'TERPS' thins out paint manufacturer's legacy system

Taubmans, manufacturer and retailer of branded paints, coating and related products, has moved into the third phase of its implementation of a large-scale ERP solution from Baan.

Appropriately named TERPS (Taubmans Enterprise Resource Planning System), the project is being steered by Taubmans' implementation project leader, Phil Langdale, with Deloitte Consulting ICS providing the systems integration expertise.

Taubmans is implementing Baan's full manufacturing, distribution and financials suite, together with Baan SCS (supply chain solutions). The system will run on a newly acquired high-end Unix platform from Hewlett-Packard, with the Oracle database system.

The Baan solution replaces a nine-year legacy system; an older version of Cincom running on a VAX system, a remnant from when South African-based Barlow Limited Group acquired Taubmans in 1996.

"The primary reason for the system upgrade, apart from the fact that we were using very old technology, was that our version of Cincom was not Y2K compliant," Langdale said.

"The dilemma, however, was whether to upgrade to a more recent version of Cincom, or scrap the current system and start over," he said.

Taubmans chose the latter because extensive customisation of the Cincom system made it virtually impossible to undertake a simple upgrade, according to Langdale.

Another reason to go for a new ERP solution was that Taubmans' acquisitions of Bristol Paints and White Knight, with their business solutions, had added complexity to the original system.

"Business had grown considerably, and the old system was beginning to strain under its weight," Langdale said. "We saw this as an opportunity to consolidate all the systems."

The decision to use Baan's ERP solution was a global one, according to Langdale. "The company shares technology, resources and skills worldwide, which is made easier with a single ERP system."

Additionally, Taubmans evaluated other top-tier solutions available and ultimately decided that Baan was the best fit for the business.

The third phase of implementation, due to be complete by August, includes distribution, sales and accounts receivable. However, as well as being a manufacturer, Taubmans also has a retail network of 132 company-owned stores, which adds a level of complexity to the distribution systems.

Add to this a point-of-sale system to be interfaced with Baan, and Taubmans has set itself a challenge for the third and final phase.

"The biggest challenge is the final 'go-live'," Langdale said, "as it directly impacts on our customers."

When completed, Taubmans' Baan system will have some 170 concurrent users at manufacturing plants and also at some 135 retail outlets across Australia.

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