"In just 6 months, we had a turnkey on-demand management tool with very few specific developments to manage all our activities. I have a clear and accurate real-time 360° view of all customer projects."
Romain Bournet, Managing Director of Bilsing Automation France and Head of Asia & Brazil
Bilsing Automation is an international corporate group specializing in the manufacturing of robotic grippers for automotive production. With 370 employees and a turnover of 35 million euros, Bilsing Automation operates in 22 countries and is one of the market leaders in the field of PLC and gripper systems. Citroën, General Motors, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Toyota, Volkswagen - almost all automobile manufacturers are Bilsing Automation customers.
The group became known through an internationally acknowledged simulation solution developed in France for optimizing production times. "Our service business for design agencies has thus developed rapidly and is now the focus of our business," says Romain Bournet, Managing Director of the French subsidiary.
Double-digit growth and the ambitious goal of doubling turnover within three years prompted Romain Bournet to rethink the management tools used and restructure them for its French subsidiary. "In the past, we used simple ERP software and had to manage an additional 30 to 40 Excel files in order to control customer projects individually. Two years earlier there had been an ERP project for the group, but the proposed solution focused on the production business. So our project management challenges in France would not have been adequately mapped".
In order to achieve its growth targets, Bilsing Automation France has diversified its activities with projects to integrate more and more robots into factories. At the same time, the aerospace market is being met by optimising and automating production projects, the scope of which has increased significantly and is in the millions of euros.
Romain Bournet continues: "We have therefore identified several issues that the new IT solution had to address to help us with our own transformation: How can we manage our projects financially, more accurately and more objectively? And this in a context where 70% of our activities are international."
A market study has identified Microsoft Dynamics NAV as the ERP solution that best fits the company's needs. Ease of use, standard project management functionality, interoperability, rapid implementation and investment security by the manufacturer - all these arguments convinced Bilsing Automation France to invest in Microsoft's leading business solution for mid-sized companies and subsidiaries of larger corporations.
Romain Bournet explains the further process: "After choosing Microsoft Dynamics NAV, we turned to Microsoft to find the best Dynamics NAV partner to implement the solution. We were recommended COSMO CONSULT because of its international orientation and industry expertise. In addition, we were convinced by the partnership with each other".
After the kick-off, the workshops with the consultants from COSMO CONSULT and 5 key users from the areas of general administration, finance, purchasing and technology took place quickly. The goal: Understanding and modeling Bilsing Automation processes, especially in project management. The standard functionalities of Microsoft Dynamics NAV were always considered for a fast implementation.
Romain Bournet adds: "In just 6 months we had a turnkey management tool with very few specific developments to manage all our activities. We also decided to implement Microsoft Power BI, a highly functional and easy-to-use business intelligence tool. This enables me to access the company's key figures in real time. Personally, I particularly appreciate the integration with Microsoft Dynamics NAV and the operation from any mobile device is a win on the road. In addition, the ability to connect multiple clients is essential. For the implementation of the tool and the training by COSMO CONSULT just 5 days were enough".
Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Power BI map today's business processes and in the future flexibly support the demanding development of future activities. The advantages mentioned by the management and its teams are numerous:
"In our country, the sales people are also project managers. The tool now offers them a complete overview, from presales to project monitoring and customer billing. Dynamics NAV and Power BI's multi-device and remote access fit perfectly with our international development strategy," says Bournet.
On the management side, the workflow functionality to validate and approve time spent is highly appreciated. A further advantage for managers is that they can easily integrate new employees with the help of a learning environment.
In addition, the errors caused by the use of many Excel files are a thing of the past. The central time recording makes the information reliable and the data no longer needs to be reworked. From 30 to 40 Excel files, only 3 remained that could not be replaced.
Finally, the data quality within Dynamics NAV enables a finer, faster and more objective analysis of company activities. For example, the financial analysis of each project is now available in real time, which previously took several days a month. Thanks to the integrated financial accounting, Bilsing Automation can smooth the expenses and revenues for each customer project. This is a real benefit, because projects often span several years and previously only ended with post-calculations and feasibility studies. "We had large losses in the early years and a significant profit in recent years, which was by no means realistic. I now have a clear, error-free, real-time view of all our customer projects," concludes Romain Bournet.