Wholesaler BUVA well supported with Dynamics 365 including WMS

Coming from Dynamics AX2009, BUVA migrated to Dynamics 365, including the Microsoft WMS module.

BUVA is the go-to supplier for everything around ventilation, toughened glass, and building hardware. Each solution contains a wide range of products and services and thus requires a variety of processes and required functionalities within their ERP system. Add customization for customers and a complex application landscape, and it became clear that Dynamics AX 2009 was no longer adequate to support the company. Interim ICT manager Jan Kees Hage and Head of Logistics and Production Rafaela Salis tell more about the migration to Dynamics 365 and the implementation of the WMS module.

The need for a new WHS and ERP system

A large proportion of the items supplied by BUVA are custom-made. As many as 5,000 production lines per day need to be processed. Rafaela: "A sales order that arrives at production is split into several production orders. The trick is to bring them back together at the end, so that the customer gets everything in one delivery. And then preferably without too much manual administration in between."

"Our version of AX 2009 contained a lot of customization and processes connected with reports," Rafaela continues, "but it worked well on its own. Only the ERP system was severely outdated and no longer supported. Moreover, we wanted to digitize further and link other applications to it, such as our webshop, but this was difficult. So it became necessary to migrate to a newer version."

A dilemma: Dynamics 365 or Business Central?

In its search for a Microsoft partner, BUVA met HSO. There had been a previous collaboration and now HSO again became the partner of choice, because of its expertise with similar construction suppliers, its solution-oriented approach and industry-specific solutions.

In the beginning, BUVA did have some doubts: will Business Central or Dynamics 365 suit our production and logistics processes better? And aren't we too small for Dynamics 365? Yet the problems the company experiences are similar to those of large multinationals.

Jan Kees: "Functionally, Dynamics 365 offered us more possibilities. Also to be able to connect to other systems. Moreover, with Business Central our employees would have to get used to a new system again, which would complicate the implementation." In short, the company selected Dynamics 365.

WHS-module and Dynamics Advanced Warehouse Management

Another advantage of Dynamics 365 was the WMS (Warehouse Management System) module, including an app. BUVA was in fact working with a separate WMS that communicated with Dynamics AX for order picking. The first reactions to the new WMS module were very positive. "Only we hadn't realized beforehand what the impact of this integrated solution would be on our process management," says Jan Kees.

Rafaela: "Our service to the customer could not be captured in the standard module, because we pack the orders as required: on pallets and carts or in crates. We didn't want any more customization, but fortunately HSO had a specific solution in which we could fit our needs. Dynamics Advanced Warehouse Management, integrated into Dynamics 365. Digitally "stapling" together ready production orders and moving them to the packing area was quite a job. But HSO managed to get this process right and stable, and we are now incredibly happy with it."

Since July 2022, BUVA has been live with Dynamics 365 and WMS. "You definitely don't want your customers to notice anything about going live with a new ERP system," Rafaela points out. "But luckily, it went very smoothly from day one. In previous migrations to a new system, I always caught myself longing for the previous version anyway. But I don't have that now at all. Sometimes we have to restart AX 2009 to find some old data and then I am so happy with Dynamics 365. Our regular consultant who had helped us throughout the process was able to go on vacation a week after going live with peace of mind. That's how well it went."

Users can optimize processes

"It even went so well that users started optimizing processes themselves," says Jan Kees. "Such as automating the stock count with the WMS. Replenishing items remains manual work, but the system now indicates what needs to be replenished where."

Rafaela: "For this we did rearrange the warehouse. First, several products were in one location; now each item gets a unique location. There are currently about 14,000 of them and that will become even more. But now the system can make correct suggestions for additions. This used to be done manually, so you can imagine how much time this saves. I myself had this optimization on the roadmap in a year, but we are already working on it now."

More efficient processes

The modernization of the ICT landscape makes it possible to integrate other smart solutions into BUVA's processes. For example, they now use Lasernet for Dynamics 365 for document design, Medius for purchase invoice processing, the e-Con product configurator, BIS for EDI from To-Increase, and Sana Commerce has been linked as a web shop. Business processes are now automated and therefore more efficient, allowing BUVA to serve clients faster and better.

Cloud Integration

Joint efforts

Partly due to the impact of the WMS on the process operations, the project did take longer than expected. "We were supposed to go live six months earlier," says Jan Kees. "But we still had to implement some customization. But we managed to limit the amount of customization and we also stayed within budget."

Rafaela: "Next time, though, I would opt for a more collaborative approach when it comes to our departments. Now all the departments, such as procurement, finance, logistics and sales worked separately from each other, but then you miss the interconnection and dependencies. If we put the key users of the various departments together, then everyone understands from each other what is needed to make the entire process from sales, production, logistics to invoicing run smoothly. Most importantly, our customers were not affected by this migration and hardly noticed any changes."

What's the impact of new systems?

Words like "a dream come true" and "super happy" are being said. Pretty special when it comes to a new ERP system. "This solution brings us so much peace, efficiency and insight," Rafaela believes, "We see a future when it comes to digitization again. We are now down to two employees from last year. And we have time to redesign the warehouse. That's already a savings of 0.5 FTEs. And where we used to work until 18:00 or 19:00 every day, now we just finish around 17:00. And all the trucks can leave on time. Cross-docking is  going well and no longer causes any headaches. The WMS really runs like a train."

"In Dynamics AX, the processes were divided into larger steps," adds Jan Kees. "Now many small processes run in the background, while the work seems to go faster. The big advantage is that we can analyze data in detail: where are things going wrong and where do we need to make adjustments? It does mean that the process has become more sensitive to the correct input of data, otherwise an order might get stuck, for example. You have to discover that in practice; you can't think of everything in advance. But we are more than happy with Dynamics 365 and our new WMS."

Fotografie: Inge Nusselder Photography

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