Award-winning mattress manufacturer, Comfizone Group, owns three of Ireland’s best known bedding brands –Washingbay, Restwell, and Irish Contract Beds. The company has seen significant growth over the past four years and now operates two factories to support customer demand. However, success began to reveal some disconnects between different areas of the business – largely stemming from siloed IT systems.
An ERP system upgrade was needed, so Comfizone turned to IT services provider, Simply Dynamics, to introduce a solution that would give each team complete visibility over sales, orders, production, and logistics – and would lead to tangible improvements in customer service.
Let’s take a look at how they did it.
Comfizone had built up its operation using an adhoc IT system that lacked scalability. As this system lacked integration between departments, many working hours were lost from manual data entry. Individual teams, such as sales and production, would record data on individual Excel sheets. While Comfizone had been looking for an innovative solution to centralise data and reporting, its departments had often very different needs. Dispatch, for example, needed to report scheduled activity on a daily basis. However, because the team lacked some of the wider information needed to generate these reports, there were bottlenecks of information.
The level of training needed across each department to change the way things worked was a daunting prospect as well. The other big concern was the lack of transparency throughout the business. Each team had built up and subsequently managed their own data and while they had done this well – the system had no consistency or cohesion. Whenever there were holidays or illness, elements of risk were introduced to production, sales and dispatch that jeopardised Comfizone’s ability to support client needs.
Following a six-month delivery plan with Simply Dynamics – analysing gaps in the existing setup – initial implementation focused on the integration of sales and logistics information, and the safe
migration of financial data. One area of particular importance is Comfizone’s logistics department – which plans delivery routes based on information that comes directly from the sales team. The routes are date and time sensitive. When information is confirmed, the data is then transferred to the dispatch teams to arrange accordingly. This delivery flow now runs entirely on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and is completely automated. The routes themselves are built using Online Browser Maps and have all the relevant delivery schedules included, thanks to the ability to extract information directly from Excel.
This puts information control at the point of each user rather than centrally as before. There are also hardware components in the new system. Both production and dispatch now have ERP Clients specifically set up to provide them with the information they need in an instant – without needing to design and generate reports every time. In the future, there are plans to incorporate PDAs for inventory scanning and warehouse despatch.
Using the Microsoft platforms at their disposal, Comfizone can now even design their own tools to match a specific need. For example, the team recently put together an app in less than half a day which showed where they were overstocking particular products. By pulling in information from around the business, Comfizone was able to reduce inventory and increase warehouse capacity.
Simply Dynamics also worked closely with Comfizone to build a training culture within the business. This hasn’t just focused on the new system but also in broader aspects of staff roles. This approach will have a trickle down effect to help established staff more effectively train new
starters and each other.
Transparency and visibility are two of the most critical improvements Comfizone has seen from its new ERP system. Data is no longer isolated anywhere in the business or held in silos that can only be accessed by certain members of staff. This availability of information allows Comfizone to be agile and flexible during production – creating efficiencies across the business. For example, if they can anticipate a bottleneck in production due to something like parts delays – managers can redeploy staff to work on other projects.
Comfizone now has a system which incorporates its three separate brands’ sales, production, logistics, and distribution efforts, and is built to scale in line with its success and growth. A small family business at heart, Comfizone now has the tools in place to run its operations more smoothly and coordinate everything at the click of a button.
“Effectively, the Microsoft cloud allows us to focus on things that really add value, that solve genuine problems. Portfolio management was transformational – as was having a system of record for the first time; letting us see exactly where every project is at.”Microsoft Business Central will easily support this”
Eugene O’Neill, IT Manager, Comfizone
“Simply Dynamics made it very easy for me to sell an ERP to the wider business. They broke everything down step-by-step, and were totally ngaged with what we were trying to achieve from start to finish. They weren't selling packages, they were creating a partnership.”
Eugene O’Neill, IT Manager, Comfizone
The Microsoft Partner
One of Ireland's largest Microsoft Business Central providers – and a Microsoft Gold Certified ERP Partner – Simply Dynamics has a multinational presence. Specialising in ERP, BI, and Microsoft SQL Server, the company delivers cloud-based, on-premise, and hybrid solutions.
As Simply Dynamics focuses purely on Microsoft Dynamics ERP, and works exclusively on this platform, the team has vast experience in delivering it across different business models and functions – including logistics and supply chain, all the way through to accounting and finance.