Production and Finance System Raises Baker’s Customer Focus
July 5, 2018
Established in 1976, Brisbane-based Continental Biscuit Manufacturers (CBM) produces baked goods for the infant and toddler market. The company’s manufacturing and financial systems were heavily dependent on manual processing so performance data took a long time to compile. With output increasing and plans to upgrade its manufacturing equipment, CBM wanted a system that would help manage planning and production and enable ready access to key business data. Microsoft Certified Partner Transform Solutions (now part of the Dialog Dynamics Practice) recommended Microsoft Dynamics AX. With a single enterprise resource planning system, CBM streamlined its production processes and gained access to up-to-the-minute financial information.
CBM wanted to expand operations and upgrade its manufacturing processes, but its decade-old manufacturing management system threatened to hold the company back.
“The system was cumbersome and difficult to use, and we struggled to get our month-end financial reports done on time,” explains Rod Bower, Operations Manager, CBM. “It could take two to three weeks before we saw our finalised financials.” Data had to be transferred manually between the manufacturing system and other finance and logisitics systems. This caused delays and obscured the overall view of essential business information.“We didn’t have an instant picture of our inventory, supplier contracts and pricing information,” says Bower.
CBM relied on manual processes to track raw materials used in production. It wanted to link customers’ forecasts of how much they wanted to buy and when with production planning, which governs the purchase of ingredients and packaging.
“We had to improve our ability to trace raw materials through more streamlined processes,” says Bower. “If a product needs to be recalled from supermarket shelves, we need to trace that product’s ingredients back through the supply chain – and quickly.”
CBM went to market to find an integrated production, logistics and management system that could manage complex stock tracking in the food industry.
“We spent a lot of time looking at how different systems managed the manufacturing process, in particular our baking formulas,” says Bower. “We needed a system that could give us visibility on raw materials, blending, production, packaging and batch-tracking.” The company consulted Microsoft Certified Partner Transform Solution who “had experience in manufacturing and they understood our type of business,” says Bower. “But they also took the trouble to understand what we were really looking for. They listened to what we wanted, and that’s really important when you’re a family owned and operated company.”
“What CBM wanted was full traceability,” says Larry Cook, Principal Consultant. “They needed to be able to tell customers exactly what ingredients were in every single batch produced.”
In addition, Microsoft Dynamics AX is being used to automate a part of the production planning process that previously relied on hand-written forms. This will enable the company to electronically link customer forecasts with sales order planning. Between October and November, the new solution was scoped out. The recommendation was a gradual implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX, because it is a modular application and it could be implemented in stages.
“This was a long-term investment for us, and we wanted to get the back-office systems right before enhancing the solution,” says Bower.
The Solution was designed and implemented, and by July, CBM was running the Dynamics AX Purchasing, Sales Order, Inventory, Production and Finance modules.
Following its successful initial deployment of Microsoft Dynamics AX, CBM can clearly track company finances from month to month against key performance indicators. “Instead of taking a month, compiling end-of-month financials now takes us one or two days,” says Bower. “But far more importantly, we can view up-to-date financial information whenever we need to.” CBM can also retrieve customer and supplier information faster and track contractual agreements with greater accuracy.
“We can check multiple vendor prices quickly in Dynamics AX,” says Bower. “It enables us to negotiate more proactively with suppliers and ensures our orders are correct and delivered on time. And if a customer wants us to, we can trace the relevant production information with minimal effort. “We can link customer forecasts with our sales order planning, and match quality-control testing with our inventory data. Matching system inventory against actual stock on hand also gives a better idea of our true financial position whenever we need to.”
CBM will continue to work with Dialog Dynamics to develop the Dynamics AX solution. This includes deploying two new modules: materials requirements planning, and quality control. “We’ll be able to control and fi ne tune our manufacturing process,” says Bower. “We have few customers, but they are very large customers and they are driven by information. This solution means we can continue to meet their high expectations.”
Continental Biscuit Manufacturers (CBM) supplies baked foodstuffs for the infant and toddler market. Founded in 1976, the Brisbane company employs between 30 and 40 staff.
The company was growing, but its financial and production systems couldn’t manage new business processes and more complex customer management.
CBM implemented Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, running on Microsoft SQL Server 2008. The Dynamics AX solution helps manage the manufacturing and distribution processes.
- On-demand access to manufacturing and financial information
- Rapid tracking of product inputs
- Better customer management