Survitec Group

Survitec needed a single, technically advanced solution that could handle the administration, distribution and service management functions countrywide in a dynamic, growing organisation.

The Background

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.


The Challenge

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. One site in Scotland was using Microsoft Dynamics NAV® and a review of their experience was undertaken. When this was completed Enabling, who had been supporting the previous ERP system was invited in to present the NAV solution, along with one other alternative. Survitec’s Managing Director, Mark Barker and the implementation team selected Enabling and Microsoft Dynamics NAV®.

Enabling had delivered a strong support function to the business with the previous system and that knowledge of the Survitec business coupled with the expertise in NAV, gave Survitec Australia great confidence in selecting Enabling and Microsoft Dynamics NAV®.

“The uptime for the NAV system has been excellent since implementation. We’re delighted with the NAV system and the service from Enabling has been excellent.”

Mark Baker – Managing Director, Survitec

The Solution

What made NAV so compelling was the local support structure, along with the simplicity of the sales process within NAV and the ease of pulling data on customer activity out of the system. NAV was 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 screen with just the functions each different person needs, combined with the Microsoft 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 Microsoft Dynamics NAV® 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.


The Results

There are many benefits for Survitec from the Microsoft Dynamics NAV® solution from Enabling. With multiple regions and complex and ever changing sales configurations of product BOMs and services, financial reporting has been reduced from days to hours. Easy to use business intelligence tool, Info-Explorer provides self-service analysis for operational and sales management as well as sales people.

It is now possible to analyse and dissect sales by so many dimensions – item, category, product group, branch, sales person, 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 spreadsheet.

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 of NAV 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 and utilising the best features of NAV, “One of the extra benefits from Enabling implementing NAV was streamlining our business processes.” The system has proven stable and reliable, “The uptime for the NAV system has been excellent since implementation and Enabling, in conjunction with our project team, managed what could have been a disastrous domain change with no disruption. We’re delighted with the NAV system and the service from Enabling has been excellent,” noted Barker.

Survitec has more plans for their Microsoft system, adding new features the system can provide, with the solution running so smoothly and its far-reaching capabilities understood more. 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, Microsoft Dynamics NAV® for their own operations to be rolled out worldwide. “Our experience in Australia with NAV has been so good, our parent company is standardising on NAV worldwide."