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.”
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
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.”
RAPID PACE OF UPGRADES
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.
CUSTOMIZATION TO MANAGE WAREHOUSE PICKING
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.”