Harrisons Malayalam Limited (HML), a tea and rubber plantation company under the diversified RPG Enterprises is undergoing a business transformation. The company has migrated from an agriculture produce focus to a market focus with a new brand
of teas being sold under its banner. Apart from concentrating on branding and marketing, the company realized that it also needed to remodel its HR management with respect to its key workforce i.e. contract farmers. In order to streamline its operations, the
company needed a business solution, riding on a sound IT infrastructure. With the help of Affordable Business Solutions (ABS), a Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner, HML deployed an integrated solution based on Microsoft® Dynamics™ AX 4.0. In 14 months, the
company streamlined all 26 plantations; eliminated the unending labour (farmer) issues. In addition it has achieved seamless integration of all its applications and processes, streamlining supply chain and inventory management and a reduction in overall operational
||Enabling 20 percent efficiency in supply chain, the new solution has helped us achieve complete business transformation by augmenting our migration from a plantation producer to a plantation marketing company.
| V Balaraman
Vice President (Commercial)
Harrisons Malayalam Limited
Belonging to the RPG Enterprises, Harrisons Malayalam Limited (HML) is the largest integrated plantation company in southern India. Headquartered in Cochin, HML’s revenues in Fiscal Year 2009 – 10 were INR 330 crore (U.S.$ 73.3 million approximately) company.
It is one of India’s largest rubber and tea producers. With a workforce of 15,000 the company produces 9,000 tonnes of rubber, 20,000 tonnes of tea and 4,500 tonnes of pineapple. Harrisons Malayalam also produces smaller quantities of horticultural crops like
areca nut, banana, cardamom, cocoa, coffee, coconut and pepper amongst others.
The company’s operations are spread over 24 plantations, six rubber factories and 12 tea factories along with a number of blending and processing units in the three southern states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Harrisons Malayalam operates its various businesses through independent divisions. These are tea; rubber; spices and horticulture crops; tissue culture; engineering and services; private labeling; trading and Exports; and clearing and shipping.
A high maintenance and complex business model, the plantation industry is replete with challenges such as labour (farmers) issues, constant operational cost irrespective of changing weather conditions, risk ridden auction process of selling its produce,
In order to reduce its dependence upon the auction process of selling, Harrisons Malayalam decided to de risk its business by marketing its own produce. As a result, it would move higher in the value chain, and this would lead to increase in revenues.
To make this happen, Harrisons Malayalam faced several challenges which it addressed. All the 24 plantations were following different, disparate processes. The company was using Tally Solutions for accounting and a legacy COBOL application for payroll management,
which was very tedious. All data related to purchase was fed into in house developed package and required substantial manual effort.
Additionally, it needed to streamline its stock and inventory management. As inventory levels were maintained erratically, there was no measurement of actual costs of goods sold. On the other hand, there would be production delays due to non-availability
A complex document library and a lack of logistical insight limited the company’s ability to estimate delivery times and monitor supplier links throughout the supply chain. “It was difficult to keep everyone updated on status and to provide correct documentation,”
recalls K.N. Mathew Vice President (Finance), Harrisons Malayalam. “Without a document management system, we were forced to collaborate through email, and that led to version control problems.”
In effect, lack of sound processes were leading to sub optimal operations. Harrisons Malayalam needed to standardize all its processes, riding on a solution that would aid its smooth migration to become a marketing based organization.
Even though its parent company, RPG Enterprises was using a SAP application, Harrisons Malayalam opted for Microsoft® Dynamics™ AX 4.0 as it had implicit trust in the solution and the capabilities of Affordable Business Solutions (ABS), a Microsoft® Gold
With the help from ABS, Harrisons Malayalam deployed a workflow and monitoring platform built on Microsoft technologies. The solution combines the strength of Dynamics AX 4.0, a business solution that is easily customizable to suit business and industry
specific requirements with Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005, as the centralized database for all applications. Reports are generated using Microsoft SQL Server’s features such as SQL Server Reporting Services and also Microsoft.NET. All stakeholders can access these
reports online on the intranet.
Initiating the implementation process with a business study, ABS undertook implementation of one plantation at a time. The company then identified people and trained them to replicate the processes in other plantations. Given the complex nature of the operations,
the implementation was completed in 14 months with the entire organization running on Dynamics AX.
