Ferry Operator Deploys ERP Solution on Schedule to Improve Business Control

Società Navigazione Alta Velocità (SNAV) provides ferry services to connect destinations on and around the Italian peninsula. For 20 years, SNAV relied on stand-alone systems to handle purchasing, inventory, and accounting functions. Lack of integration between these systems hampered efficiency by complicating basic tasks, such as reconciling purchase orders with accounts payable records. To improve business control, SNAV implemented Microsoft Dynamics NAV, with help from Microsoft Gold Certified Partner AIVEBS. By taking advantage of the Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology to implement the solution, AIVEBS and SNAV were able to effectively plan and budget their resources to meet project goals. Now, with a fully integrated business management solution delivered on schedule and within budget, SNAV has increased efficiency while gaining enhanced business agility and control.

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*We looked at many other solutions, such as SAP, before deciding on Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The business management solution from Microsoft offered the greatest flexibility and the best analysis capabilities of all the systems we considered.*
Vincenzo Afano, Accounting Manager, SNAV
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Situation

Based in Naples, Italy, Società Navigazione Alta Velocità (SNAV) provides commercial and passenger transport between a number of cities along Italy’s eastern and western coastlines and between the Italian mainland and islands in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas. The company, which competes with Italy’s state-owned shipping and ferry service, Terrenia di Navigazione, is a subsidiary of the Geneva, Switzerland–based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

SNAV’s fleet consists of five large ferries and 17 high-speed boats of various sizes. The company’s largest cruise ferry has capacity for more than 2,100 passengers and can carry 600 cars, and its sleek Pescara Jet can move at speeds of up to 40 miles an hour. All SNAV boats offer a range of amenities—from self-service cafeterias to full-service restaurants, cinemas, and shopping galleries.

For more than two decades, SNAV relied on an IBM AS/400–based program to handle accounting. However, this application was designed to support a single-entry accounting method. As SNAV expanded and executed a higher volume of transactions with a greater number of vendors and customers, this system could no longer adequately meet the company’s accounting and financial-reporting needs.

Over the years, SNAV paid independent consultants to develop custom reporting functionality for its IBM AS/400–based application and to build interfaces between its accounting system and purchasing and inventory databases. “Typically, we would wait as long as possible before bringing in outside AS/400 specialists because of the cost to our business,” says Vincenzo Afano, Accounting Manager at SNAV. “But we also knew that the custom development projects were critical to keeping our business moving forward, so we needed to complete them despite the cost burden.”

The inability to automatically link business processes meant that SNAV employees had to manually reenter data from one system to another, which could take up to several hours each day. Moreover, the lack of automation prevented managers from gaining real-time visibility into the company’s performance. For example, the company had no easy, reliable way of comparing current sales receipts from boat to boat or determining cash flow at any given time. “Without a single, integrated business system, we could not efficiently complete basic analysis of our operations and we could not meet the reporting needs for our parent company, MSC,” says Afano.

With_a_fleet_of_23_boats,_SNAV_provides_ferry_services_connecting_ports_across_Italy.
With a fleet of 23 boats, SNAV provides
ferry services connecting ports across Italy.
Leaders at SNAV realized that the company had outgrown its aging accounting system. To increase efficiency through elimination of manual processes and to strengthen business intelligence and reporting capabilities, the company decided to implement a fully integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Solution

SNAV executives began evaluating ERP systems, comparing the extensibility, ease of use, and total cost of ownership of a number of software packages. “We looked at many other solutions, such as SAP, before deciding on Microsoft Dynamics NAV,” says Afano. “The business management solution from Microsoft offered the greatest flexibility and the best analytical capabilities of all the systems we considered.”

Comprehensive Project Road Map
In addition to the favorable features and cost comparison that Microsoft Dynamics NAV offers, executives appreciated the rigor of the implementation methodology that Microsoft Gold Certified Partner AIVEBS demonstrated. “AIVEBS used the Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step methodology early on in the sales process to show us how its team would meet our requirements,” says Afano. “We quickly saw that Sure Step offered the right set of standardized tools to help ensure that communication around budget, scope, and solution requirements would be clear and consistent through each phase of the project.”

Vincenzo_Afano,_Accounting_Manager_(left),_and_Luigi_Mancino,_Subject_Matter_Main_Expert_(right).
Vincenzo Afano, Accounting Manager (left), and Luigi Mancino, Subject
Matter Main Expert (right).

To minimize disruption to its operations, SNAV sought to first link its multiple business management applications to the centralized database in Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The company planned to subsequently terminate its former systems and transfer all of its data to the new ERP system. With help from AIVEBS, SNAV took advantage of the flexible, modular architecture of the solution to quickly build interfaces to integrate these systems with the ERP database. To ensure precise planning for this critical first phase of the implementation, AIVEBS adapted a prebuilt Sure Step design phase template. This enabled AIVEBS to illustrate the proposed architecture and map the integration points between the various systems and the corresponding modules in the solution in a clear, concise way before beginning the work.

