When Allied aircrew and sailors in WWII needed flotation vests, inflatable life rafts and dinghies for survival, they depended on Survitec companies, saving thousands of lives, and directly contributing to the Allied victory.
With a history dating back to 1852, companies which now form the Survitec group, such as RFD, Beaufort, Zodiac, DSB, Survival One and Shark pioneered the development of inflatable flotation bags to support the early aircraft industry when planes ditched in the sea. Today their life rafts and lifejackets are used by shipping, airlines and defence forces in Australia and overseas, with a vastly expanded product and service range around the common theme of survival.
With activities ranging from distribution of life saving equipment, servicing and maintenance of fire systems and emergency alarms, complex systems comprising air compressor, booster and gas distribution and hose assemblies – from concept, design, build and servicing – and with markets as varied as defence, shipping and aviation to recreational boating, Survitec is a complex business embodying many people, many products and many processes.
With acquisitions, natural growth and an increasing customer focus, the company had outgrown its existing systems. The business services over 60,000 units in each year across a wide range of product segments and industries. Survitec needed a single, technically advanced solution that could handle the administration, distribution and service management functions countrywide in a dynamic, growing organisation. They needed a single source of critical information which was rock solid reliable to provide streamlined information flow, control and reporting.
The process of defining the requirements of a system and then evaluating available systems took many months. As Survitec Australia is part of a global group, the first reviews were on what systems were in use in other sites around the world. The Group currently has more than 20 operating units using 5 different systems. Rather than requiring a common ERP system, each business unit was tasked with finding and implementing the system that best suited local demands. Enabling, who had been supporting the previous ERP system was invited in to present an ERP solution, along with one other alternative. Enabling proposed a system that had been identified within the review process, to already be in use by a site in Scotland. After undertaking a review on the Scotland site’s experience with the system, Enabling could be confident that this system would be the best fit for Survitec. Survitec’s Managing Director, Mark Barker and the implementation team selected Enabling based on their solution and approach.
Enabling had delivered a strong support function to the business previous to this selection so the knowledge of the Survitec business coupled with the expertise in a system that had already been adopted by one site, gave Survitec Australia great confidence in selecting Enabling.
“The service from Enabling has been excellent.”
Mark Baker – Managing Director, Survitec
What made Enabling’s approach and recommendation so compelling was the local support structure, along with the simplicity of the sales process and the ease of pulling data on customer activity out of the ERP system. Enabling delivered a solution that is easy to use and customisable, highly scalable to handle growth, providing a great deal of flexibility – with built in accounting, inventory and warehouse, and reporting in a single application that can be tailored closely to an organisation’s requirements.
With a Role Tailored Client, this easy user interface provides a screen with just the functions each different person needs, combined with a familiar look and feel, to simplify training and increase effectiveness. Enabling commenced the project with a series of detailed workshops on requirements which were mapped against the ERP system functions.
This resulted in a Direction Report with a detailed blueprint of the solution, its implementation including customising, training, communication and the control of risk. Survitec appointed a dedicated Project Manager to ensure the project planning, costs and execution stayed on schedule, and the tight implementation timetable from order in August 2010 to Go Live on 1st November went smoothly. Enabling was of valuable assistance to the Project Manager and assisted in the workshops within Survitec Group that were required to fine tune implementation of the concepts into everyday work practices. An underlying position from Survitec was that modifications to the system were to be kept to a minimum so the process of matching system capability to business practice was an important part of the implementation process.
Survitec have reaped many benefits from the implementation of an ERP system that suited their requirements so closely. With multiple regions and complex, ever-changing sales configurations of product BOMs and services, financial reporting has been reduced from days to hours. An easy-to-use business intelligence tool provides self-service analysis for operational and sales management as well as salespeople.
It is now possible to analyse and dissect sales by so many dimensions – item, category, product group, branch, salesperson, customer, vendor, period, year – changing the view by quick mouse move without requiring setup of special reports or the infinite complexity of manipulating and relying on figures in many spreadsheets.
In the safety business, if something goes wrong, or a job is missed, lives are at stake and liability may be crippling. The robust service management functions available within the ERP system provide a dependable mechanism for organising multiple field operations at multiple centres, at the right time, the right place, with the right qualified persons and the right materials. Inventory control has been important as many of the critical lifesaving pieces of equipment have unique serial numbers, so serial number tracking is critical. The system is even used to print Certificates of Inspection.
Mark Barker commented on Enabling not just implementing the system but workshopping processes to agree on the best way for Survitec to utilise the systems best features. A further benefit from the way in which Enabling implemented the system is seen in the streamlining of Survitec’s business processes. Enabling, in conjunction with the Survitec project team, managed what could have been a disastrous domain change with no disruption. Barker further noted “the service from Enabling has been excellent.”
Survitec has more plans for future functionality. On the wish list is a global database of customers, so whether a vessel requires servicing in Sydney or Rio, the full requirements, spec and history are available wherever they are. The experience in Australia has been monitored with close interest by Survitec internationally. The project is so successful that the UK company selected the Australian solution for their own operations to be rolled out worldwide.