ABS implemented all modules of Dynamics AX including Production, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, General Ledger, Inventory management, Payroll, and Sales and Marketing. In addition, ABS also customized several processes to meet the requirements of
the plantation business for example building in tea auction sales and warehousing into the solution.
||Templates created in Office Word and Office Excel extract appropriate data from Microsoft Dynamics AX or the AS/400 mainframe to generate sales orders, invoices, and reports. This ability to import and export data makes it easier for
employees to edit and share documents.
| Mr. Sabu Abraham
Harrisons Malayalam is able to manage its complex operations efficiently with optimal production capacities. Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 has enabled a complete business transformation of the company. “Enabling 20 percent efficiency in supply chain, the new
solution has helped us achieve complete business transformation by augmenting our migration from a plantation producer to a plantation marketing company," explains V Balaraman, Vice President (Commercial), Harrisons Malayalam Limited.
Reduces Cost of Operations
The plantation operations are efficiently managed as Dynamics AX 4.0 extends accuracy in every transaction be it issue tracking, garden management, maintenance of generator sets, pumps, etc. Further delinking of production from marketing, has also helped
tremendously. All this has helped to bring down the cost of operations.
Improves Supply Chain Visibility
Elaborating upon the efficient running of the plantations, Ravi Anand (Company Secretary and Chief Accountant) says, “The greatest benefits of the solution are supply chain workflow visibility and the transparency it allows us.” Workflow tools enable supply
chain managers to identify problem areas and address the problems before they begin to accumulate additional costs. “If quality control does not examine an order upon leaving the plantation, we can see that right away and return the shipment before we get
too far along in the supply chain,” explains Dr. R.S. Senthil Kumar Head Process Chemistry, Harrisons Malayalam.
Guarantees Quick and Accurate Updates
Critical business information is available online which enables the employees to easily contribute changes and share documents.
Streamlined online communications have reduced the volume of phone conversations and resultant delays in the supply chain by approximately 15 percent. “We can now handle more transactions with the same number of people,” says Abraham Ittyipe, Senior Manager,
The centralized ERP solution has aided overall IT adoption. Microsoft Dynamics AX connects all critical financial, operational, marketing data with market intelligence, which allows Harrisons Malayalam to make sound, rapid decisions. Explains V Balaraman,
Vice President (Commercial), Harrisons Malayalam, “
Reporting of transactions and instant tracking of the supply chain has reduced the data processing workload in the supply chain by 20 percent.”
By standardizing processes, all scope for misappropriation and mismanagement due to lack of visibility has been eliminated. One critical step has been the integration of the solution with the weighing machine. The quantity that each farmer produced could
potentially be rigged. Now, there is no scope for any malpractice and all farmers get paid fairly.
Since the different plantations were following disparate systems, use of Microsoft Dynamics AX across board has enforced a common platform, processes and systems.
Improves Human Resources Management
The streamlined processes also helped the company to restructure its HR management; converting the employees working on plantations as ‘contract farmers’ making them profit centre mangers and extending the profits to them. This eliminated the long unending
Ease of Learning and Use
According to V.J. Moni Kumar, Section Officer (Venture Valley Group), Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 enables us to automatically complete routine forms, reducing the effort involved and minimizing opportunities for error.”
Elaborating upon the ease of use, Mr. Sabu Abraham, Section Officer commented, “Templates created in Office Word and Office Excel extract appropriate data from Microsoft Dynamics AX or the AS/400 mainframe to generate sales orders, invoices, and reports.
This ability to import and export data makes it easier for employees to edit and share documents.”
About Affordable Business Solutions
Affordable Business Solutions (ABS) offers a suite of business solutions addressing various industry verticals through an S+S model, offering affordable solutions to the growing SME segment in India. ABS also offers consultancy services in the areas of strategic
business planning, business process consulting and business analytics. In the area of education, in addition to IT Usage and administration, ABS’s Center for Functional excellence (CFE) offers education and skills upgrading courses for various functions like
sales, materials management, finance and accounting or production planning, targeted at employees and executives of Indian SMEs. From 50 percent of its revenue on services, ABS expects its services business to grow and account for 90 percent of total revenue
within 5 years – primarily because ABS expects its software resale business would transform into S+S services.
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which
means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining
financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to:
For More Information
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For more information about Harrisons Malayalam products and services, call (91) (484) 266 8023 or visit the Web site at: www.harrisonsMalayalam.com
For more information about Affordable Business Solutions products and services, call (91) (80) 4245 7 457
or visit the Web site at: www.abs.in
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.