ABF is going for growth with JD Edwards 9.2
Upgrade from JD Edwards version 8.12 to 9.2 in 4 months
ABF customers are always able to find the right product in the multilingual online shop. So it’s only logical that ‘Got it’ is ABF’s pay-off. With over 7.5 million bearings, electric engines and related products in stock, the company has an exceptionally broad product range. The supplier of bearings and electric engines has grown rapidly in recent years. This has led to some growing pains here and there: in storage, in work spaces, but also in IT. ABF is facing the challenge by upgrading from JD Edwards 8.12 to 9.2.
JD Edwards serves as the backbone for all the processes with which ABF provides the best possible service to its customers. Online shops with real-time stock information are part of that. The growth is further increasing the complexity, however. An upgrade of the existing JD Edwards system was essential for further growth. “There are important arguments to support the upgrade,” says Peter Wijburg, IT Manager at ABF. “The upgrade of an ERP system is however a double decision; the service will not suddenly improve, and customers will not receive different invoices. You do maintain good support by running on a recent version, because at a certain point there is no more expertise in the market on outdated versions. Another major advantage lies in the road being paved for new applications and business services. In the future, we will be able to e.g. easily unlock applications via web services. JD Edwards is now also available anywhere/anytime via mobile applications and furthermore, the user interface has been significantly improved. We now have the options to create links to e.g. a product scanning solution to be used in the warehouse. And finally, the processing speed of batch processes has improved immensely.”
New ODA machine processes faster
In addition to the upgrade to JD Edwards 9.2, the hardware has also been upgraded; all systems now run on the Rolls Royce of data machines: Oracle ODA (Oracle Database Appliance). It is a powerful database server that has been implemented with redundancy with fast storage, network and CPUs with the option to also host virtualized servers (VMs). ABF calculates the stocks every day. With JD Edwards 9.2 and the ODA machine, the time it takes to make these calculations has been reduced by about 80%.
In a very short time, Cadran and the partners managed to perform the upgrade to 9.2 as well as the transition to Oracle ODA. How? Cadran followed this method:
Step 1: Identify customizations
The first step is to identify customizations. Choices have to be made about which customizations to migrate to the new system. The customizations to be migrated to the new version have to be reintegrated (retrofitted) there. It’s always best for the customers to test the new customizations themselves. They are familiar with the processes and functionalities. Peter Wijburg drew up the test scripts himself and went by all the departments to agree on what had to be tested. There were regular meetings about the retrofitting because some functionalities work differently in version 9.2.
Step 2: Test
After the retrofitting is done and the unit tests are completed, acceptance testing is the next step. Preferably, this is to be done in a separate acceptance environment. All processes are then tested from A to Z and the security is activated. If all goes well, preparations can start for a go live.
Step 3: Cutover plan
The most important activity for a go live is drawing up and carrying out a cutover plan. This determines what data is to be converted and which applications have to be unlocked via the new system. All steps required to achieve this are included in the plan. The tighter the plan, the smoother the go live will be. At ABF, this was planned down to the last detail and that way, everyone knew exactly what to do at every moment.
Step 4: Go live
The go live took place 4 months after the project started and went very smoothly. There were barely any issues and the issues that did come up were quickly solved.
On schedule and within budget
Peter is very excited about the whole process: “It’s great working with a supplier like Cadran. The consultants are always thinking in terms of solutions. It is with good reason that we’ve worked with them for ten years. In projects like these, you basically work together like Siamese twins. Cadran’s honesty and transparency is a major asset in this. For example: When we were in danger of veering away from the agreements we had made, Cadran intervened. Luckily, Cadran kept us on task and honored all the agreements within the allotted time, and stayed within the budget. That gave us a lot of confidence. Furthermore, there were no escalations and because of that, management barely had to be involved. Cadran’s work method gave us a lot of peace.”
JD Edwards 9.2 opens doors
Throughout the years, many investments in processes and tools have been postponed at ABF because of the outdated system. With the new version, ABF can unlock new techniques, such as the JD Edwards Orchestrator, a layer above the Application Interface Services (AIS) Server that was developed to make raw data of external sources, systems and devices usable for JD Edwards. JD Edwards 9.2 also enables us to start projects as a WMS implementation. Moreover, ABF has grown rapidly and has major growth ambitions for the upcoming period. ABF also wants to work even smarter and make more intensive use of tools like BI and inventory scanning. The new system has made this possible. For BI, ABF has already started working with Tableau. The integration with other systems is simple and requires no technical changes. “The system is also running smoothly, and it is more responsive than JD Edwards 8.12,” Peter says. “And it’s the little things that make people happy. A few of my colleagues are helped out by something as simple as being able to fix a column. That used to cause so much frustration. These kinds of little things have a major effect on user enjoyment.”
Go for the low-hanging fruit
ABF’s systems contain a lot of customizations, which is why the company will be examining certain processes in the upcoming period. What can be done differently and what do they want to maintain? Initially, they will go for the low-hanging fruit, tackling the processes they can improve quickly.
Thanks to the upgrade to JD Edwards 9.2, ABF employees can improve processes, work more efficiently and are able to link new applications and solutions to the system. With this, ABF is ready for a future full of growth and all the challenges that come with it!
Advantages of upgrading to JD Edwards 9.2:
- Various online shops linked to JD Edwards
- Link to product scanning solution
- User-friendly user interface
- JD Edwards accessible everywhere via mobile devices
- Batch processes super-quick with new ODA machine
- JD Edwards Orchestrator makes links with other applications and technologies possible
- Maintains up-to-date support