IFS upgrade to take advantage of greater functionality and enhanced processes.
Star Refrigeration provides total cooling solutions for industrial refrigeration and air conditioning. From plant design, manufacture and installation, through to maintenance support and service, the business works in complete partnership with its customers. A team of over 350 office and engineering staff at12 locations across the UK, undertake a pro-active approach to maintenance and provide a rapid response when needed.
Star has been using IFS since 2004 with around 120 fully licensed users. The company operates in an environment where having a tight grip on operational costs is vital. Margins are competitive therefore, strong technical performance and excellent customer service are key differentiators. A big challenge for Star is to ensure that all costs are captured against the customer contracts, keeping them as accurate as possible. Through implementing IFS Applications, Star have enjoyed enhanced visibility and access to real time data which has allowed for pro-active management.
14 years on from their first IFS implementation, and while still enjoying the excellent flexibility and stability that IFS offers, Star was seeking to upgrade their software from IFS Applications 7.5 to IFS Applications 9. IFS themselves were going to carry out the technical work around the upgrade, however, prior to this, Star requested IFS training and consultancy support from Cooper Software to identify the main changes between their existing IFS version (7.5) and Applications 9 in order to plan and prepare for the upgrade.
“We had been talking about upgrading for a year or two but kept putting it off. We knew we were not fully using 7.5 therefore there was an opportunity there, however, we also wanted to take advantage of the enhanced functionality available in Applications 9, particularly around CRM and mobile work orders. Upgrading would allow us to do this with out causing too much disruption to the business.” said David Bolster, ERP Project Director at Star Refrigeration.
David continued, “We had a small core team, therefore we opted for the upgrade route as it was quicker and more straightforward. Carrying out a complete re-implementation would have been a much bigger project and involve an entire system re-design which we just didn’t have the resource to justify.”
To better understand Star’s current use of IFS 7.5, Cooper Software conducted a Business Information Review (BIR) which aimed to review and map Star’s current processes (the “As Is”) and then provide recommendations for a potential “To Be” environment. Following this, Cooper Software would be in a position to identify issues and recommend improvement areas to Star’s existing process.
Conducting the BIR uncovered a number of key findings related to how Star were currently using IFS. In summary, the company were only using a limited number of modules within IFS to carry out their day to day business activities.
Based on the findings Cooper Software believed that Star Refrigeration had an opportunity to become more efficient and cost effective in many areas of the business. This could be achieved by reducing the duplication of data entry, removal of manual errors and centralising existing processes and procedures. The introduction of IFS 9 would provide the business with new functionality such as improved CRM and a complete Mobile Workforce platform for their onsite engineers.
Following the findings and recommendations of the BIR, Cooper Software provided a series of workshops covering finance, payroll, HR, maintenance, operations, quality & health and safety, sales and CRM. The workshops outlined the changes between IFS Applications 7.5 and Applications 9 and provided Star with advice on IFS functionality which was not currently in use but, if switched on during an upgrade, would bring great benefits. These included, IFS Lobby, embedded CRM and comprehensive mobile access. What’s more, by adding modules like payroll in to IFS, this would remove a lot of the manual data entry Star were currently undertaking.
The upgrade process, taking Star from IFS Applications 7.5 to Applications 9 was carried out by IFS. Cooper Software provided guidance on IFS functionality and provided Star with a Project Manager to co-ordinate the IFS education and workshop plan with the assistance of a Project Co-ordinator who managed the scheduling of the IFS consultants who delivered the training workshops. Cooper Software’s project team did liaise closely with IFS to understand the upgrade timetable and identify any key milestones or constraints that might affect the running of the workshops.
Star successfully went live with IFS Applications 9 in October 2018. Following this, Cooper Software provided Service Desk support via their ‘power by the hour’ concept, during the initial 3-month post, ‘Go-Live’ period from October until December. This meant that Star could easily call upon Cooper Software’s expert IFS support desk team to provide quick, expert assistance to their users for any issues they experienced during this transition phase. Cooper Software have continued to provide Star with consultancy support, providing an on-site consultant each month to troubleshoot any issues which arise.
Benefits of Upgrading to Applications 9
- Increased visibility and greater availability of business information.
- Enhanced CRM solution.
- Mobile access for service and maintenance engineers.
- Removal of manual processes.
- Enhanced project and business reporting.