A leading Canadian confectioner, the Allan Candy Company has 400 employees and annual sales of C$100 million. The company believes strongly in leveraging technology to gain every advantage possible, from driving ongoing improvements to productivity to providing business intelligence directly to its customers, helping them to make more informed buying decisions and enabling Allan Candy to stand out from larger competitors. In support of this effort, the Allan Candy Company engaged Microsoft Gold Certified Partner TGO Consulting to upgrade its existing enterprise resource planning solution to Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010. Since going live with the solution, the company has streamlined processes, particularly around material requirements planning, and continues to build on the business intelligence capabilities, which it holds critical to its success.
||I have done my share of ERP implementations, including SAP, Oracle, Siebel, and PeopleSoft, and I have never seen an upgrade go as smoothly as this.
||Steven Diakowsky, President and CEO, Allan Candy Company
From Mississauga, Ontario, the 400 employees of the Allan Candy Company develop, manufacture, and sell some of Canada’s most notable chocolate and sugar confectionery products. Allan Candy products are available directly through major drug stores, grocery stores, and other retailers and through distributor and broker relationships.
Since the company’s divesture from Cadbury Adams Canada in 2007, Microsoft Dynamics GP has played a pivotal role in supporting nearly every aspect of the business, including financial management, customer service, and manufacturing.
TGO Consulting—the company’s technology partner—and Microsoft presented Allan Candy Company with an opportunity to take part in the Microsoft Technology Adoption Program (TAP). As part of the TAP program, the company could deploy the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics GP before Microsoft made the solution generally available. Steven Diakowsky, President and CEO of the Allan Candy Company, was quick to see the value of upgrading. “I believe in the power of technology and that it is a differentiating factor, especially for companies our size,” he says. “So, for me, it is critically important that we are ahead of the game.”
Viewing data as a corporate asset, Diakowsky was attracted to the prospect of taking advantage of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 to gain the enhanced business insight needed to service customers more effectively, for example, by providing customers with insight into sales per point of distribution, inventory turn, or how a particular consumer segment is shopping by category. The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics GP also offered many new features and areas of functionality and an enhanced user experience.
Working closely with TGO Consulting and experts from Microsoft, the Allan Candy Company upgraded to Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010. “I was completely blown away by the TAP program,” says Diakowsky. “I have done my share of ERP implementations, including SAP, Oracle, Siebel, and PeopleSoft, and I have never seen an upgrade go as smoothly as this. We started on the upgrade path early in December and were up and running February 8 with no problems or stoppages.”
End-to-End Process Support
The Allan Candy Company takes advantage of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 the moment the sales team uploads its demand plan into the system. The company’s finite scheduling and production-planning staff then generate a production plan that aggregates all manufacturing orders (MOs) spanning a rolling 13-week planning horizon. In turn, the company’s purchasing group and material planners run material requirements planning (MRP) to determine materials needed and then automatically generate purchase orders for suppliers. Production floor staff members work to the production schedule created in Microsoft Dynamics GP, and fulfillment staff then ship the completed MOs to the company’s distribution center. As customer orders come in, most often through electronic data interchange (EDI), the customer service team validates those orders and respective delivery dates and makes an available-to-promise commitment. Microsoft Dynamics GP then sends a pick request to a third-party logistics provider. When the customer receives the merchandise, the logistics provider sends back a confirmation through EDI, which triggers invoicing.
Role-Tailored User Interface
From production planning to invoicing, the Microsoft Dynamics RoleTailored user interface has proved particularly useful, providing employees with the tools, information, and reports they need to perform their specific job functions more effectively. The Allan Candy Company can also protect sensitive information, allowing people to access only the information related to products, financials, and customers they need to see. Says Diakowsky, “Being a small company, one of the difficult accounting controls to abide by is division of duties and responsibilities. With the role-based security in Microsoft Dynamics GP, it is much easier for us to meet these requirements.”
Latest Functionality Enhancements
Diakowsky notes that the biggest improvement in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 was the enhanced MRP functionality. “With Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, we can now reverse a MO receipt against an MO,” he says. “It’s an invaluable improvement that enables us to finally retire several redundant systems we used to support that task. Now, we can enter more timely and accurate production quantities against an MO.”
The Allan Candy Company also takes advantage of workflow enhancements in the latest version of the solution to batch process certain transactions and build new workflows around processes for greater control. Diakowsky aspires to provide companies across the supply chain with the information they need through Microsoft Office SharePoint Server extranets that draw on information from Microsoft Dynamics GP. For example, one such site could provide the company’s brokerage sales force with updated sales data and reports.
For the Allan Candy Company, working with Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 is a natural move that fits into the company’s forward-looking culture. In reflecting on the project, Diakowsky notes, “Upgrading Microsoft Dynamics GP is a must-do for the kind of business that we want to be. And although I can’t provide the exact ROI at this early stage, I am confident that it will pay off at least two to three fold.”
Improve Business Insight
Diakowsky finds that information is now more accessible because of the RoleTailored interface. “Every day, I know exactly what our sales look like by category and by customer,” he says.
“We are also able to run reports that provide insight into how we are doing from a cost-of-goods-sold perspective. Or, we can view this information from a material usage perspective and from a direct labor-hour perspective. It gives me all the information I need to have control over the business.”
With the new functionality in Microsoft Dynamics GP, the Allan Candy Company can run a more streamlined operation. Says Diakowsky, “From the ability to run a MO reversal receipt alone, we have eliminated the need for manual data entry—which could take the time of two full-time date-entry clerks—and now perform this task as the products come off the manufacturing line for more accurate and timely information.”
Maintain a Competitive Edge
Diakowsky sees that Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 helps sharpen the company’s competitive edge. “In the highly competitive confectionary space where every company has the same top 10 customer list, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 gives us the foundation to develop and deliver on our aspirations to outwit the large competitors with much larger budgets,” he says. “It also helps us further differentiate from bigger competitors by offering our customers data-driven strategic advice about product performance and buying patterns.”