A solid structure conquers COVID
H+H is a leading manufacturer of Celcon blocks used to build modern homes, hospitals, schools and offices, with 28 factories in 8 countries across Europe.
TNP is a significant Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner, based in the UK. Specialising in Business Central, the company has over 200 staff and 500 customers. In March of 2020, H+H launched a project to standardise business processes across its business - supported by a consistent software platform. In doing so H+H wanted to stop reinventing the same wheel in each country, improve efficiency and make it easier to integrate new acquisitions.
When COVID-19 hit, H+H could have chosen to pause the project to come back to at a later date. Instead they decided to use the specification phase of the project to prove that it would be possible to build and deploy the solution without the international travel and face to face meetings that would typically be associated with such a process.
H+H aligned their internal teams, from across many countries/disciplines, established a commitment to the concept of a standard solution, and secured agreement on the detail of their requirements. TNP supported this using their 'Day in the Life' process to guide discussions towards the out-of-the box processes that Dynamics 365 Business Central enables. This reduced the need for customisation, reducing deployment costs and minimising future maintenance costs.
This was all made possible, entirely remotely, through the extensive use of Microsoft Teams. During the pandemic, Microsoft saw usage of its Teams platform increase dramatically - from 13m daily active users in July 2019 to 44m in March 2020, and to 75m in April 2020. The H+H and TNP engagement was a very small part of that surge. Over the course of 40 calendar days TNP and H+H ran 26 detailed workshops involving 59 people from 5 countries. The extent to which those meetings were effective and the time spent productive had little to do with the technology itself - it was much more to do with the commitment of the people involved and the quality of the relationships that H+H and TNP established.
H+H did not plan on running their project remotely - and TNP had never been asked to - but the travel restrictions imposed around COVID-19 and the timelines associated with H+H’s business agenda demanded that the two teams should try. Traditionally customers and vendors have believed that cultural/communication issues associated with international projects are most effectively addressed by flying project teams all around the world. The H+H plus TNP experience demonstrates that this is not the case - leadership and commitment are the key.
Brian Svejsø, CIO for H+H, said, "H+H has been doubling its business over the past 5 years and this growth path is set to continue. We knew that we needed to do something to improve the scalability of our business model, and had decided that we wanted a set of standard business processes backed by a shared ERP platform. When Corona came, we could either postpone the project or move it forward learning to work in new ways. In some ways we have found that this new way of working provides improved opportunities to bring specialists to the table without having to fly people in".
Ian Humphries, CEO for TNP, observed that, "this has been a remarkable experience for our project team - we never thought we would need to do something like this remotely - much less thought that it could have been so successful. The H+H engagement has busted many myths about ERP system replacement. We look forward to sharing the learning with many other customers".
Working very collaboratively with TNP, H+H have worked through the lockdown and are now deploying Dynamics 365 Business Central as their standard platform - rolling out first in the UK, later Germany, the Nordics and Poland through June 2022. The project will deliver much more consistent and scalable process management and a shared platform that can be automated - to reduce costs - and enhanced with e-commerce capabilities - to build tighter relationships with their customers.
To standardise business processes across 8 European countries, supported by a consistent software platform
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