and customize the system ourselves,” Andersson said.
One of the demands on the system in Bodycote’s procurement process was that all information had to be available to everyone who needed it. Previously a local manager could sit and do his own calculations in Excel that others could not access – which was not very efficient. “A manager sitting at the center of things should be able to get the same numbers at the same time as a manager working closer to the customer, said Andersson. ”With Jeeves, everyone works directly in the same system and has access to the same information, which enables us to work more efficiently.”
Because Bodycote was able to remove the functions it didn’t intend to use, while keeping those needed to support the company’s unique business operations, the people at Bodycote succeeded in building a thoroughly efficient system with Jeeves ERP. One example of this is how fast the system can handle a customer order. Andersson noted, “We don’t spend more than about 30 seconds on each customer order nowadays.”
Today Bodycote runs Jeeves ERP at 13 different work sites. Customer support, order processing, subsidiary ledgers, accounting, deviation tracking, and quality reporting are a few of the jobs handled using the system.


At Bodycote, staff in all functional areas use Jeeves: about 150 of the company’s 250 employees. Of course, that makes tough demands on the system’s user-friendliness. “As with all ERP systems, you have to get over a little threshold before you learn how to use it, but today, no one would want to replace Jeeves ERP with any other system,” Andersson said. “User satisfaction is high.”
The user-friendliness is also noticeable in how simple it is to adapt the system to new needs. Bodycote is part of an international group employing about 6,000 people, and the head office often demands that new reports be created. With many other ERP systems, clients are forced to hire a consultant to make such changes. Bodycote doesn’t have to. “We can add new fields and specify new logical operations in no time at all. What other people need separate systems for, we can include in our ordinary system. That is a major strength of Jeeves ERP,” Andersson said.
The people at Bodycote are extremely satisfied with how Jeeves works and are about to upgrade to the next generation of the product. Among other improvements, the company will use a role-based interface and introduce e-billing and e-signing. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects is that the new version of Jeeves allows Bodycote to document business and operational processes, and link user instructions with the processes in a whole new way.
“With the next version of Jeeves, we’ll get well structured and easily accessible documentation, and our users will be able to access process descriptions and find out how to work even more easily, making them more efficient,” Andersson explained.


Alfa Laval

Jeeves ERP: One of Alfa Laval’s global systems

Alfa Laval has designated Jeeves ERP as its dominant production system, making it the backbone of the group’s manufacturing process, with the system handling purchasing, logistics, and production.

Alfa Laval currently has 1,400 Jeeves ERP users, established in 28 installations on three continents and supporting Alfa Laval’s manufacturing processes in 11 factories around the clock.
Jeeves ERP is one of Alfa Laval’s global ERP systems. The company’s collaboration with Jeeves began almost 20 years ago, with a logistics solution in the heat exchanger division. Since then, Jeeves has earned ever-increasing trust. Peter Löfberg, global product manager, said, “I was here when we chose Jeeves in 1994. We took a chance back then, because Jeeves was a little, creative company with a new idea: an ERP system that was database-centric. Being able to provide our users with a Windows-based solution was appealing, of course, but the key advantage was working in SQL with a system structured around an open database. Since then, Alfa Laval has changed and developed in a number of ways. Jeeves has, too. Nowadays, our system has much more comprehensive functionality and is run throughout our international business operations. But the foundation, the database-centric architecture, remains. This is one of the most important factors for Jeeves ERP’s success, and for Alfa Laval being so satisfied.”


Jeeves is based on a development philosophy that uses two separate databases when the ERP system is rolled out: one database for the standard system, and one for customer-specific modifications. The standard system offers a rich basic functionality and, in contrast to many other ERP systems, customers can easily and efficiently customize the standard system themselves and manage their customizations throughout the life of the system, without compromising quality or their ability to upgrade. 
Joakim Ryrstedt, responsible for Alfa Laval’s various ERP systems, said, ”We put a high priority on having firm control and influence over how we use and develop our ERP systems in our organization. With Jeeves, we have the best of both worlds: a standardized system with good functionality and, at the same time, a solution we can adapt in those components for which we have special needs. Through the years, we have carried out many of our own modifications in Jeeves ERP in areas where we really want to be the best and believe we have unique needs. The latest customization we are working on is a user interface for computer-controlled trucks.”


Alfa Laval has kept pace with Jeeves ERP’s development and often upgrades in order to always have access to a modern system. Ryrstedt, who has experience working with other ERP systems as well, explained that ”Jeeves ERP is surprisingly easy to upgrade, yet it’s not difficult to port the customizations we’ve made ourselves.” 
Alfa Laval has developed several modifications to include when converting to a newer version. These are automatically included in the new version because they are managed in their own database separate from the standardized system.


Evidence of how responsive Jeeves is to the demands of business operations includes a customized application for Alfa Laval’s computer-controlled trucks. By making modifications in Jeeves, the group has created its own solution alongside the standardized system, thus satisfying the special needs of these operations.
“Using our computer-controlled trucks, we want to pick and handle articles in our warehouse while having constant access to up-to-date information about and the status of all articles in stock. With this new application, which we built ourselves using Jeeves ERP’s developer tools, we can optimize the picking rounds for our trucks and avoid them having to make several circuits around the warehouse,” explained Löfberg. Jeeves ERP offers a standardized solution for the mobile execution of picking, moving, and stock-taking. However, Alfa Laval regarded the solution as optimized for larger warehouses and as being more complex than what they needed. Instead the company chose to develop its own modification: “It is one of Jeeves ERP’s strengths that its architecture allows us to make this type of customization,” Löfberg said. ”When we upgrade in the future, we don’t have to re-do the work we’ve put into producing this solution, because it will automatically be ported into the new version.” 


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