EVAPCO Europe centralizes its IT systems with modern ERP system

Annelies LambrechtsFinance Manager, EVAPCO Europe

Challenges

  • End-of-life systems
  • No central ERP for EVAPCO Europe

Results

  • A modern, centralized ERP system
  • Implementation on time and under budget
  • Time gains, margin calculations and more detailed insights
  • Ready for extensions and optimization in the future
"EVAPCO has grown into a successful multinational thanks to high-level analysis, amongst other things. If we wanted to continue to grow, we had to centralize IT systems and harmonize data"

What do you do when your company is confronted with end-of-life systems and fragmented data across different plants? This is exactly what happened to EVAPCO Europe. To tackle these issues, the manufacturing company joined forces with Cegeka. Together, they implemented a modern, centralized and unified ERP solution that is now ready to be rolled out across all European plants.

Founded in 1976, EVAPCO is a private, industry-leading manufacturing company with global resources and solutions for worldwide heat transfer applications. The group owns more than 20 plants around the world to supply over 150 countries with evaporative cooling products. Despite EVAPCO’s growth into a successful multinational and its focus on innovation, there was still some room to centralize IT systems and harmonize data, in order to boost efficiency.

A high-stakes pilot project

That’s why EVAPCO Europe, EVAPCO’s regional headquarters that has been located in Belgium since 1999, launched a pilot project to modernize its IT systems. Annelies Lambrechts, Finance Manager at EVAPCO Europe: “Our plants in Belgium and Denmark were running on end-of-life systems. We urgently needed a modern, unified and centralized platform. We launched a pilot project in Belgium, which could later be rolled out in our other European plants as well to solve issues like fragmented data and to grow stronger together.”

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Looking for the right solution

In 2019, Annelies and her team started preparing the pilot project. They first mapped out their requirements: “We agreed that we needed an open, user-friendly system that is compatible with Excel and is available in multiple languages. Integration was, of course, key, as we wanted the platform to centralize all our data and systems, across divisions and borders.”

 

After this detailed analysis, Annelies and her team approached a dozen vendors: “We invited five of them to our office to present their solutions. They all met our requirements, so we had to look at the bigger picture. It appeared a Microsoft solution would be the best fit, as the US had a penchant for Microsoft Dynamics and Denmark was using Microsoft Axapta. With all that in mind, we decided to join forces with Cegeka to implement Microsoft Business Central as our new ERP solution.”

"You could feel Cegeka's communicative and honest-feeling attitude from the start: they guided us well and guaranteed a really close collaboration."

- Annelies Lambrechts, Finance Manager at EVAPCO Europe

An intensive follow-up

The implementation was initiated in the second half of 2020. EVAPCO and Cegeka identified all different key users and organized a kickoff meeting with the consultants and the project manager. Each key user was involved to analyze the current situation and discuss how Business Central could optimize business. A great deal of time and energy went into change management and setting the right expectations.

 

With a future roll-out in mind, Annelies and her team understood that it was important to gain buy-in from every European plant as well. At every stage, from initial analysis to final implementation, colleagues from Denmark as well as Italy joined the monthly update meetings to discuss where the project was going, what difficulties had been encountered, if the progress was on track, etc.

 

“It has been a very intense process for everyone involved, especially for our key users. We were constantly working side by side with Cegeka, while at the same time doing lots of data cleaning and testing.”

On time and under budget

In July 2021, EVAPCO went live with a brand-new ERP system that supports finance, purchasing and warehouse management and some features of the manufacturing process. Not only was the project completed on time, Cegeka also managed to wrap things up under budget. What’s more, there was still some money left to optimize the system in the future.

 

Annelies looks back on the project with great satisfaction: “Today we are already reaping the benefits of our ERP implementation in three areas. First of all, we are experiencing considerable time gains in our daily workflows, especially for the order entry and finance teams. We were also able to set up an inventory warehouse that allows us to allocate 90% of our items to an order. As a result, we can now make margin calculations and look for optimizations in data, which, in turn, leads to much more sophisticated insights into our data and markets.”

“The ERP project is already showing its immense value: we are experiencing time gains in several divisions, we are able to make margin calculations and we have more detailed insights into our data and markets.”

- Annelies Lambrechts, Finance Manager at EVAPCO Europe

Ready for the future

With the pilot in Belgium a success, EVAPCO has exciting plans to step up its ERP game: “Our ERP implementation was embraced with great enthusiasm in Europe, and it even sparked the interest of our US headquarters. In the future, we hope to continue refining and optimizing our data and flows. In three to four years, we plan to fully integrate manufacturing into our system with help from the US. Finally, we will continue to support and assist the other European plants with their ERP projects: we will kick off the implementation in Denmark in 2022 and Denmark’s system is scheduled to go live in 2023”

“This ERP project has been a real enrichment for our company. Today everyone is thinking along to optimize the system even further in the future. Team play has increased massively and our investment is already paying off.”

- Annelies Lambrechts, Finance Manager at EVAPCO Europe

Do you have a question about this customer story or are you wondering what Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can bring your company?

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