Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Features Software Technology
Microsoft: Allan Candy sweetens sales, streamlines IT with Dynamics GP


September 11, 2009
By André Voshart

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THE COMPANY: The Allan Candy Company Ltd. in Mississauga, Ont., is a manufacturer of chocolate and sugar confectionery products established in the 1950s. It generates more than $100 million in sales and manages a strong portfolio of bulk candy, count goods, retail bags and seasonal offerings for Easter and Christmas. With two manufacturing plants in Granby, Que., and Hamilton, Ont., this new stand-alone unit produces more than 250 products.

THE CHALLENGE: A former division of Cadbury Adams, Allan Candy became a stand-alone entity that needed to quickly shift from a complex SAP-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) environment to an out-of-the-box business solution that supports rapid growth and leaner manufacturing and distribution processes. The goal, according to president and CEO Steve Diakowsky, was to improve and streamline its IT and Lean manufacturing processes, and become more results-oriented and performance-driven. For example, staff needed a faster method of processing purchase orders and managers sought more real-time access to financial data. “Our business was threatening to buckle under the 800 pound weight of our legacy system,” Diakowsky says. “The future of the Allan Candy operation relied on doing things differently – deploying the right technology infrastructure would be the first step along this path.”

THE STRATEGY: Facing tight deadlines, Allan Candy worked with TGO Consulting Inc. in Markham, Ont., to develop a flexible and scalable financial and operations solution based on Microsoft Dynamics GP. Designed for rapid time-to-benefit and low cost of ownership, Dynamics GP is a global financial and business management application for midsize organizations. “With Dynamics GP, no customization was required, and staff were particularly pleased that it has the same look and feel as our existing Microsoft-based software,” Diakowsky says. In particular, it is using it to simplify manufacturing and distribution processes, as defined by the previous legacy ERP environment, to meet the specific IT needs of the new stand-alone business unit. Staff is now taking advantage of the customizable reporting and workflow features of Dynamics GP to improve inventory and distribution processes. “Due to the recent business changes, we were working under ridiculously tight deadlines and were ultimately pleased with the level of flexibility and scalability that Dynamics GP provided,” he says.

THE RESULTS: By developing a new IT infrastructure based on Dynamics GP, Allan Candy successfully made the transition to a stand-alone entity. Today, it benefits from improved inventory management, streamlined distribution and Lean processes. The company is now better positioned to streamline warehouse processes, better manage inventory and distribution, and improve accuracy, efficiency and customer service levels. The new platform allows employees to update information in real time and take advantage of new monitoring tools that help ensure inventory data is accurate and up to date. Via automatic notifications, managers can now monitor business-critical activity, including brand inventory, customer shipments, purchasing and invoicing.

With Dynamics GP in place, staff is defining new processes around tighter budget control and enhanced reporting tools. “The out-of-the-box solution has better positioned us in the highly competitive confectionery industry,” Diakowsky says. “We needed the flexibility to quickly adapt to new business demands and our new Microsoft-based environment allows us to do that. The move to Dynamics GP is playing a key role as we transform our business into a more results-oriented and performance-driven company.”

• Browse back to the 2009 Software Case Study Guide Index for many more software applications.