When Hedengren Oy modernised its ERP system, the company also took the opportunity to renew its business strategy, targets and processes. It was easy to include Digia Enterprise in these changes, and it now provides Hedengren with a single, versatile yet standardised system for all of the company’s key functions.
Cooperation with Digia has been commendably solution-focused. The core processes and project management have worked well. The company has the right attitude.
Marek Hintze, Managing Director, Hedengren
When Oy Hedengren Ab’s earlier ERP system came to the end of its road a few years ago, the company had to tackle more than just updating the system to a new one. Great changes were ongoing in the organisation: the company divested, acquired and wound down business functions. Employees came and went. The company had to rethink its business objectives and define processes to support its future direction.
Its Managing Director, Marek Hintze, joined the company while the change process was ongoing.
“When I came on board, we rethought our ERP and went through all the process descriptions with a red pen. When you’re modernising something, it’s all too easy to build the same old things, but with a few extra features. Fortunately, we hired an external consultant, who challenged us to thoroughly change our operating model,” says Hintze.
“We wanted to streamline processes and also ensure that we’d be able to tap into the opportunities of internationalisation. At present, we generate 20% of our net sales abroad.”
The company chose Digia Enterprise as its new ERP system. Thanks to its flexibility, it could cope with changes in direction and the redefinition of processes. Hedengren decided to avoid superfluous customisation, which also contributed to the adaptability of the system. The system was built primarily using standard modules, which facilitates and speeds up modifications.
Hedengren is a family-owned Finnish technology company that will soon celebrate its centennial. Its business is growing and going international. In addition to Finland, it operates in Sweden, Norway and Estonia. Its fields of business are security technology, building technology and direct sales.
Before the modernisation, its businesses used a varied group of systems. It has now replaced 11 of its former systems with one: Digia Enterprise. As the company and all its businesses share the same ERP, the whole system is significantly more cost-effective and easier to manage. The ERP solution covers the group’s warehouse management system (WMS), and an online shop solution, product information management (PIM) and the Qlikview reporting and analysis solution are integrated into it.
“A good ERP is a core engine of business, powering almost all our work. If it doesn’t function, our whole company comes to a standstill,” says Hintze.
In connection with the modernisation process, Hedengren crystallised its new strategy: the main objective centres on the customer experience. The company focuses on enhancing the quality and functionality of the service experienced by the customer on many levels. Good customer experience involves, for instance, the high quality of goods and services, availability and reliable deliveries.
A flexible and versatile ERP contributes to ensuring that operations are run in a good and well-managed way for customers. It also boosts operational efficiency, which from the customer perspective is evident as better service. The standardised system makes it possible to shift employees from one business area to another if necessary.
“As all our employees use the same system, we can balance out our workforce and eliminate operational bottlenecks. Employees thus have more time to take care of matters in the customer interface. This also yields financial efficiency, as the current employees can handle our growing net sales,” says Marek Hintze.
The optimal shareability of information also enhances efficiency in customer service. Each employee should have an outlook into the company’s production, service, deliveries, and so on. This means that everyone can help out or take action if necessary.
“We believe that all information should be public and accessible. This enables people to stay up to date, find information easily and make decisions,” says Hintze.
Hedengren also focuses on ensuring transparency in the customer interface. This objective is connected to both the strategy and constantly evolving digital services.
“Customers must be able to see clearly how we operate, what products we have in the warehouse and the status of their deliveries,” says Hintze.
“In transparency, we’re prepared to go as far as we can, without divulging trade secrets. The more openly we communicate, the greater the trust.”
At present, Hedengren’s digital services are under development. Its security technology business has a webshop. Next year, Hedengren will also launch a company-wide digital service channel.
The new ERP has been introduced at the company phase by phase, one business at a time. The deployment was completed in early autumn 2017. The technical side of things went smoothly. However, adopting new operating models wasn’t a cakewalk for all employees. Marek Hintze believes that change is always challenging, but the personnel are now starting to get the hang of the new system.
Hintze is satisfied with the smooth progress of the ERP project and the flexibility of the system. The project stayed on schedule and budget. He is thankful that the same project manager stayed on board during the entire project.
“Cooperation with Digia has been commendably solution-focused. The core processes and project management have worked well. The company has the right attitude.”
As a Finnish family company with a long history, Hedengren appreciates that Digia is also Finnish. Proximity also helped to keep the project running smoothly: when you can meet face to face, it’s usually easier to get things done.
At the same time, Hedengren’s operations are increasingly international. In future, the company intends to place all operations in neighbouring countries under the umbrella of the same system.
“Our development list is quite long. For instance, we’ll mobilise our field work, so that employees can work whenever and wherever they are,” says Hintze.
“The most important thing is to develop digital services in different channels in order to provide customers with a service experience that’s as seamless as possible.”