Blokker: ‘The complexity required an experienced ERP partner’

Real-time insights and seamless connection to the best-of-breed platform for efficient and flexible operations.

Blokker is a household name in the Netherlands. In 2018, the household retailer needed a partner to help them replace their old ERP system. Since this kind of project isn’t something you undertake very often, Blokker was keen to find an experienced and committed partner, which they found in HSO. John de Keuning, IT director at Blokker, was the driving force behind the project, and we caught up with him to hear his take on the collaboration.

A new chapter

After a difficult period, Blokker finally turned over a new leaf a few years ago. The company broke even and shifted its focus to a new strategy ­- to expand the ‘Blokker’ brand, modernize the organization, be competitive in the market and become more profitable. Its new mantra was to respond to developments on the market with razor-like precision. Blokker is now back on its feet, but that didn’t happen overnight.

Out with the old, in with the new

Outdated ERP systems that no longer support obsolete core applications in the IT landscape are not exactly compatible with this growing organizational landscape and new vision. But that’s precisely what Blokker had before they embarked on this project. In its search for a new ERP system, Blokker wanted more control over the flow of money and goods, greater financial insight and a consistently reliable answer to the question: where do we really stand financially?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations ticks all the boxes. Why? Because this cloud-based ERP solution provides real-time insights into the state of your business. The solution has myriad customizable options for retail processes, which means you can run your operations more efficiently and flexibly. The management tools easily integrate with your existing systems, and scaling up is easy. This allowed Blokker to undergo its own digital transformation at its own pace and in step with its operational needs.

 This Microsoft solution has resulted in more control, fewer errors, greater financial transparency, a more stable IT environment and professional processes.

John de Keuning IT-director at Blokker

Best of breed

John: ‘We had already decided that we wanted to go with Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations; we just needed a partner to help us with the implementation. At Blokker, we have a best-of-breed platform, which means it’s a complex integration with lots of lines to other applications; for each application, you have to focus on one sub-process so that the application better meets the requirements. That’s why we wanted an experienced and reliable partner to lead the project.’

To illustrate, John shared the following example: ‘The price change process has an impact on stock valuation, which is subject to rigorous authorization. We needed greater control over this, to make sure we’re not being guided by the wrong metrics’, explains John.

Green light for HSO

Given the impact and complexity of the project, Blokker was keen to collaborate with a committed partner who knew all the issues and risks inside out. Qualities they saw in HSO. They also liked the fact that HSO sticks to the parameters of the project, delivers minimal customization and keeps a close eye on that throughout the project. ‘That’s why we gave them the green light’, says John.

‘HSO is a reliable and experienced partner. They deliver minimal customization and keep a close eye on that throughout the project."

"HSO’s project teams brought stability to the process. They had everything under control and exuded calm and confidence. Where necessary, they expedited issues or made the right adjustments. They adapted flexibly to our organization."

John de Keuning, IT-director at Blokker

The approach in a nutshell

New end-to-end processes were defined, which made the ERP modernization process something of a challenge. The project also involved several teams; for each department, Blokker set up working groups that drew up a list of requirements and came up with the design in collaboration with HSO consultants. These working groups were also responsible for the interaction and the roll-out of the drafted plans and ideas, as well as for communication with the Blokker lines. They were increasingly involved in the project, so that employees knew what to expect during releases.

Benefits for Blokker

The two-year project has now come to an end, and John looks back on the experience: ‘HSO’s project teams brought stability to the process. They had everything under control and exuded calm and confidence. Where necessary, they expedited issues or made the right adjustments. They adapted flexibly to our organization.’

This Microsoft solution has resulted in more control, fewer errors, greater financial transparency, a more stable IT environment and professional processes. John: ‘In our day-to-day operations, we always have a clear picture of where we stand, both financially and in terms of the flow of goods. We are also more profitable as a company because we can act on reliable figures and insights.’

The road to innovation

‘We achieved our objectives, and the launch went without a hitch’, explains John. At the moment, the system is in place and Blokker handles the operational management side of things; they leave general application management to HSO. ‘HSO keeps our system updated and ensures that our modern ERP always incorporates the latest innovations.’ HSO continues to be a partner that Blokker can count on.

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