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Sherbrook International


The new 22 user solution handles the finance and distribution functions as well providing key requirements such as EDI and automotive scheduling.

 

Company Background
 

Sherbrook is an international distributor of automotive parts to Original Equipment Manufacturers and the Aftermarket. It links those who buy materials, products and services with those who sell them. Established in 1978, Sherbrook has a successful track record with top companies in the international automotive industry. The company occupies a large 18,000 sq ft Office / Warehouse complex in Hednesford, Staffordshire together with 3 satellite Warehouses throughout the UK. Sherbrook International Ltd employs around 30 staff within Sales, IT, Procurement, Warehouse, Finance and Administration functions, with an Annual Turnover of approximately £35 million.

Situation
 

Now operating its own warehousing facility and having just completed a move to new premises the business demanded new levels of support from its IT systems. Sherbrook’s existing Impact Encore solution was outdated and inflexible and unable to meet the stringent service level requirements demanded by the company’s major customers. These demands included the provision for electronic data exchange and the electronic automation of purchase and sales schedules. A further driver for change was also an imminent deadline for support contract renewal with their existing supplier. The company had to take a decision to upgrade, which would not completely meet their requirements, or investigate alternative business management solutions.

The Selection Process
 

Sherbrook extensively researched and previewed eight other business management solutions and suppliers before deciding upon Microsoft Navision from Anglia. The shortlist also included specialist automotive distribution solutions, but these would still require extensive bespoke modifications to allow Sherbrook to work the way it wanted to.

“We were very impressed with the flexibility provided by Microsoft Navision” comments Rob Danks, Financial Director for Sherbrook, “We could see real advantages to having the ability to modify and create our own reports, forms and tables, allowing us to quickly accommodate required changes in our working practices and business procedures.”

 

At the outset of the project, Sherbrook commissioned a Solution Model exercise from Anglia Business Solutions. The solution model involves an in depth business needs analysis and identification of the functionality and business process requirements which must be accommodated within the solution. The Solution Model document acts as a blue-print for the deployment, provides the basis for technical design specifications and clearly defines the commitment required from both parties in order to achieve a successful deployment.

Danks continues; “I spent many hours explaining the way our business works, our key requirements and the concept of automotive scheduling. Most of the potential suppliers failed to grasp the finer details. Anglia took the time to really get inside our business and to understand our needs. This was evident in the proof of concept demonstrations that Anglia presented, which served to convince us that Microsoft Navision was right for us”.

The Requirement
 

Sherbrook were under increasing pressure from major customers to facilitate the import and export of data electronically between their organisations and to provide electronic automation of purchase and sales schedules. The company required a modern, flexible solution which could provide them with these capabilities whilst providing a solid foundation for the organisations growth plans. A key requirement was for the solution to be fully integrated with all areas of the business, removing the need for numerous spreadsheets and disparate manual systems and processes. Sherbrook had also recently implemented a change in the way it operated its automotive aftermarket business. Previously it had operated on a ‘buy to customer order’ basis which gave the organisation no view of business in the pipeline and often lead to a break in the supply chain when items were out of stock at the supplier. Sherbrook wanted to operate a ‘Buy to Stock’ model, allowing it to offer next day delivery to its customers.

Solution
 

Financial

Microsoft Navision was deployed to replace the use of Impact Encore, Excel Spreadsheets and Access Databases for the relevant financial areas including General, Sales and Purchase ledgers. Microsoft Navision’s Multi-Currency functionality was used to satisfy Sherbrook’s requirement to transact and report in multiple currencies, such as £ Sterling, Euro, and US $.

 

Management reports were created for both Statutory and Management Accounting purposes using Navision’s integrated report writing tool. Thus avoiding the need to download the values and report through external Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

 

Automotive Scheduling

Sherbrook International received manual rolling 3 to 5-month requirement forecasts from their main customers. Once received, a large amount of manual effort was required to re-key in the data. A key requirement of the new solution was to automate this process. Sales Schedules received from clients are now electronically received by EDI directly into the Microsoft Navision solution. Sales Orders are automatically created from the incoming Sales Requirements Schedule and the system calculates what Purchase Orders should be placed on Vendors to meet the demand. As customer demands change, these schedules can be amended and the forecast recalculated accordingly. Each time the Sales Schedule is imported, a Variance Report is created to show any changes in Order Quantities.

 

The scheduling process uses the Calculate Plan functionality within Requisition Worksheets. The forward horizon of the Calc. Plan run can be set to include all known Sales Orders or requirements and the output of the run provides proposed Purchase Orders in the Planning Worksheet. Each proposed Order line shows the planned start date so any Orders that are sufficiently in the future can be adjusted if not yet ordered, or deleted if not required.


As well as providing proposed Orders, Navision will also show Action Messages in the Worksheet. These provide prompts to the responsible person when there have been changes since the last Calc. Plan run and some action needs to be taken to re-balance supply and demand. A facility called Carry Out Action Messages is used to automatically carry out the Action Message (if approved) and/or transfer proposed Purchase Orders to the Purchasing Requisition Worksheet, so they are ready to be created as Purchase Orders.


