Interview with Juan Pablo Parra
IT Manager of Hunter Douglas
Almost 100 years ago this Dutch group manufactures and markets unique solutions for commercial, residential and corporate projects for coating windows, home beautification and for architecture.
Hunter Douglas has a portfolio of impeccable design: curtains, blinds, awnings, false ceilings, metal and ventilated facades, extruded and raised floors, and translucent panels. In addition, the products are designed to offer endless possibilities. For the control of privacy, visibility and solar impact on the environment. In this way, they promote acoustic, thermal and also visual comfort.
“The experience with AlfaPeople was good, the company has very capable consultants with a great trajectory in the implementation of Dynamics, so their comprehensive knowledge of the function allowed us to design and implement the system in an efficient and effective way.”
What was the situation of the company before implementing Dynamics AX?
Before the implementation of Dynamics AX, we had heterogeneous systems. On the one hand, we had the production control system, inventories, portfolio and invoicing covered by an in-house system. On the other hand, we had a system for financial control of the operation. This demanded a lot of time when closing the month. We had to reconcile one system with another, to move information from one system to another and reporting was very weak. This prevented us from devoting more time to analysis and control of the business.
What objectives did you have when you decided to implement Dynamics AX?
I will mention 3 objectives. The first was to have a homogeneous system in which all the module transactions would automatically affect the accounting to avoid the operative time and to dedicate more time to analytical tasks. The second objective was to guarantee a good internal control environment to ensure that the financial information we report was reliable and timely. And the third objective was not to grow the number of people in our work team. In the end, those 3 objectives were achieved.
What were the company’s needs in which they realized that Dynamics AX could help?
The need for Hunter Douglas was to have real-time information, consistent and unified; an information we could trust and allowed us to integrate all the processes in a single solution that should improve the response times of the organization.
What functionalities of the solution are related to the needs of the business?
From the Dynamics AX functionalities I will mention 4:
- • At first, the automatic function that the tool uses to reconcile the other modules with accounting.
- • The second feature I want to highlight is the automatic bank reconciliations, prevents us to spend a lot of time in this type of tasks.
- • The third, the functionality of the layers, which allows easy and controlled reconciliation of accounting and fiscal operations.
- • The fourth is the integration of accounting with the modules of the architectural products projects and, finally, the reports from exogenous information.
How does the implementation of the solution impact the company in the short and long term?
In the short term, it has been a bit difficult for us to adapt because we had been using tools for more than 15 years, and coming to a new system, we need to adapt to new processes and new controls. But if we see this in the long term, today we feel we take a step forward because this ERP is easily and quickly linked to tools like Microsoft’s Power BI where we control and manage the business in a more friendly, easy and lasting way.
What benefits does the solution bring to your company?
The benefits that Dynamics has given us after its implementation, from the Technological point of view, is that it is a 100% integrable tool, it is a scalable tool, a safe and robust tool that, by the way it was designed, allows us an easy and quick way to customize modules according to the company’s needs.
What about your experience with AlfaPeople?
The experience with AlfaPeople was good, the company has very capable consultants with a great trajectory in implementation of Dynamics, so their comprehensive knowledge of the function allowed us to design and implement the system in an efficient and effective way.
How has your experience with Dynamics AX been?
After implementing Dynamics, we are going along in an experience of maturity and growth. We began with a process of refinement, improving business critical operations day by day; then we entered into a phase of progress: we have been incorporating modules that we see that work in our business which were not contemplated in the first stage.
After the implementation of Dynamics AX, we have spent time redefining processes, looking for the balance between efficiency and control. Today we are very satisfied with the software that we have implemented because we feel it reliable and that the information that we report serves for decision making.
What area of your business is most benefited and why?
The business area that has benefited the most with the implementation of the system has been the architectural product business unit, due to the fact that today 100% of its production and logistics operations work with Dynamics AX. Before we needed 3 tools to be able to run our production and planning process.
Additionally, processes such as bar codes, wireless readers could be involved to facilitate its operation. In the architectural product business unit, we have 3 very interesting standard modules that are: master planning, product configurator, and wms, that have allowed the productive process to flow very efficiently.
What is the vision of hunter Douglas in Latin America with Dynamics AX?
A little more than 10 years ago, I started the process of implementing Dynamics AX. In Latin America, we started in Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, it went live in August 2016 and continues to implement it in Brazil. What we seek finally is to have the region integrated into this ERP, get synergies, process improvements and having financial reports at the regional level.