By 2013, the realisation was dawning that the company’s EFACS E/8 version 8.2 installation was now constraining the business, compared to what could be achieved with newer alternatives. Consequently, a culture had arisen of end users relying on spreadsheets and desktop databases instead of the ERP system, which clearly wasn’t ideal.
“EFACS E/8 version 8.2 was a fantastic system, but we had heavily customised it, and added a lot of functionality in the form of third-party extensions,” explains Bartoline’s IT Manager, James Tingay. “Not only was it difficult to extend the system any further, but we realised that we could do so much more with a newer system – and do it ‘out of the box’, as well.”
The problem? A new ERP system was not something to be undertaken lightly. Whatever the eventual choice of system, the outcome was clearly going to be, in James’ words, “a massive project.”
Nevertheless, the decision couldn’t be postponed forever, and across the business, work began on thinking through how best to proceed. One early realisation, relates James, was that the eventual choice of system would almost certainly be a replacement ERP system from Exel Computer Systems again.
“We had such an excellent relationship with Exel – and the software had worked so well for us – that moving away to another vendor just didn’t make sense,” he explains. “And the more that we looked at Exel’s latest system, EFACS E/8 version 8.5, the more we liked what we saw.”
Much of the more demanding functionality that Bartoline required, for instance, was available ‘out of the box’ with EFACS E/8 version 8.5 – an obvious plus factor, and one that meant that the use of third party extensions and ad hoc spreadsheet solutions could be discontinued. A warehouse management system had long been an aspiration for Bartoline, and such a capability came as standard with EFACS E/8 version 8.5.
Moreover, where customisation was required, EFACS E/8 version 8.5 could be tailored for Bartoline’s needs in-house, without calling in outside help. In contrast, explains James, the company’s existing EFACS E/8 version 8.2 installation “called for a more challenging skill set, requiring expensive external expertise.”
And as if these reasons for upgrading were not attractive enough, he adds, Bartoline management were keen to use the opportunity of an upgrade to review the company’s existing business processes. EFACS E/8 version 8.5 included built-in support for touchscreen and handheld devices on the factory floor, for instance.