The system will display an unavailability of Stock warning during the entry of a Sales Order line when there is insufficient Stock at the Ship-from Location and gives easy drill down to availability by Period / Location. Stock can be taken into a negative state if required.

 

Order confirmation, invoices & despatch notes are all user definable and are automatically produced by the system at the appropriate time. The user has the option to print these documents for posting or to send by email with a covering note.

 

Stock Control


Standard Navision functionality is used for inventory management. The current Stock position is displayed on the on the Item Card together with outstanding Purchase and Sales Order quantities. Full drilldown to underlying data is available in these fields. Anglia have also carried out further enhancements in this area to allow for the display of stock quantities not yet shipped but already Picked, by Item. Full descriptions are also held for each item.

 

 

screenshot showing stock item card in Dynamics NAV

Fig 1 An Example of a Stock Item Card.

 

Standard Navision Warehouse Management functionality has been used, including the ability to book Stock In, Put Away, Picking Stock and Shipping it. Full Stock traceability by Bin is also available, with bins having weight and volume restrictions placed on them. When picking goods the system can tell the Warehouse personnel where to pick the Stock from or the User can interrogate the Stock to see in what Bins the Stock is being held.

 

Each of Sherbrook’s Warehouses has been set up as a Location. Against each location is the address, contact information and details what level of warehousing operation and documentation is required. In addition Customers can be assigned to a default Location, so that whenever they place an Order that particular Warehouse will deliver it.

 

 

Screenshot showing warehouse recepit screen in Dynamics NAV

Fig 2 Warehouse Receipt Screen

 

After the Picking Process has been completed, prior to printing the Despatch Notes, details of Weight, No. of Pallets, Dimensions (Export) and extra Comments may be added for printing on the Despatch Notes.

 

Navision has a facility to transfer Stock between two Locations and will cater for any Warehouse Transfers. The stock is shipped to an intermediate location (e.g. “In Transit”) from where it can be separately received. The whereabouts of stock, therefore, is always known.

 

Screenshot showing user friendly form designer screen in Dynamics NAV

Fig 3 User Friendly Form designer screen


Sherbrook use the integrated design tools available with Microsoft Navision to create and modify their own new Reports, tables and forms. These can be designed from scratch, use the Design Wizard function, or copy an existing design to use as a starting point. Every report, table and form in MBS Navision is created using this tool and can therefore easily be customized.

 

Solution Benefits
 

Information received from Sherbrook’s major customers and suppliers is now imported electronically. This has greatly reduced manual data entry procedures, thus reducing the opportunity for data errors.


Use of the integrated design tool for the customisation and creation of reports, forms and tables has allowed Sherbrook to configure the solution to meet business needs as and when required, without the need for expensive 3rd party consultation and design work.


“We made immediate savings in our administration costs by cuttings out duplication of procedures and re-keying of data. Turnover is scheduled to increase 50% this year, and we do not plan to increase the administration headcount to cope.

 

Since implementing Microsoft Navision, Sherbrook has taken on the sale and distribution of Lucas rear view mirrors and headlamps. Without the new solution this would have been almost impossible. We expect to see a return on our investment within 12 months.” comments Danks.

 

Software & Hardware Overview

 

Anglia also provided extensive infrastructure support as part of the deployment. As part of the initial solution model exercise Anglia conducted an infrastructure audit comprising the following elements:

  • Examine hardware server builds, define any potential configuration/performance issues & recommend appropriate remedial action.

  • Audit the current operating system software domain, compare the software deployment techniques against current best practice and define any suggested refinements.

  • Assess the current levels of security in place within the internal system domain, and security procedures relating to data back-up, virus protection and potential hacker attack & recommend appropriate improvements

  • Examine the workstation build of at least five representative system users and recommend any suggested refinements designed to increase user satisfaction.

  • A written report of the findings of the audit outlining the key improvement recommendations together with a project plan and estimated costs.

As part of the upgrade exercise Anglia installed and configured two new HP DL350 servers with Windows Server 2003; One to run Microsoft Exchange, Terminal Services and File & Print Services, the other running SQL Server and Microsoft Business Solutions Navision.

 

Hardware & Software used in this project includes:

  • Microsoft Navision 3.70

  • 2 x HP DL350 Proliant Servers

  • Microsoft Exchange Server

  • Microsoft ISA Server 2000

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2003

  • Microsoft Terminal Server 2003

  • Microsoft Office Professional 2003

Services Overview

  • Solution Model

  • Project Management

  • Implementation & training

  • Software Design

  • Development

  • Data Transfer

  • Document Design

  • Infrastructure Audit

  • Infrastructure Implementation

For further information contact:
 

Anglia Business Solutions Ltd
Tel: 0123 873400

 



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