ITW Foils – a manufacturer of industrial equipment
ITW Foils is a leading manufacturer and distributor of foils, films and film laminates for the graphics industry. At the company’s plant in Wales, hot stamping foils are produced for use in consumer packaging and cartons, with the foil products distributed through a network of sales offices throughout Europe.
ITW Foils is part of Illinois Tool Works Inc, the global manufacturer of industrial equipment and consumables. Having grown both organically and through acquisition, ITW began a strategic initiative to simplify the structure of their business. The aim was to bring similar parts of the organisation together and report as fewer larger divisions.
Long-standing users of Microsoft Dynamics NAV
For ITW Foils, the restructure meant bringing together a network of offices across Europe and creating one single team led by the manufacturing and sales operation in the UK.
To help facilitate this restructure, the Finance and IT teams at ITW Foils decided to remodel their ERP systems. Each division was using Dynamics NAV for finance and sales management. However, each part of the business was using NAV slightly differently.
The challenge for ITW Foils was how to create a single version of Dynamics NAV that could support manufacturing and finance management across Europe.
‘We no longer have inter-company financials to worry about. We can report as one entity instead of seven, which has greatly increased efficiency.’ Marcus King, Financial Controller, ITW Foils
Simplifying business processes for manufacturing
ITW Foils wanted to create an end-to-end business system based on Dynamics NAV that would provide a single access point for all their finance and manufacturing management across Europe.
It was important that the system support multi-site operations, as well as bringing multi-currency and multi-lingual capabilities. It also had to support the full manufacturing cycle, providing control and traceability throughout; from Goods In receipt to splicing and cutting product rolls, booking in finished goods, and picking and shipping to customers.
Marcus King, Financial Controller at ITW Foils explains the approach: ‘Each division had developed their NAV system in slightly different ways. We decided to take the system that was being used by around 20 users in our plant in Wales – it had the manufacturing modules that we needed and with some extra development we were confident that it would scale up and support the whole European operation.’
The Ocean Dynamics team worked closely with the IT and Finance teams at ITW Foils and extended the solution so that it could be used by the European sales offices. The main challenge was to consolidate all the data and functionality from the individual instances into the central manufacturing system, allowing over 80 users to access and manage data relating to the manufacture of the products.
Once the merge of the data and functionality was complete, they then carried out some fine-tuning to ensure that the system provided all of the users with the same functionality that they had previously.
Faster financial reconciliation & profit control
The new system and company structure have brought considerable benefits to Marcus and his team. ‘We’ve seen some real improvements in business efficiency thanks to the Ocean Dynamics team; the process of closing accounts at month end is much, much easier – it used to take us around seven days and now it’s down to four!’
Transfer pricing between divisions had previously created a lot of complexity but the new system and structure have eliminated that issue. ‘We no longer have any inter-company financials to worry about. We can report as one entity instead of seven, which has greatly increased our efficiency’.
Finally, the new system is providing greater visibility of margins. ‘The transfer pricing between entities meant that our revenues and costs were spread across two or more months and we were never able to get a clear view on profitability of a particular job or customer. The single Dynamics NAV system gives us that insight, which will allow us to increase profitability and further improve the success of the business.’