“To avoid any possibility of a pre-launch leak, all the DVDs had to arrive at their destination on the same day. Dynamics managed the launch near-perfectly. For our customer this
was a big success.”
Ryan McNaught, CIO, Regency Media
When Regency Media won a major new contract, it realised it needed to upgrade its existing Microsoft Dynamics-based supply chain management system to give the new customer increased supply chain visibility. However, with a reputation for speed and reliability, the IT team knew that a new deployment would have to be flawless.
During the first six months of 2010, Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner Scalable Data Systems helped the IT team at Regency develop and deploy an integrated supply chain management system for the new customer. Based on the latest release Microsoft Dynamics® AX 2009, it mixed functionality from the existing Microsoft Dynamics platform with new-build customer finance and warehousing interfaces, giving Regency Media and its new customer co-visibility on individual consignments.
In August 2010, the new platform scored a major success. During the Australian release of one of the year’s blockbuster films, Regency choreographed the production and simultaneous delivery of almost one million DVDs. The achievement demonstrated an exceptional level of corporate flexibility, and underscored Regency’s future as one of Australia’s most dynamic electronic media manufacturing companies.
||“The media industry is constantly changing. Adapting to those changes used to be very expensive. Now it isn’t – and that’s hugely important.”
Founded over fifty years ago, Regency Media has grown to become one of Australia’s premier electronic media manufacturing companies. Headquartered in Braeside, Melbourne, with major manufacturing and logistics operations in Northmead, Sydney, the company makes and delivers tens of millions of DVDs and CDs each year for some of the world’s largest media companies.
According to Ryan McNaught, CIO, Regency Media, reliability and timing are absolutely critical to the company’s success.
“Our mission is to deliver the product in the shortest possible time,” he says. “We can manufacture 100–150,000 DVDs in a day, and we should, in theory, be able to deliver any order to a retail location the next day.”
To achieve this response rate, Regency had developed a finely honed logistics operation based on an early version of Microsoft Dynamics® AX. Over the following seven years, this platform helped Regency to manage distribution, and allowed customers to track their consignments to the point of delivery.
“However, by mid-2009 we were aware that ERP technology had moved on, and so had Dynamics,” says McNaught. “When we signed a contract with one of the biggest US-based media companies, they wanted us to integrate with our particular physical warehousing system, and implement some very tight back-end financial integration.
“We could have done some development on the existing Dynamics platform. But rather than spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on older technology we chose to invest in a cutting-edge ERP system to service this particular customer.”
As McNaught went to market, the choice of technology was not straightforward. The media industry has some unique requirements such as managing payments for royalties and online content. The new system would have to conform to these requirements and be easily accessible to Regency’s customers, so they could track their orders.
Throughout the life of Regency’s existing supply chain platform, Regency had worked with Microsoft® Gold Enterprise Resource Planning Certified Partner, Scalable Data Systems (Scalable).
“Scalable had been on the journey with us and become experts in the media industry,” says McNaught. “Their staff have a proven track record of platform development and had become a trusted partner. They understood what we were looking for.”
As experts in ERP solutions for the manufacturing and supply chain industries, Scalable was able to introduce Regency to Microsoft’s latest ERP release, Microsoft Dynamics® AX 2009.
“The latest version – Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 – was a very good fit," says Cathy Forrest, Customer Strategy and Planning Manager, Scalable Data Systems. "We had already developed a lot of their industry-specific requirements in their existing Dynamics platform, which we could re-deploy in Dynamics AX 2009 for their new customer.”
“In addition, Dynamics AX 2009 has over 400 new features and improvements, including better integration with SQL Server Reporting Services, which would be very helpful to Regency.”
Scalable got the go-ahead to develop a Microsoft Dynamics® AX 2009 system specifically for Regency’s new customer in January 2010. Scalable installed industry-specific functionality from the existing Dynamics platform into the new Dynamics platform and worked with Regency to develop interfaces to corporate financial and warehousing systems.
||“Dynamics AX helps Regency integrate more closely with its customers, which is essential for full-service supply chain companies.”
“The warehouse integration was particularly impressive,” says McNaught. “Based on an application called ‘Pick-to-Light’ from Dexion, it works by activating lighting on individual shelves, so warehouse staff are guided to the stock they need to package for individual consignments.”
In addition, Scalable helped develop a finance interface that ports data from the customer’s SQL database directly into Regency’s finance system where it can be analysed using Microsoft SQL Server® 2008 Reporting Services.
Development and deployment was completed in seven months and rolled out to 70 Regency and customer staff in August 2010. Scalable also provided "train-the-trainer" training, although according to McNaught, the requirement for this was minimal due to the close working relationship between the teams and the intuitive interface of the application.
“The system is intuitive to anyone with a background in Windows or Office,” he says. “In addition, the front-ends are customised according to role: when our MD opens it, she sees her key financial data and dashboards. When our warehouse staff open it, they see at a glance what they need to ship, pack and despatch.”
“This was a relatively large ERP deployment and large ERP deployments can sometimes get bogged down,” he adds. “To deploy so quickly speaks volumes about the product and the people. Shawn Adlard, the head of our internal systems development team worked very closely with all the resources at Scalable to drive our ambitious outcomes.”
“You often hear stories of new ERPs getting bogged down and damaging a company’s reputation. We were the opposite. Our business just kept trucking.”
In one of the biggest entertainment launches of 2010, Regency Media manufactured close to one million DVDs and delivered them simultaneously to film distributor sites across Australia. This represented a major achievement for the new Microsoft Dynamics AX system.
“To avoid any possibility of a pre-launch leak, all the DVDs had to arrive at their ultimate destination on the same day,” says McNaught. “That meant a hugely challenging logistics operation with copies to Adelaide and Perth despatched six or eight days before the launch date. Dynamics managed the launch near-perfectly. For our customer, this was a big success.”
A more integrated logistics platform
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 has been successful because it promotes easy information sharing between customer and service-provider.
“Dynamics AX helps Regency integrate more closely with its customers, which is essential for full-service supply chain companies,” says McNaught. “By integrating AX with partner systems we get complete reporting at every stage of our business.”
“If a customer wants to see where a batch of ten DVDs are, they can. They can see immediately and precisely when it was manufactured, when it was packaged, when it shipped and when it was delivered. That’s true supply chain reporting.”
A foundation for high performance
In fulfilling Regency’s service goals, Microsoft Dynamics AX has also underwritten the company’s stated mission, which is to provide customers with the service and quality they expect in the shortest possible time.
“We are near the top of our industry, in terms of speed and reliability,” says McNaught. “AX has allowed us to maintain our high standard. We need fewer people to complete orders fast, and it costs us less.”
Improved customer experience
For Regency, an adaptable system is an investment in the company’s customers.
“The important thing is that we have been able to make the system work to suit our industry,” says McNaught. “That adaptability translates into a very user-friendly system, which is particularly important because it’s our customers who use the system. Our customer is incredibly happy.”
Increased ability to evolve
Regency can also adapt the system to match evolving customer requirements.
According to Regency and Scalable staff, the new supply chain system can be developed more easily than the old platform. This gives Regency an ongoing competitive advantage.
“If, for example, our customers suddenly want us to start delivering T-shirts, then we can change our systems to do their merchandising,” says McNaught.
“The media industry is constantly changing,” he adds. “Adapting to those changes used to be very expensive. Now it isn’t – and that’s hugely important.”
Microsoft product that was featured
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 can mean 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 may easily work 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, helping to increase the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services call the sales and information line on 13 20 58 Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm AEST. To find a partner or solution, visit www.microsoft.com/australia/findapartner/