What should chemicals manufacturers look for in an ERP solution?

How a modern ERP can help the UK chemicals industry embrace transformation, foster collaboration, and build market share.

As one of the most highly regulated industries, the chemicals sector faces a raft of ongoing and new challenges every day. In fact, a recent report by PwC concluded that while 90% of CEOs in the sector are bullish about their short term revenue growth prospects, this sentiment wanes significantly in the medium term. There are a number of reasons for this.

Financially, rising costs have seen margins squeezed tighter than ever before. Raw materials volatility and product commoditisation bring unrelenting pressures for manufacturers to do more with less. Operationally, there is little give. Careful management of processes, formulae and materials, as well as compliance with an ever-expanding list of requirements and regulations such as REACH; TSCA; and CSIA, means that risk is a massive consideration. Waste, cross-contamination and decay clearly come with huge cost penalties as well as safety considerations.

Strategically, increased competition, along with socio-political volatility, and environmental considerations, have converged to put a need for innovation and customer collaboration very much in the “prerequisite”, rather than “nice to have” box for UK based chemical manufacturers. An inability to respond to changes in both supply and demand, as well as at a regulatory level, can be hugely costly, both in real and reputational terms.

The rainbow after the storm

The good news is that in parallel with this seemingly perfect storm, digitalisation has brought with it, ways to work smarter, faster, more collaboratively, and with greater intelligence. Modern, industry-specific ERP platforms such as IFS marry traditional process mapping with digital transformation requirements, building the necessary resilience and agility to cement a foundation for future growth.

In the past, chemicals manufacturers typically turned to best-of-breed software solutions to address challenges around formulation management; production management; quality control; batch traceability; and reporting. However, such systems were often transactional and focused on record keeping rather than insight generating. They were also often heavily customised, restricting their ability to scale. Furthermore, a lack of cohesion and communication across these systems invariably impeded visibility and decision-making.

The availability of comprehensive, industry-specific solutions, designed to meet multiple business challenges with a single platform represents somewhat of a game-changer in curating a modern chemicals business.

Core capabilities

Crucially, mixed-mode manufacturing is fully supported in IFS, enabling chemicals manufacturers to prevent contamination of batches when it comes to blending and filling. The optimisation of sequencing and scheduling reduces changeover times to maximise production capacity and throughput. Taking this a step further where needed, IFS helps with dangerous goods classification through substance tracking in chemicals and comes with warehouse controls built in; preventing hazardous combinations or incorrect stocking in storage spaces and ensuring correct procedure & safety when handling goods.

Compliance with regulatory frameworks such as REACH; TSCA; and CSIA, is simplified, reducing data duplication through easy access to key documents and product-handling data. IFS brings audit compliance, planning, quality control and manufacturing execution into a single point with live data at all times, represented in clear, easy to configure dashboards and with simple, back and forth tracing of components and processes. Many IFS users have removed hours from their trace processes simply by putting this data into a single system

The almost instant availability of documents via IFS Document Management, and key insights, ensures simple, but watertight, practices.

Finally, the platform deems costly integrations a thing of the past, with a single application encompassing precisely the functionality required. Not only does this reduce cost of ownership, it minimises maintenance and reduces risk.

Foresight with confidence

There is no doubt that the chemicals leaders in the future will embrace transformation, leverage the best digital capabilities, and collaborate to identify and embrace the best market opportunities.

The ERP solution IFS provides for the chemicals sector not only harnesses multi-faceted complexity to deliver the insight and foresight to remain one step ahead, it delivers 17% average productivity gains, 14% faster product delivery times and 10% more orders delivered in a timely manner. In turn, this instils the confidence necessary to carve out new revenue models which will build all important market share, and promote sustainability, in the economies of the future.

Are you working in chemical manufacturing and want to embrace digitalisation to maximise production capacity, remain compliant and enhance visibility? Let Anthesis give you a view into how IFS Cloud can do it all in a single application without integrations or third-party products.

Speak to us today, email info@anthesis.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)1260 296530

 

REACH – Chemical Regulation and Data Duplication

Anthesis looks at how chemicals companies can get on top of data duplication to stay REACH compliant, without the headaches.

Our customers often ask us how they can reduce the number of systems they have, whilst remaining compliant with a number of regulatory frameworks, including the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE). REACH compliance, which supports the UK Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals, is invariably an important part of the conversation, particularly in the wake of Brexit.

Post-Brexit changes mean that in the UK, ownership for REACH data moves from the ECHA to the HSE. The scale of this management task should not be underestimated, both for the HSE, and the companies who are affected. To put it into context, consider that the chemical and pharmaceuticals industry is the United Kingdom’s second largest industry and is a hugely important part of the nation’s economy. In 2019, chemical industry revenues in the UK stood at 62.8 billion euros, with a GVA (gross value added) of 18.3 billion British pounds.

