Comfoor implements Oracle NetSuite ERP
Hearing protection and improving specialist Comfoor implemented NetSuite ERP. CEO Peter-Paul van Leeuwen and Finance and Shared Services Manager Frank Winkelhorst tell about their choice for NetSuite and the cooperation with Cadran as implementation partner.
Peter-Paul: “Both Cadran and Comfoor want to innovate and are not afraid to do things. The most important benefit of the new ERP-system is the fact that it’s one integrated system that is manageable and stable. So being ‘in control’ of the company, that’s an enormous win.”
Frank: “We got along well with the people of Cadran. You’re going into an substantial implementation process, so it has to feel right. You should be able to say anything to each other so you can achieve the best result together. We felt that we could do that with Cadran.”
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Keen festival-goers, elderly people suffering hearing loss, employees in a noisy industrial environment… all enjoy the benefits of Comfoor’s innovative products.
For over 30 years, Comfoor B.V. has developed, produced and supplied innovative, top-of-the-range hearing protection and improvement products around the world. And as a pioneer in the field, Comfoor has been making use of 3D printing technologies for more than 16 years. Their state-of-the-art equipment enables them to consistently provide customers with sophisticated, high-quality hearing products.
Comfoor products are sold internationally to various clients in the audiology, industrial and PPE sectors, as well as to large retail companies. Comfoor manufactures both standard products, such the popular Pluggerz brand, and tailor-made products.
And according to Comfoor CEO Peter-Paul van Leeuwen, they’re up against strong competition: “For years there’s been a trend towards consolidation and internationalization in our market. This type of professionalization increases the need for a faster, more process-oriented and qualitative work and delivery method. We’ve always been strong in that area, but you do need the support of a good ERP if you want to get the process just right. Our customers set high standards for this, but then, so do we. A solid ERP system is essential if you want to develop well in a competitive market.”
The first step in creating a custom earpiece is having the audiologist make an imprint of the ear. An ingenious logistics network ensures overnight delivery to Comfoor’s production site. The imprint is used to create a digital file, which is then converted into a product using 3D printing processes. The earpiece is finished by hand.
Comfoor has been using 3D printing since 2004. Over the years, this process has been refined and further developed, and now uses the most advanced software, scanners and state-of-the-art 3D printers.
Comfoor consists of three business units that all operate under one roof, which means that their processes are intertwined. In the past, there were nine different systems in place. Finance and Shared Services Manager Frank Winkelhorst explains: “First, we analyzed and improved the existing processes. Then we established the specifications and incorporated them into a blueprint. We took this to the market, seeking a partner that would help us with a new ERP system. Our plan was to integrate the existing systems as much as possible to create a single system, since scaling up is essential to Comfoor. With every step we take, we look at the opportunities for growth, including internationally. An example relates to the use of multiple languages. We also view our ERP from this perspective – it has to be scalable for the future.
The most important requirement for Comfoor’s new ERP system was for it to be a single package – one system, one platform. It also had to be a modern, scalable system that could keep up with Comfoor’s innovations and growth. Naturally, the company wants to be prepared to respond to future developments.
Frank Winkelhorst: “We really see NetSuite as a platform; one that’s continually evolving and has the capacity for further improvement, where necessary. It also has to be possible to link our processes to it, so that it’s future-proof in every respect.”
The platform is divided into two sections. On one side is Comfoor’s ERP, which is the basis for the company’s operations, and on the other is the external part that the customer sees. Customers, such as the audiologists who work with Comfoor, can place and configure an order in the portal. Comfoor immediately receives a notification that the order is being placed. The customer sends the imprint of the ear to Comfoor for the manufacturing of the earpiece. All further steps in the production process take place in NetSuite, from confirmation of receipt to delivery. In the meantime, the customer can visit the portal to see the status of the order and view invoices and any other information.
The collaboration between Cadran and Comfoor is based on trust and shared values. Peter-Paul van Leeuwen: “Our key users and Cadran’s project group had an intensive but pleasant collaboration. Some of our people are critical, and they ask a lot of questions and keep a close eye on the process, so that we can deliver the best quality to our customers. Cadran was a great partner; they understood this, and we were able to exchange ideas freely. Cadran’s ambition, the people involved and the way we felt about them, gave us the confidence to choose Cadran as our partner for the implementation of our new ERP system. We were able to make good agreements about the course of the process and the support that we would receive.
Their innovative approach is also very much aligned with Comfoor. Cadran was new to NetSuite, but they demonstrated strong confidence in the system. Our company’s own innovative attitude and trust in Cadran’s insight gave us the confidence to embark on this joint adventure with them.”
For Comfoor, the most important benefits of the system are its manageability and stability, but even more so its integration. Because there is much more data available, insights are improved.
“There is now one version of the truth, so to speak,” explains Peter-Paul van Leeuwen. “Being in control of the company is a huge benefit.”
Frank Winkelhorst: “A platform that runs in the cloud makes everything clearer and a lot more manageable. Another advantage is the lack of hardware issues, which means a reduction in management costs. For our customers, the main benefit is ongoing insight into the process. They can view the progress of a product at any time, and see the status of the order.”
Frank Winkelhorst: “When I consider the future, I see that anything’s possible: the platform is flexible and viable. With Cadran’s expertise, we’ll be able to achieve much more in the future.”
“We’ve laid down a solid foundation, and will continue the process of automation in the years ahead,” says Peter-Paul van Leeuwen. “This is an ongoing process – an ERP is never complete. And we’ll continue to make use of the knowledge and expertise made available to us by Cadran’s people.”