Forestry firm cuts into data clog with new ERP

Forestry giant Juken Nissho is replacing a clump of old enterprise systems with the latest version of JD Edwards software in an attempt to produce faster reports for head office in Japan and cut down on duplication.

JDE's ERP 8 software will create a single technology platform to run Juken Nissho's NZ$250 million-a-year New Zealand operations.

Currently JD Edwards financial, inventory, sales order management and payroll modules are being rolled out. They are due online in the New Year.

More than 50 concurrent users in the Auckland head office at seven North Island divisions will access the system through a dedicated portal.

JD Edwards manufacturing and project accounting modules are scheduled for implementation in the middle of next year.

Juken Nissho head office accountant Allan Rohde says data conversion work is currently taking place. If the trials go well, staff training will begin before Christmas, with the system ready for use in mid-January.

Rohde says the new ERP system was needed because the Japanese bosses want reports within three days, so processes had to be automated.

The company's seven divisions have their own standalone systems, predominantly New Zealand-made CBA, which means that accounts have to be consolidated manually.

Rohde says the new consolidated platform will also reduce data duplication and processing time. His divisional accountants are expected to be able to spend 50 per cent more time analysing data rather than just processing it. If the divisions need certain enterprise-wide data they will simply be able to access it, rather than have to request it as at present.

He believes more accurate and more consistent information, gained faster than at present, will help the company better understand how much it costs to produce a particular product.

"For example, we know what it costs to produce a cubic metre of timber but within that there could be 50 different products. The new system will enable us to identify manufacturing costs of individual products," Rohde says.

Previous enterprise systems used by the forestry firm have also been hard to understand, which frustrated users, he says, while the JD Edwards system was found to be easy to use and has the functionality needed.

Juken Nissho looked at ERP systems from SAP, Peoplesoft, Oracle, Intentia and Navision. It also evaluated Olympick, developed by Sanderson Computers of Auckland, now known as Talgentra, and specialising more in customer billing software for utilities.

Rohde says development of the 12-year-old Pick-based software, which is used at the company's Kaitaia division, has not kept pace with the company's requirements.

Consultant PriceWaterhouseCoopers Consulting, now IBM Global Consulting, and JD Edwards are implementing the platform on IBM hardware.

Rohde declines to say what the implementation will cost overall, other than to acknowledge that it is "million dollar-plus".

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