Epicor ERP helps heavy duty equipment manufacturer, ZPMC, pave the way for European growth
- Location: The Netherlands
- Industry: Manufacturing - port machinery, construction and shipbuilding
- Website: www.zpmc-netherlands.com
ZPMC is the world’s largest heavy duty equipment manufacturer and the undefeated market leader in the manufacturing of port equipment. Headquartered in Shanghai, China, ZPMC’s expansion into Europe is conducted from its office in Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port. ZPMC has a fleet of 26 large ships for transporting heavy equipment across the globe. It also dominates the ship-to-shore and yard gantry container crane market with an astonishing market share of over 70%, running the ship loading/unloading quay cranes at major ports such as the OBA Bulk Terminal, Amsterdam and the Rotterdam World Gateway. The company designs and supplies many kinds of marine engineering ships from floating cranes to off-shore drilling platforms and was instrumental in the construction of the New Oakland Bay Bridge, San Francisco.
Daisy Tomasouw began working at ZPMC Rotterdam as offshore and supply chain director in 2012. With multiple projects running at any one time, she quickly realised it was important to bring efficiency and speed to the company’s European processes. Daisy knew that an intuitive enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution would help manage projects and align data, paving the way for further growth.
Daisy explains, "The Rotterdam office is the power-house for our European growth. From here we manage projects in France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. We needed an ERP solution that would be up to the task of integrating our data and systems for the whole region."
A complex process
Due to the industrial nature of ZPMC’s business, every tender that the company submits needs to consider quality and compliance requirements, contract duration, payment terms and legal implications. In addition, it was important to have an accurate inventory system so that heavy-duty components could be located, built or shipped, on time and on budget. However, ZPMC’s existing inventory and tender data process was slowing projects down. Specification lists with vital details about parts, as well as information about ZPMC products and clients, were stored in a variety of Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheets. These spreadsheets were manually updated and circulated by the ZPMC team but there was no central, integrated source of data.
Daisy says, "Our spreadsheets served a purpose, but they were hard work to update and none of the documents were merged or controlled. If we needed to find the components for a floating crane, we might have to find details from several sources. Once we had located the components, we would need to calculate costs for shipping and installation based on the project’s specifications, which were stored separately from the warehouse inventory details. This obviously took time, and if we were to continue expanding, we knew we needed something new."
A blueprint for the future
Daisy and the ZPMC team in Rotterdam researched the market for an ERP solution that could help. If it was successful, the Rotterdam solution could then become a blueprint for integrating ZPMC’s systems on a global scale.
Daisy says, "When studying the market, Epicor stood out from the crowd. It not only had excellent reviews for inventory management and distribution, it also had the capacity to centralise our data. This would open up the opportunity for us to make better-informed business decisions and streamline our tender submission process."
ZPMC turned to Macroscoop, the Dutch Epicor partner, to find out more. Shortly afterwards, when the Macroscoop team gave a product demonstration, it became clear that Epicor ERP would be an ideal fit for ZPMC’s operations.
"When we were shown the demonstration, it was obvious that Epicor ERP had the capability and in-built analytics necessary to effectively manage our data and streamline our operations in Rotterdam. It was an easy decision to make and with Macroscoop on hand to guide us through the implementation process, we were soon able to start benefiting."
ZPMC started by implementing the software at its warehouse and components distribution department. This part of ZPMC’s businesses is responsible for its installation projects, as well as its after-sales maintenance services. Implementing the Epicor ERP solution in this department forced ZPMC to define its components and parts more precisely, helping the business to work more efficiently straight away.
Using Epicor modules for materials management, sales and CRM management, product management and financial management, the ZPMC team in Rotterdam can now check inventory at the click of a button and calculate accurate information for major projects. So, when ZPMC is submitting a tender for a new 60- quay crane at one of Europe’s major ports, they can factor the availability—or manufacture—of key components into their calculations.
ZPMC now uses the executive dashboards in Epicor ERP to analyse spend, monitor any equipment failures and keep track of product specifications such as warranties.
"The executive dashboards have given us fast access to accurate data, dramatically improving our efficiency and profitability," explains Daisy. "On the whole, ZPMC in Rotterdam now enjoys greater insight: we have a bird’s-eye view of our entire operations, which allows us to react strategically to market changes."
From blueprint to international growth
Implementing the Epicor solution has allowed ZPMC to benefit from organized and streamlined processes. For the first time, the company has effective communication between different departments, helping the warehouse team to manage its inventory and the tender submissions team to access parts and client data in real-time.
"When studying the market, Epicor stood out from the crowd. It not only had excellent reviews for inventory management and distribution, it also had the capacity to centralise our data. This would open up the opportunity for us to make better-informed business decisions and streamline our tender submission process."
Daisy concludes, "Epicor has changed the way we do business on a day-to-day basis, providing us with insight at every level. We are certain that our successes with Epicor will help us to pave the way for further growth in Europe. We hope that in the future we will be able to expand our use of the business intelligence solution across our global operations. Using the Epicor ERP solution we have the capability to integrate our supply chain management systems so that processes are watertight from our Chinese head office all the way through to our customers."