4-page Case Study
Posted: 11/15/2013
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Advance Surfactants India Ltd Efficient Management Lowers Capital Expenditure

In 2006, Advanced Surfactants India Ltd (ASIL) migrated from semi- manual, bespoke applications and Excel-based reporting to SAP B1. However, poor deployment led to only partial automation, with minimal features. And even these did not integrate with the core functional area ─ production. It chose to deploy Dynamics AX in a hosted environment, and also outsource all essential but non-core business functions to Emkor, a Microsoft Partner. Dynamics AX has truly become the organization’s lifeline, improving all functions, especially production at all eight manufacturing plants. And, it will be able to lower the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by 40 percent over five years.

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* The pay-as-you-go model has no upfront investment on hardware and software. We just pay for the services and number of licenses we use. The total cost of ownership over a 5-year period will be 40 percent lower *

Ashish Mahindru
Director
Advance Surfactants India

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Business and IT Challenges

In recent years, ASIL has seen exponential growth and expansion to eight locations and export to 50 countries. Executives have been managing globally dispersed teams, combined with complex operations at new manufacturing units. ASIL wanted to integrate and control manufacturing, and ensure stock and planning visibility in real time at all locations. By gaining process visibility, it also hopes to further enhance operational efficiency.

Its IT set-up and hosted servers also needed additional time, money and resources to manage and maintain them. Moreover, ASIL was dependent on its service provider for reliable bandwidth and uptime. The existing system, however, had obviously outlived its utility.

“Managers were spending far too much time managing non-core activities such as IT, logistics, people and financial management,” recalls Ashish Mahindru, Director, ASIL. The company therefore decided to overhaul the entire IT set-up. It wanted to completely automate business processes and enhance the IT experience for everyone at the organization.

Evaluating Solutions and Scenarios

In 2012, ASIL evaluated Oracle E-Business Suite, SAP All-in-One and Microsoft Dynamics AX, to transition to an integrated ERP backbone. At the same time, it did not want to divert its resources to manage the applications or non-core activities.
In the last couple of years cloud computing has gained significant momentum. Ashish explains, “We compared on premise and on-cloud solutions, and decided to move to the cloud with a fully automated ERP solution. Simultaneously, we decided to outsource some of our non-core, yet essential activities, to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness and to focus on core manufacturing activities.”


Finding the right partner

Once ASIL decided to go for an on-cloud deployment, its next challenge was to find a partner that could deliver on all its requirements from cloud deployment to reliable internet connectivity, and manage its non-core activities.

Emkor Solutions, a pioneer in Business Function as a Service (BFaaS™), has over 300 deployments under its belt. Using a consultative approach, Emkor was able to identify the core issues facing ASIL. “We realized that ASIL wanted to outsource accounts, IT and Human Resource functions and gain efficiency with systemic changes in operations. This matches our strength, which is managing business functions on the cloud,” says Vikram Dham, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Emkor Solutions.

“Secondly, ASIL wanted all accountability and implementation of the solution to reside with us. We offered end-to-end management, where they only need to provide company specific data. We handle the rest. And finally, ASIL wanted the flexibility to change business processes on the fly.”

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* We realized that ASIL wanted to outsource accounts, IT and Human Resource functions and gain efficiency with systemic changes in operations. This matches our strength of managing business functions on the cloud. *

Vikram Dham
Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director
Emkor Solutions

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The Solution

Emkor recommended Microsoft Dynamics AX on the cloud to run core business processes. ASIL evaluated this solution and the response from its employees was very encouraging, as it had a familiar look and feel.

ASIL also evaluated several Microsoft hosted technologies, including SharePoint 2013 for collaboration and content management, Hosted Exchange 2010 for emails, and Lync 2010 for communication. “We decided on the entire suite of hosted solutions offered by Emkor at a state-of-the-art, tier-4 co-located data center in Mumbai. Also, each one of these solutions integrates seamlessly with Dynamics AX,” says Ashish Mahindru, Director, ASIL.


The Implementation

Dynamics AX implementation began along with the other Microsoft technologies in January 2013. It was quick, using out-of-the-box features. It went live in April 2013 with most Dynamics AX modules, including quality, planning, sales, marketing, finance and accounts, along with production and inventory. Currently there are 70 core Dynamics AX users across eight locations on Emkor’s Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network on the cloud.

