Chemical Manufacturer Improves Data Accuracy, Reporting Via Systems Integrations & Managed Services
Case Study

Chemical Manufacturer Improves Data Accuracy, Reporting Via Systems Integrations & Managed Services

March 23, 2022

At A Glance

Challenge

A chemical manufacturer was expanding its global footprint, but its disparate ERP, CRM, FP&A and BI systems led to unclear data and hindered its reporting and ability to update solutions.

Solution

The company replaced its custom budgeting and forecasting solution with Workday Adaptive Planning and consolidated its systems into the Microsoft Dynamics stack with Dynamics 365 ERP , CRM and Power Platform and built integrations with Adaptive. It also partnered with Armanino for ongoing managed services to maximize the efficiency of all four systems.

Result

The manufacturer improved ERP workflows to enable system changes to be reflected throughout the solution automatically and empowered greater data accuracy and reporting for its multi-entity and multi-national corporate structure. In addition, using Armanino’s managed services allowed it to minimize systems-related labor expenses and access expertise that would have required as many as nine in-house hires.

Client Challenge: Complex Manufacturing Partnerships and Disparate Systems Hurt Data Accuracy

A chemical manufacturer with facilities and distribution centers throughout North America but owned by a Japanese-based company was expanding its global footprint. This made its accounting, finance and operational processes increasingly complex and difficult to manage.

The manufacturer produces chemicals for eight different markets, ranging from aerospace to life sciences. They partner with companies across North America, Europe and Asia. These arrangements are structured so that the company manufactures the chemical component and provides it to the partner company, which manufactures the end product.

In 2019 the company used Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, the Dynamics Insights business intelligence (BI) tool and a custom budgeting and forecasting solution built on the Power Platform. These disparate systems didn’t integrate effectively, which led to data between the systems needing constant manual reconciliations.

As a result, the manufacturer began evaluating vendors for a strategic Microsoft partnership with these key goals in mind:

  • Upgrade their Dynamics 365 solutions to improve data accuracy
  • Select a partner for managed services and support to empower ongoing systems usage
  • Improve their BI capabilities to boost visibility into performance and enable real-time dashboards

Our Solution: Deep Partnership Integrates and Expands Business Systems Capabilities

The company had an existing relationship with Armanino LLP because the firm is the exclusive reseller of the Dynamics Insights tool on the Power Platform. In 2019 it furthered the partnership by making Armanino its Dynamics managed services partner, followed quickly by adding Dynamics 365 CRM to the engagement as well. At this point, Armanino provided on-demand and ongoing support, managing the company’s iterations of three solutions.

To allow the chemical manufacturer to upgrade its D365 CRM, Armanino led a Workday Adaptive Planning implementation to get the manufacturer off its custom budgeting and forecasting solution and on to a full-fledged financial planning and analysis (FP&A) system, which Armanino manages as well.

Communication, or lack thereof, between the manufacturer’s key business technology solutions remained a roadblock for the company. To begin to remedy these challenges, Armanino developed integrations between Workday Adaptive Planning and the Dynamics ERP and CRM to Dynamics Insights. These integrations streamlined data consolidations between systems, which reduced errors and time spent manually carrying out these tasks.

The manufacturer’s parent company also engaged Armanino in a forward integration to manage the complex manufacturing partnerships it has with other organizations around the globe. Armanino was able to set up two financial companies as distinct entities in their business technology stack: one with two plant locations for their multi-material division and one for the chemical division.

The Results: Improved Communication, Reduced Expenses and Streamlined Processes

While the chemical manufacturer’s commitment to Dynamics ERP and D365 CRM requires more customizations to integrate and run its solutions effectively because the manufacturing plants are in remote locations, on-premises capabilities allow for more data warehousing and machine-level integration. The integrations between the company’s ERP, CRM, FP&A and BI solutions allowed the multi-entity forward integration to be possible.

To overcome the updating challenges posed by using on-premises systems, Armanino was able to rebuild the manufacturer’s ERP and CRM workflows and configurations. Originally, most of these features were hardcoded. This created issues because when one area in the system needed to be changed, someone would have to recode that change into as many as 10 places in the software to prevent errors.

Now, Armanino has set up the four service lines it manages to be more dynamic. So, when the Armanino resource makes a needed update, it’s reflected throughout the system — reducing errors and time spent on tedious bug fixing.

The company also realized ongoing savings by minimizing expenses on in-house labor. Managing the four service lines outsourced to Armanino internally would take as many as nine employees — which, including overhead, would cost roughly $190K per person annually. With Armanino, the company has access to the same number of resources for the price of hiring one person internally.

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