Data duplication

Although the UK REACH requirements appear closely modelled on the EU REACH regulations, retaining the “No Data, No Market” principle, it does mean many companies exporting chemicals to the EU will need to provide the same, or very similar datasets, to two separate regulatory organisations. This can be difficult if companies have operations both in and outside of the trading bloc.

Not only does this present a challenge to chemicals manufacturers in 2022, it also highlights the widespread problem of data duplication across the industry as a whole.

REACH compliance information, and data around substances and dangerous goods, is often held across disparate systems, and is managed by either an individual or a small team within the business. The model is often dependent on the voracity and investment of the R&D teams. These systems are frequently maintained by small third-party vendors or specific skills contained within the IT team, leaving the business vulnerable to losing knowledge through leavers, retirement, or new suppliers.

Integrations across such systems can be costly, time-consuming and unreliable, so duplication is an issue which has been allowed to prevail out of a lack of commercially viable, alternative options. The result is that data duplication occurs daily in the handling of data, copying to documentation, or simply copy-and-pasting by teams before arranging shipments.

Solving with digitalisation

However, it’s clear that such a practice is no longer sustainable and therefore cannot be allowed to prevail. Accepting such a risk, particularly in the wake of the volumes of data affected as a result of Brexit, isn’t synonymous with best practice and therefore must be addressed.
Thankfully, advances in digitalisation have been working in tandem with the challenge. IFS Cloud, for example, can help UK chemicals manufacturers to manage their REACH compliance data more effectively.

With exceptional substance and characteristics management at enterprise level within a single application, divergence of data quality is no longer a risk. System-wide, access and revision-controlled document management allows firms using the application to be certain that certification requirements, data reporting and visibility of handling information of goods is always accessible to users – ensuring you remain compliant, safe and up-to-date with the latest requirements.

Duplicated data around substance risk and impact is not only time consuming, impeding on productivity, it is error-prone, which in an industry where safety is key, simply isn’t an option.

Are you working in chemical manufacturing and tired with numerous disparate databases to remain compliant and optimise planning? Let Anthesis give you a view into how IFS Cloud can do it all in a single application without integrations or third-party products.

Speak to us today, email info@anthesis.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)1260 296530

Anthesis expands Infor partnership to become an Alliance Partner.

Anthesis serves up exciting news by officially becoming an Infor Alliance Partner.

This move represents the next step in our Infor partnership journey, and our commitment to deliver an outstanding service to our customers. As an Alliance Partner, Anthesis will co-sell with Infor to complement and provide services for the Infor portfolio of solutions, primarily focused on the Food & Beverage and Distribution sectors where Anthesis already holds a strong reputation.

Neal Abdool, Infor Alliances Manager UKI states “Anthesis has supported us greatly as a delivery and channel partner, we are excited to extend this partnership to further cement them within our ecosystem. Infor welcomes Anthesis with open arms as an Alliance Partner to help us expand our delivery capabilities.”

Established in 2009, Anthesis Ltd is a UK based company specialising in ERP software and services to customers in over 25 countries. As an Infor UK Gold Channel and Alliance Partner, Anthesis sells, implements, and supports ERP software. With a team of more than 150 experts providing over 20,000 days of technical and functional consultancy each year, Anthesis helps businesses release the value of their Enterprise Applications.

Digital transformation: time for a new definition?

We look at why smart companies are adopting perpetual transformation as a blueprint for the future.

It’s fair to say that in recent years, digital transformation has become a catch all term for all things, well, digital. While some enterprises recognise digital transformation simply as the adoption of technology by a company, true transformation denotes a rethinking of how an organisation leverages technology; people; and processes in the pursuit of new business models.

Any digital project which drives value for stakeholders is typically recognised on some level as transformational. The issue is that transformation is defined as “a marked change in form, nature, or appearance”, and therefore describes something which is tied to a single event or outcome. It has connotations of giving a one-off makeover to a traditional business, after which it is modernised and equipped with shiny new tools.

Blazing a trail with perpetual transformation

In fact, a one-off project alone simply isn’t sufficient in delivering the kind of change required to become digitally relevant enough to thrive in modern markets, particularly as they are constant changing. What’s needed to truly adapt and blaze a trail in this new world is the infrastructure, skills, investment and most importantly, vision, to be able to continually transform through an ongoing series of projects. This discipline can be better described as perpetual transformation.

Perpetual transformation is a methodology that recognises the limitations of one-off change management, instead focusing on the ongoing review and refinement of digital capabilities, in the quest for continual performance improvement. Of course, for most companies, this journey will start with a significant project, but the key to success is viewing this as a foundation from which to build, extend and re-shape capabilities.