ASIL only manages Active Directory (AD) on premise. This eliminates the initial lag time when the entire teams log in, while Emkor manages the secondary AD. “The BFaaS model offers us the subscription-based, on-demand service delivery model combined with cloud computing, and SLAs safeguard all aspects of our business,” explains Ashish. “With this model, we have outsourced critical business functions, including finance and accounts, human resource, payroll, taxation and IT.”

ASIL took two months to stabilize all processes and allow its team to get comfortable with the new solution and resulting changes in business processes. It followed a parallel approach of training and adapting to the new system before discarding old practices. The transformation was fast, thanks to remote training and support from Emkor.

ASIL has one service manager (from Emkor) responsible for network, cloud services and ERP. Also, the organization doesn’t need to manage licenses with multiple vendors, and the ensuing protracted negotiations. In fact, Emkor plans to upgrade to Office 365 for online versions of Lync, SharePoint and Exchange in the future.

Extending the Capabilities

Using SharePoint, Emkor has created a central repository for documents, with complete back-up and recovery. The organized document management system, department-wise and role-based access make it easier for the team to share the documents on the intranet. This brings greater efficiency and effectiveness, while ensuring security. While performance management in Dynamics AX keeps a tab on employees’ Key Result Areas (KRAs), the task management tools developed using SharePoint to assess employee performance in the short-term, tracking task status.

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* The new solution takes into account constraints such as storage capacity, machine capability, expiration, etc. Therefore, AX saves time, improves efficiency and productivity and automates quality control processes that dissuade unethical practices *

Ashish Mahindru
Director,
Advance Surfactants India

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Benefits

Cuts Implementation Cycle by Half        

The implementation time is halved, in comparison with similar, on-site implementations.

Reduces Ownership Cost by 40 Percent

ASIL’s existing infrastructure of servers, firewalls and load balancers, licenses for Windows, ERP and Office were nearing end-of-life cycle. It would need heavy capital investment to deliver an on-site deployment. . Now, the total cost of ownership over a five-year period will be 40 percent lower. “The pay-as-you-go model has no upfront investment on hardware and software. We just pay for the services and number of licenses we use,” explains Ashish Mahindru, Director, ASIL.

Accountability Improves Quality and Efficiency

Manual procurement and local reports for incoming quality control, knowingly or unknowingly, affected the quality checks. Now, Dynamics AX makes all reports available in the central repository that improves employee and vendor accountability. For example, complex processes such as procure-to-pay, order-to-invoice, etc, are available in real time. Similarly, processes such as order-to-cash, acquire-to-retire, record-to-report, etc, record any discrepancy between required and delivered quality, and material is returned on the spot. “The new solution takes into account constraints such as storage capacity, machine capability, expiration, etc. Therefore, AX saves time, improves efficiency and productivity and automates quality control processes that dissuade unethical practices,” comments Ashish Mahindru. 

Improves Controls over Production by 50 Percent

Once a purchase order is raised in Dynamics AX, ASIL is in a position to notify the customer on the delivery date. Thorough quality checks and several such parameters improve control over production by as much as 50 percent. “It’s been a few months since the new system was implemented but we are seeing dramatic improvements in process quality. And the production cycle is more transparent and better controlled,” concludes Ashish Mahindru.

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Solution Overview



Organization Size: 500 employees

Organization Profile
Asia’s largest surfactant manufacturer, Advanced Surfactants India Ltd (ASIL) is a diversified corporate enterprise with operations ranging from manufacture of surfactants, consultancy in environment and mine designing; surfactants based specialty chemicals and contract manufacturing for home & personal care brands. With over 450 employees and eight manufacturing plants, its products are exported to 50 countries.


Business Situation
ASIL was using SAP B1 which offered partial automation, with minimal features. Also, it didn't integrate with production. It wanted to integrate and control manufacturing, and ensure visibility into its operations in real time.

Solution
ASIL decided to replace SAP B1 with a comprehensive ERP solution. It chose Dynamics AX in a hosted environment, and also decided to outsource all essential, non-core business functions to Emkor, a Microsoft Partner.

Benefits
• Cuts implementation cycle by half
• Reduces ownership cost by 40 percent
• Accountability improves quality
• Improves controls

Software and Services
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Vertical Industries
Life Sciences, Chemicals; Oil & Gas, Mining

Country/Region
India

Languages
English

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