We completed the upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 over a weekend and were up and running on Monday morning with absolutely no problems.
Allan Stiles, Director of Application Development, CMC Group
BackgroundHeadquartered in Bowling Green, Ohio, the CMC Group consists of four subsidiaries that provide specialized printing and packaging services for a range of industries. CMC Group oversees management of these interrelated companies, delivering shared IT and financial services. Through its four subsidiaries—Century Marketing, DayMark Safety Systems, Century Marketing Wholesale Division, and NovaVision—the company provides an extensive array of printing and packaging solutions.
From its inception in 1980, CMC Group has experienced significant growth through organic expansion and several acquisitions. The company’s manufacturing and distribution operations and the majority of its 250 employees are located in Bowling Green, Ohio. CMC Group also plans to open a distribution facility in the United Kingdom as part of its ongoing initiative to accelerate delivery of its products to customers worldwide.
SituationTo accommodate continued expansion, executives from CMC Group opted to migrate from the company’s aging Data General system to a comprehensive enterprise resource planning system. In 2001, the company implemented Microsoft Business Solutions–Axapta, now Microsoft Dynamics AX.
"We chose Microsoft Dynamics AX because it combined end-to-end business management functionality with the best subset of manufacturing capabilities of any system we looked at," says Allan Stiles, Director of Application Development at CMC Group. And from a programming standpoint, the flexibility of the system, which made it easy to customize forms and screens in the various modules, was also a major plus."
Success in boosting operational efficiency by using Microsoft Dynamics AX led Stiles to evaluate upgrading to the latest version of the software. Together with a team of executives from CMC Group, Stiles weighed the value of new features against the potential risks associated. with any new IT investment. "Once we looked more closely at the new capabilities in the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics AX and considered what they could mean for our company’s growth, we knew it was the right opportunity," he says.
SolutionWith help from Microsoft Gold Certified Partner SAGlobal, CMC Group implemented Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 and Create form from Bottomline Technologies for document output management. SAGlobal completed the implementation in five months, providing Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 to 85 people across the four subsidiaries of CMC Group.
CMC Group was able to replace the majority of its custom applications, representing more than 200 hours of coding work, with standard functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009. This includes nearly all of the modifications that Stiles and his team made to tailor intercompany document handling in Microsoft Dynamics AX 3.0, the version the company used before completing the upgrade.
Taking advantage of the power and flexibility of the Application Integration Framework within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, CMC Group implemented Create!form from Bottomline Technologies for all its document output.
CMC Group also used the standard shipping tables and the enhanced shipping-carrier interface in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 to simplify integration to Clippership. CMC Group took advantage of the Application Integration Framework to quickly link its legacy CRM system with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 while improving the connectivity between these two systems.
BenefitsIn total, CMC Group reduced customizations by 80 percent in moving from Microsoft Dynamics AX 3.0 to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009. "We took full advantage of the upgrade tools, including the Compare Tool, to check our custom code against standard functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009," says Stiles. "This enabled us to eliminate about 500 hours of code."
In addition, by leveraging Create form’s flexibility and ease of integration, CMC Group was able to eliminate 300 hours worth of custom code. This allowed CMC Group to maintain the custom document needs for each of its subsidiaries and still take advantage of the power of standard functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 for processing.
By significantly reducing customizations, CMC Group experienced a dramatically simplified upgrade and deployment process. "We completed the upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 over a weekend and were up and running on Monday morning with absolutely no problems," Stiles says.
In fact, on the first day of using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 in production, the company’s DayMark division handled 750 orders, a 40 percent increase over the company’s typical daily order volume. To me, the fact that we were able to go live with the new system and process more orders on the first day with no difficulties whatsoever speaks volumes about how easy it is to upgrade from Microsoft Dynamics AX 3.0 to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, Stiles says.
By taking advantage of a number of new standard features and capabilities available in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, CMC Group expects to see dramatic improvements in operational efficiency and workforce productivity. In addition, with the upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, the company benefits from a fully integrated solution that supports continued growth and innovation as the businesses needs require them. CMC Group was able to make this leap in technology and gain the benefits at a cost that was significantly lower than that of CMC’s initial implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX in 2001.