Inevitably this requires a major culture shift and an adjustment in the way organisations view technology. Contrary to traditional business cases, which typically pointed to automation and efficiency as the primary benefits of new systems, digitalisation has become a facilitator of change, underpinning all important agility to address market volatility, and support new initiatives and business models as demand evolves.

While the likes of Apple and Amazon might be front of mind when considering the best examples of perpetual transformation, more relatable case studies are all around us. Take UPS, which leveraged analytics to bridge a customer service gap to deliver live tracking; Dominos’ pizza tracker, which it launched as a means to get closer to customers; or Spotify, which scaled its platform through fostering a culture which encourages experimentation, efficiency and accountability.

Having implemented major transformation, all of these brands continually evaluate and invest in perpetual transformation to uphold the very principles on which their respective businesses thrive on.

Dialling down the risk

Perpetual transformation also brings with it a lesser risk profile. While large change management projects inevitably come with a certain amount of risk, a more linear, incremental model dials this down considerably. Moving on from this more radical “all or nothing” mentality, particularly in collaboration with an experienced partner, can drive substantial efficiencies when it comes to business case development alone, notwithstanding the bigger business benefits of this highly agile methodology.

Driving cultural change with the right partner

Working with a dedicated partner which has expertise and experience in your industry can go a long way in supporting the kind of culture change necessary for this model. As well as bringing knowledge, expertise and experience of the wider market, the best consulting teams can continually question, test, and provide an objective perspective. A specialist partner will proactively bring creativity and ideas, suggesting solutions and driving new thinking and innovation forward. And unlike a large in-house team, which can command massive overheads, the right partner can provide the necessary flexibility to deliver consultancy when required, projects as set out, and support and maintenance in the interim. Such a flexible approach not only keeps costs down, but it also delivers expertise on tap as it is needed and can scale to support a true perpetual transformation model.

Implementing a transform-evaluate-transform business model

Viewing a single digital transformation project as a catalyst for change, without further provision made for future investment, is bold to say the least. As the pace of industry change accelerates, at worst, companies may well find that they’ve invested heavily in ad hoc technology projects only to find they’re several steps behind the market leader.

Uncertainty, particularly that which comes from external factors, really is the only real constant on the horizon. As such, those who invest in a continuous transform-evaluate-transform lifecycle, will inevitably establish the resilience and foresight to win market share over competitors. Perpetual transformation is the model that smart companies are adopting to secure and support their future.

Anthesis ramps up strategy with IFS Partner Success

We are proud to be part of the IFS Partner Success initiative. This investment in our partnership ensures that Anthesis is equipped with the very latest and best IFS skills, expertise and industry innovation so that we can drive success for our customers.

This exciting new programme gives us access to strategic and tactical collaboration with IFS, putting Anthesis at the forefront of innovation. This means our customers can be sure that we can deliver an unmatched service, backed by our proactive engagement with IFS.

Joining the IFS Partner Success programme comes shortly after we became a Gold level Services and Channel partner, taking our relationship with IFS to a new level. We are confident in our position as a leading IFS partner in the UK, able to provide the most complete end-to-end service from initial software sale, implementation, tailored ongoing support, as well as upgrades.

How to speed up your Month End close in Infor M3

Does your Month End close take longer than expected?

If your Finance team are using Infor M3 to prepare for Month End, there are several tips and tricks that could make life easier and help to speed up reconciliations.

We have put together a checklist of 7 steps that can help your team prepare for Month End close and use Infor M3 more effectively to see quick wins that can speed up processes and save valuable time.

 

1. Close period at month-end
Ensure that no transactions are recorded in a period where they do not belong by keeping the active period range open for a limited time only. You can do this within M3 with program GLS990 with the option to specify by module.

2. Ensure GL Balance and detail programs are in line
Are your GL balance program (GLS215) and GL detail program (GLS210) in balance? If not, you can resolve this in M3 by running GLS915 or GLS940. This will ensure that the trial balance is up to date and accurate.

3. Capture and post transactions
Have you made sure that all your internal transactions are captured and posted? To do this run CAS950 from beginning to end once at Month End, then run CAS500 report to check what has not been posted. Finally view the CAS300 program to check and correct any errors.

4. Record revenue
Has the revenue been recorded for all your customer order dispatches in that period? You can run CAS515 / OIS670 reports to check that revenue is recorded and reported accurately to key internal stakeholders who depend on this information.

5. Clear errors
Make sure you remember to clear out all errors in GLS037 and GLS047. This avoids future issues when performing transactions, especially when receipting money and making payments.

