Erik van Mook, ICT Manager Profile
Although mainly world-famous in the Benelux for car tyres, Profile has a lot more to offer. The company connects a large network of garages, leasing companies, roadside assistance providers and more through its ERP system and applications. In order to give the network a thorough upgrade, Profile turned to trusted partner Cegeka.
With around 250 branches, Profile is at the top of the private, business and truck market for tyres, rims, maintenance and breakdown services in the Benelux. The company consists of a huge partner network of independent entrepreneurs, each serving a part of the market.
“The backbone of the entire organisation? Cegeka has been working on that since 2006”, says Erik van Mook, ICT Manager at Profile. “More and more drivers started to change from summer tyres to winter tyres at that time. In our management platform at the time, we were still manually following up all requests for tyre changes. But with tens of thousands of applications coming in every month, that became an impossible task.”
Cegeka changed course and set up the first ERP system for Profile in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 in just six months. This was the starting signal for the close cooperation between the two companies, which has now lasted for years.
Gert Neetesonne, Solution Architect at Cegeka, explains: “We have brought all of Profile’s business units together in one central digital platform. This enabled the company to easily manage not only the requests for tyre changes, but also the entire accounting, all projects, the sale and purchase of services through the garages and of products through the web shops.”
“Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 has served us well for thirteen years”, says Erik. “But in 2020, an upgrade was required because cooperating partners were also moving to a new technology. We also wanted to move our operations to the cloud as much as possible. But the system was too outdated for that.”
Erik did not have to hesitate to find a suitable partner. “Our permanent team at Cegeka suggested migrating the entire platform to Microsoft Dynamics 365. I immediately had complete confidence in it. After all, they have been at our service day and night for many years. We can trust them blindly.”
“Cegeka suggested migrating our management platform to Microsoft Dynamics 365. I immediately had full confidence in it.”
Erik van Mook, ICT Manager at Profile
The migration took place in two phases. A new link with the leasing companies’ platform was a priority. Gert explains: “If a customer with a leased car drives into a Profile garage to change his summer tyres, the garage must first ask permission from the leasing company. With the link, the approval process is automatic and almost instantaneous.”
Gert: “However, there was a major upgrade of the leasing platform coming up, which meant that the link with our system would soon no longer work. We therefore had to act immediately and stay ahead of the winter peak – Profile’s busiest period – to guarantee their service to the Dutch commercial leasing market.”
By 1 July 2020, the first part of the migration was completed. Mission accomplished. Erik: “Cegeka always immediately understands how serious a problem is for us. They know our business through and through and think along with us technically very well. This allows them to judge exactly what they really need to hurry up with.”
“Cegeka always immediately understands how serious a problem is for us. They know our business inside out.”
- Erik van Mook, ICT Manager at Profile
In phase two, it was the other five business units’ turn. Cegeka transferred all data from the truck market, breakdown service, Belgian lease market, web shops and accounting to Microsoft Dynamics 365. The migration project was fully completed by early December 2020, two months ahead of schedule.
Erik is enthusiastic: “If you ask me, Cegeka is by far the best Microsoft development partner and Gert the best IT architect in Europe. The whole migration went extremely well; it deserves a 9.5/10. Our external project manager, Pieter Verboom, had never before seen an ERP migration of this magnitude where both the budget and the planning remained within the specified frameworks.”
“The modern cloud platform brings us a lot of profit, especially on the management side,” says Erik. “We were able to scale down our own servers and turn some of them off immediately, pay 20% less in hosting costs and no longer have to buy expensive SQL licences. All in all, we save several tens of thousands of euros every year.”
“The cooperation deserves a 9.5/10. We save several tens of thousands of euros a year with the modern cloud platform.”
- Erik van Mook, ICT Manager at Profile
Under normal circumstances, Cegeka carries out many tests on-site in tandem with the customer. After all, users should hardly notice the changeover. The corona measures may have interfered with the migration, but they did not disrupt it.
With remote assistance, Profile was able to test the platform extensively. The process went smoothly, because Cegeka had ensured that everything worked exactly as the employees and partners were used to. Gert: “Functionally, we changed the system as little as possible, so that all flows continued to work and disruptions were almost impossible. As a result, Corona has had hardly any impact on the migration.”
“Functionally, we changed the system as little as possible. All flows continued to work and disruptions were practically impossible. Profile was able to work with it immediately.”
- Gert Neetesonne, Solution Architect at Cegeka
Thanks to the migration, the cooperation between Profile and all external partners is running smoothly. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the heart of an intense ecosystem between customers, suppliers, leasing companies, franchisees and all other stakeholders. “It has given us a much-needed technology push to improve our services. The new platform offers advantages for all of us,” says Erik.
After all, Cegeka immediately added some extras which gave both the operational and financial operation of Profile a boost. Gert: “Thanks to a link with Google Street View, the breakdown service staff can immediately see whether the location where a truck broke down is easily accessible. In addition, the ‘finance portal’, which gives the Profile branches insight into the financial transactions with the head office, is now also included in Dynamics 365. From now on, Profile has a complete overview of all operations in one platform.”
Moreover, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the integrations with Power BI and Azure offer many commercial opportunities for Profile. Erik: “We can finally answer a long laundry list of customer questions. That would never have been possible with the old platform.”
The leasing companies, for example, now easily keep track of their tyre stock. The platform matches leased vehicles in need of new tyres with garages in the area that have tyres in stock. “In that way, our system helps them save hundreds of thousands of euros.”
Now that the new ERP system is stable, the two companies will soon sit around the (virtual) table again to define the next steps. Profile wants to further expand the platform to broaden their services for their partners, and is already brewing up a number of ideas.
“The cooperation with Cegeka is essential for our ambitions. Not only are they there for us day and night, but they always think a few years ahead. Cegeka is one of our best suppliers,” concludes Erik. “Their big success factors? Simple: that is their permanent expert team and the enormous domain knowledge.”
“The cooperation with Cegeka is essential for our ambitions. Cegeka is one of our best suppliers.”
- Erik van Mook, ICT Manager at Profile
Wondering what Microsoft Dynamics 365 can bring your company? Let us know. We are happy to think along with you.
“We can finally answer a long laundry list of customer questions. That would never have been possible with the old platform.”