2 page Case Study - Posted 2/9/2012
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Hans Ploenes GmbH

Fashion Company Rests New Business Model on Standardized, Streamlined ERP Solution

Hans Ploenes, a producer of ties and trader of men’s fashion accessories under the J. Ploenes brand, changed its business model to have contractors perform all manufacturing. This change necessitated an adjustment in the company’s business software, which was highly customized and offered limited flexibility. With help from Microsoft partner Hanse Solution, Hans Ploenes reimplemented and upgraded to the most recent version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, its ERP system, together with Trimit Fashion, which added industry-specific capability. Today, the company has a standard solution that provides the software functionality it requires and that is easy to update and maintain. The integrated ERP system fits employees’ actual roles, smoothly supports the company’s new operating model, and lets business executives remain firmly in control to produce the highest possible product quality.

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* By using Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Trimit Fashion, we can achieve our new business model with the powerful support of an integrated, standard solution that is easy to run and keep current. *

Christoph Ploenes,
CEO, Hans Ploenes

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Business Needs

Hans Ploenes, headquartered in Krefeld, Germany, is a family-owned manufacturer of ties and trader in men’s scarves and fashion accessories under the J. Ploenes brand. In business for more than 75 years, the company’s products, which independent representatives sell to retail businesses, are available in many European countries.

In a change to its business strategy, Hans Ploenes decided to outsource tie manufacturing to other German companies. Hans Ploenes continues to design the seasonal collections and maintains firm quality control over the finished products. For most ties, the tailoring of the fabric still takes place at Hans Ploenes, where contract manufacturers collect the materials and produce the finished ties in their facilities.

With the change in the business model, Hans Ploenes also needed to change the way it managed operations, with greater control of contractors and finance and more efficient business planning and materials management. That provided an opportunity for simplifying the company’s technology infrastructure. As its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, the company used an older version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV with many customizations. The complexity of the customization made it difficult to upgrade and maintain the solution. Christoph Ploenes, CEO of Hans Ploenes, says, “We wanted to streamline our ERP system and make it easier to update it. At the same time, we looked for software functionality that was a good fit with our industry and that would support our new business model.” In addition, Hans Ploenes hoped to gain certain new capabilities, including the ability to interact with tax authorities for mandatory, regular business reporting.

Solution

Working with Microsoft partner Hanse Solution, Hans Ploenes reimplemented and upgraded to the most current version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV with Trimit Fashion. Together, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Trimit Fashion are a standard solution that provides all the functionality Hans Ploenes requires. Trimit Fashion, designed to run in integration with Microsoft Dynamics NAV, enhances the ERP solution with a wealth of industry-specific functionality to manage design, cuts, colors, sizes, and more. The ERP system also integrates with Microsoft Excel for reporting and business planning and with Microsoft Word, importing customer information automatically into forms, letters, and marketing communications.

Sixteen Hans Ploenes employees in the warehouse, distribution, finance, business management, and the executive group work with the integrated solution—a larger collection of users than the one that relied on the previous technology. Some workers also experience support from the ERP system in performing more complex steps. For instance, warehouse workers in the past only did picking and packing tasks, but today, they also produce bills of delivery and calculate shipping costs. Hans Ploenes takes advantage of the Microsoft Dynamics RoleTailored user experience in Microsoft Dynamics NAV to give employees access to the information and capabilities they require, without distracting them with data and functions that they don’t need.

Christoph Ploenes is the CEO of Hans Ploenes GmbH, the German maker of ties and accessories.
Christoph Ploenes is the CEO of
Hans Ploenes GmbH, the German
maker of ties and accessories.

Benefits

Today, Hans Ploenes relies on a low-maintenance, reliable ERP solution that helps the organization create and efficiently market the products consumers want. As Ploenes says, “With Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Trimit Fashion, we are on solid ground for production and delivery of high-quality fashion products during our company’s next 75 years in business.”

Run Company on Industry-Specific, Standard Solution

By using Microsoft Dynamics NAV together with industry-specific software, Hans Ploenes has all the fashion industry–specific capability it requires. However, the technology is mainly standardized and not customized as it was in the past. Microsoft and Trimit release updates and enhancements simultaneously, making it easy for Hans Ploenes to remain current. “We run Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Trimit Fashion as a standard solution without the need for an IT department,” says Ploenes. “The technology is extremely reliable and requires minimal attention. Even better, it completely fits our changed business model and helps us operate very efficiently—for example, in the timely processing of a high number of small invoices for many different products.”

Maintain Firm Control with Strong Quality Assurance

Hans Ploenes relies strongly on the reporting capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics NAV to plan and direct the business. Managers frequently use data from the ERP system in Excel or with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services to perform sophisticated data analysis, make projections, and rehearse business scenarios. “We have much better insight into the status of our outsourced manufacturing, can control our inventory better, and order and dispose of materials more efficiently,” explains Ploenes. “Given the large quantity of different products we produce and the many contract manufacturers we work with, it’s highly reassuring to be able to maintain control with effective quality assurance and always be fully informed. This is also of great value in providing customers with updates on their orders with us.”

J. Ploenes ties.
J. Ploenes ties.

Comply Easily with Financial Reporting Standards

Hans Ploenes today finds it easy to comply with the financial-reporting standards that the German federal government mandates. The government’s financial administration can easily audit the company’s financial records in the ERP system. “With the current version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, we now have the ability to transmit data to financial authorities, following the GDPdU standards they demand,” says Ploenes. “This capability simplifies financial audits and largely eliminates possible reporting errors.”

Enable Employees to Perform at Best Productivity

Today, the lean Hans Ploenes team works with utmost efficiency. Because of a more holistic design of business processes, some employees perform more steps in certain areas, but the overall workflows with the RoleTailored client are more streamlined than they were in the past. Ploenes comments, “We see that our entire team gets more done in the same time it had before. We were able to fit the software tools very closely to the roles people play in the company so that everybody works within a unified, comfortable software environment that gives easy access to exactly the functionality and data people need. The entire company has become more focused and productive.”

Solution Overview




Organization Profile
Hans Ploenes produces and distributes ties and men’s fashion accessories to retail organizations in many European countries.

Software and Services
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2

Vertical Industries
  • Consumer Goods
  • Manufacturing & Resources

Country/Region
Germany

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Financial Management

IT Issue
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Regulatory Compliance and Controls

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Hanse Solution

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