6. Approve payments
Have you made sure that all your due invoices are approved for payment? M3 allows you to periodically view any unapproved invoices by running program APS520 which will allow you to take any necessary action and speed up payments.

7. Prepayments / Allocations
Do you have expenses that need allocation to a P&L account each month that takes time during month end? Consider period accounting that splits pre-payments to a given account each month according to the defined split (such as annual rent or advances); or allocations where you can split a single entry balance to a combination of dimensions (such as split a cost between cost centers).

 

We can help you put these tips into place to save valuable time when it comes to Month End and help release more value from your M3 solution. Anthesis has expert M3 Finance consultants readily available and equipped to provide services remotely to help you get the most from your system. Speak to us today, email M3@anthesis.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)1260 296530.

Is your team tied up with IFS Support?

Anthesis can provide the right sized support for your IFS Apps system, freeing up your team to focus on core projects.

See our infographic below to learn more about our IFS support service, or speak to us today to discuss our flexible package options and get a quote tailored to your business.

What do our customers say?

“The Anthesis team have broken records for tickets closed and we have seen a near 70% reduction in the number of tickets.” Steve Hart, LGC

“We now see improved case resolution times and our users get a faster turnaround for their problems meaning they are much more productive with IFS.” Stephen Lyons, Hakama AG

“Should I ever feel stuck on any issue within our IFS system, I feel comfortable and confident that I can speak to Anthesis and their response time is excellent.” Ricky Hunjan, Morgan Advanced Materials

Matt Cannon joins Anthesis as the new IFS Senior Sales Executive

We are kicking off 2021 with a new addition to the Anthesis team, welcoming Matt Cannon as our new IFS Senior Sales Executive.

Matt has been in the ERP software space since 2003, starting as a Partner Account Manager at Microsoft UK before working at eBECS for 13 years. In these roles, Matt came up against IFS as a competitor before they headhunted him to join their team in 2019, and he left the Microsoft Dynamics channel behind.

We are delighted to welcome Matt to the team and strengthen our commitment to the IFS partner network. Matt comes to Anthesis with an already established relationship with IFS that will no doubt help us accelerate towards our objective to become the number one IFS Channel partner, as well as enable Anthesis to continue to achieve our ambitious growth targets and deliver the benefits of IFS to the market.

Outside of the world of IFS and ERP software, Matt is a dad to two boys aged 9 and 13, and recently had a little baby girl called Annie born 30th December 2020, ending a troubled year on a high. Matt is very much into all types of music, especially house, having DJ’ed on the radio and in London clubs. Matt enjoys training at the gym, playing football, cycling, as well as travelling and experiencing new cultures.

Welcoming Garry Smith to the Anthesis IFS Consulting Team

Throughout 2020, the Anthesis team has seen incredible growth. Our latest addition is Garry Smith who joins us as an IFS Project Manager & Consultant.

Garry started his career as a COBOL Programmer working on an MRPII implementation for a switchgear manufacturer in the North East of England and retained an interest in manufacturing and ERP systems ever since working across varying roles and ERP systems.

5 years ago, Garry was introduced to IFS with Apps 9 and has used many of the modules over 4 implementations in his last role with a major IFS customer British Engines including experience of an implementation in Bangalore, India. This year, Garry managed a project to implement T&A to a 100 employee, 6 shift site which went live in January.

Garry’s deep knowledge and experience covers both the technical and functional layers of IFS. He has managed over 200 configuration requests in the last 2 years from writing specifications to testing and deployment. Bringing these skills to Anthesis as a consultant means bringing his experience to helping customers release the value of their IFS Apps and working with an expanding team to grow the reputation of Anthesis within the IFS world.

In his life outside of work Garry has 2 children and 4 dogs ensuring he has little spare time! He is a Kennel Club qualified Championship Agility Judge and spends most of the summer in a field sending his dogs over jumps & through tunnels. Garry is a fan of sports, a follower of Man Utd, and runs competitively over 5 & 10k – because it means he can eat more cake.

6 Ways to Make Infor Document Management Easy in M3

Embarking on a document management project doesn’t have to be a headache. Infor Document Management (IDM) makes it easy to create a central repository to store, view, and edit documents.

Anthesis has the skills, knowledge and resources to help you on your IDM journey. We have expert IDM consultants available with the skills and experience to manage your project and get the ideal results for your business. We have delivered over 1000 hours of IDM consultancy to some of Infor’s largest and most complex customers, you can rest assured that we can handle your document management challenges no matter how big or small.

Check out our infographic below to learn about the 6 ways to make Infor Document Management easy in M3.

Anthesis can help you get to grips with IDM and complete your document management project quickly, without the headaches. Speak to us today, email M3@anthesis.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)1260 296530.