Baker puts big bikkies into business process

Speciality biscuits, cakes and pastries manufacturer Unibic Australia is replacing its current enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with business process software in an implementation set to go live in early November.

While preferring not to identify the ERP system being replaced, Unibic's financial controller Michael Knaap said the project is costing "hundreds of thousands of dollars" and is on track and on budget.

"We decided to move on from [ERP] as we have a strategic plan that fits a higher level of business than the current system focuses on," he added.

After shortlisting various offerings to two vendors, Knaap said Unibic selected Intentia’s Movex software for its business process improvements to "best practice standards including automation and removal of manual management and transacting".

The Movex Mobileware solution will improve Unibic's business decision response times and its customer serviceability, he said.

"The organisation is in a high-growth phase and Unibic is building a platform to facilitate and control its rapid growth," Knaap said.

While implementation of the solution started in March, Knaap said Unibic has chosen to take a "big bang" approach by going live on November 1, 2003.

The implementation of the system, which is replacing all Unibic systems including ERP, supply chain management and mobile order management system, has had no major integration issues or hiccups, he said.

The company employs more than 100 people at its corporate headquarters and its two automated factories in Melbourne.

Knaap said the software will also be used on 10 mobile devices for Unibic's distribution network staff in Victoria who need to produce invoices while on the road.

"Due to the increasing demands of our competitive external environment it is imperative for our business success to access critical information in an effective, timely and efficient manner in order to manage, support and develop our complete supply chain," Knaap said.

Reducing time spent collecting, collating and analysing information on the system, he said, will allow management to focus on the strategic direction of the company and be supported by accurate information for decision making.

Unibic's previous mobile solution was very much stand-alone, untimely "and also fairly mundane to integrate and upload into our current system", Knaap said.

An internal steering committee - including Unibic's only IT professional - is overseeing the project. Knaap said most of Unibic's IT is outsourced to various companies.

Return on investment is expected by June 2004, Knaap said, but stock improvements will be realised within four months.

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