Tru-Test standardises IT around world

After a whirlwind year of global acquisition, farm equipment manufacturer Tru-Test is replacing eight IT and three ERP systems to standardise its operations.

After a whirlwind year of global acquisition, farm equipment manufacturer Tru-Test is replacing eight IT and three ERP systems to standardise its operations.

Those span New Zealand, Australia, the US, Mexico and Brazil, from headquarters in Auckland.

IT had become a limiting factor for for the company, which has bought four others, including Sunbeam Agricultural, a division of home appliance specialist Sunbeam Australia, in the past 12 months.

Tru-Test is one of the country’s biggest exporters with annual sales of $123 million. It is implenting JD Edwards 5 ERP and supply chain suite, with the help of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.

It has also decided on Windows 2000 and Hewlett-Packard server hardware as its standard worldwide.

IS manager Howard Lewis says the aim is to help the business grow further.

“We’re constrained by the multiplicity of our legacy systems. The company has a variety of accounting, manufacturing and distribution systems.

“The majority is packaged software, some of which has been customised over time and some of which has been in place for more than five years.”

It’s understood that Cap Gemini will use an “accelerated implementation approach” to install the new system. Phase one, involving financials, distribution and manufacturing modules, is intended to be operational by the end of November, with enterprisewide completion scheduled for May 2003. It will encompass 150 concurrent users.

Lewis says the company will use a standard implementation of JDE, for the sake of future flexibility. Functions such as workflow and collaboration will be layered on top of the platform once it’s implemented.

“Effectively we’re going to use the platform and the internet to link customers and suppliers with our business and other stakeholders, but that’s very much phase two.

“With the multiple systems we have at the moment we can’t consistently provide interfaces to a variety of stakeholders.”

Lewis says the JDE system subscribes to the principles of “lean manufacturing”, which aims to reduce waste.

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