Adaptable Solution to Meet Changing Requirements
Throughout the project, SNAV needed to make several changes to its original implementation plan. One such change involved the introduction of a new, industry-specific application to handle its reservation-booking and ticket sales processes. Several months after AIVEBS had engaged with SNAV and completed the project charter for the implementation, SNAV adopted a new software system to handle these functions. The AIVEBS team documented the entire change request process in Sure Step, including modified time and expense requirements to build the interface to the new application. Says Stefano Uberti, Project Manager at AIVEBS, “By using Sure Step, we were able to efficiently manage this change and incorporate it into the project charter. We were able to show SNAV the impact that the change would have on the schedule so that everyone knew what to expect.”
 
Real-Time Fleet Management
AIVEBS used the Sure Step Rapid Implementation Methodology alongside Sure Step data migration tools to complete the transfer of all SNAV financial and operations data to the centralized ERP database. SNAV now uses the solution to provide a single, shared repository for managing and connecting all of its core business processes—from accounting and finance to inventory planning and purchase order tracking across its fleet. Specifically, SNAV finance and purchasing staff and managers throughout the company use Microsoft Dynamics NAV to:

By_using_Sure_Step_tools,_AIVEBS_planned_SNAV's_phased_data_migration_to_Microsoft_Dynamics_NAV.
AIVEBS used Sure Step methodology best practices and templates to plan
phased data migration from several stand-alone systems to
Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

  • Create purchase orders by cost center and use built-in workflow capabilities to automate document routing.
  • Track purchase orders against invoices in the system to confirm receipt of merchandise.
  • Review consolidated budget and account balance information and access detailed vendor histories across SNAV’s supply chain to optimize inventory and improve cash flow.

In a subsequent phase of the project, SNAV plans to deploy Microsoft Dynamics NAV on board its five larger ships, linking point-of-sale terminals and other shipboard systems to the centralized database. “It will be a big step forward for us to manage all of the retail stores and other commercial venues on our larger ferries through Microsoft Dynamics NAV,” says Afano. “AIVEBS has documented in Sure Step exactly how it could complete this additional deployment, so now it’s just a matter of executing on this plan.”

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*We quickly saw that Sure Step offered the right set of standardized tools to help ensure that communication around budget, scope, and solution requirements would be clear and consistent through each phase of the project.*
Vincenzo Afano, Accounting Manager, SNAV
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Benefits

By consolidating its accounting, finance, and operations data on a single, fully integrated ERP solution, SNAV will be able to manage its fleet more efficiently and reduce IT maintenance and other operating costs. Says Afano, “With the improved visibility, powerful analysis, and reporting capabilities we’ve gained through Microsoft Dynamics NAV, we can chart a course to sustain future growth that aligns with the strategy of our parent company, MSC.”
 
Rapid Time-to-Value Through Effective Change Management
From the beginning of the engagement with AIVEBS, the rigor of the Sure Step methodology impressed leaders from SNAV. AIVEBS used the methodology’s templates and best practices to convey budget and scope details, define roles and responsibilities, and manage change requests throughout the project life cycle. “Sure Step gave us the confidence that we would have total visibility into the project from start to finish,” says Afano

As a result, SNAV was able to complete the migration to Microsoft Dynamics NAV and deploy the solution on budget and within the original estimated time frame for the project. “The ability to stay on schedule and within our budget was extremely important,” says Afano. “It meant that we could stabilize the business and start gaining efficiencies all according to a well-defined strategy and plan.”

Greater Efficiency and Improved Visibility into Operations
With the fully integrated functionality in Microsoft Dynamics NAV, SNAV can seamlessly connect its key business processes, eliminating the need for manual reentry of data and resulting in faster completion of tasks across all departments. Through automated routing of purchase requisitions, for example, the company expects to reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the purchase of merchandise for its ships by up to 20 percent. In addition, SNAV managers will now have the ability to evaluate performance across all aspects of the business. “With access to current information, we can identify ways to improve our shipping services, improve inventory and store management, and see a real-time accounting of our actual costs so that we can budget and plan more effectively,” says Afano.

Better Positioned for Strategic Growth
By consolidating its major business functions on a single, easy-to-use, and highly flexible ERP system, SNAV is better equipped to achieve long-term, sustainable growth. With enhanced budgeting, forecasting, and business analysis capabilities, SNAV can build on efficiency gains to focus on improving its current passenger services and maintaining and optimizing its fleet to ensure the best possible customer experience. “We are not only more efficient now but we also have greater flexibility because we know we can cost-effectively modify the system as our business needs change over time,” says Afano. “This gives us a tremendous competitive advantage.”

 

Microsoft Dynamics
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:
www.microsoft.com/dynamics

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
http://www.microsoft.com/

For more information about SNAV products and services, call 081 428 55 55 or visit the Web site at:
http://www.snav.it/

For more information about AIVEBS products and services, call 39 1084 6311 or visit the Web site at:
http://www.aivebs.it/

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Customer Size: Medium Organization
Industry: Travel
Country or Region: Italy
Solutions:
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009
Organization Profile:

Società Navigazione Alta Velocità (SNAV) operates 23 high-speed boats and large ferries and provides luxury transport services to destinations on and around the Italian peninsula.

Business Situation:

To achieve greater efficiency and improve accounting control, the company sought to consolidate its financial management and operations functions on a single enterprise resource planning system.

Benefits:
  • Rapid time-to-value through effective change management
  • Greater efficiency and improved visibility into operations
  • Better positioned for strategic growth
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