Maintenence partners creates insight and maintains overview with IFS applications™
Maintenance Partners, headquartered in Belgium, offers advanced engineered services that go beyond maintenance through its four business units: Turbo Machinery, Rotating, Business Development and Wind. The company optimizes machinery operation within the entire production chain. Maintenance Partners also provides advice to customers, for example, if it determines that a particular machine can function better or more economically, and extends the life of the machines through optimized maintenance.
As a specialist in maintenance and repair of rotating machines (electric motors, pumps, gearboxes, industrial fans and blowers) and turbo machinery (centrifugal compressors, reciprocating compressors, generators and steam turbines) Maintenance Partners cannot survive without accurate information. Since 2012, the company has been using IFS Applications at its three sites in Belgium and locations in France and Abu Dhabi.
Maintenance Partners was originally part of Swedish ABB. In 2001 it became an independent company for the first time. In 2009, it was sold to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries until resuming its independence in 2015 through a management buy-out. IFS Applications had already been in use for several years. The first implementation of the business software suite was characterized by relatively many customizations. “That did not make it easy to gain insight and overview,” says Luc Nevejans, board member of Maintenance Partners and responsible for IT at the company. “The large amount of customization also led to a growing number of issues within the ERP environment. It was clear that we had to take a different approach.”
Back to basics
Nevejans, who had gained a lot of experience with ERP implementations in previous positions, opted for a rigorous step: back to basics with the standard version of IFS Applications as the starting point. “In a period of two years, we have removed as many customizations from the environment as possible and the service management module is once again the most important element of maintenance activities. We are now much more work-order driven. In addition to the service management module, we have done a lot of work on the financials module, which we use to generate comprehensive financial analyses to monitor our operations from all possible angles.”
Migration to IFS applications 9
In 2016, Maintenance Partners switched from IFS Applications 7.5 to IFS Applications 9, which was the perfect opportunity for Nevejans to implement the standard version of the software. “We noted that the standard version of IFS Applications 9 offers ample opportunities to support all our activities well. Customization is definitely unnecessary. With only minor adjustments to our way of working, we can continue perfectly well with the standard functionality. With IFS Applications 9 we have been able to make a new start. Moreover, we were able to take advantage of the new possibilities the version offered us. This is why we started using the project module again. We had used it earlier but it didn’t suit our operations very well after a time. When we expanded our activities in the turbo machines unit, it became interesting to implement and use this module again.”
The payroll module has also started to play an important role at Maintenance Partners. To keep track of employee hours, the company uses a scanning application. Employees scan their work orders, after which the hours worked are transferred to IFS Applications via an older standalone application. The aim is to phase out this old application and transfer the hours directly to IFS Applications, so that no separate interface is needed.
Digitalize document flow
Furthermore, thanks to the e-invoice functionality in IFS Applications 9, Maintenance Partners can send digital to customers. Likewise, supplier invoices are also digital. They are processed using Abbyy software and uploaded directly into IFS Applications. Incoming invoices going missing within the company are now a thing of the past.
Another important IFS Applications module for Maintenance Partners is human resource management. Nevejans explains that recruitment and selection are a major challenge for the company. “We are in a region where many companies are looking for the same technical profiles. That means that your HR processes need to be in good shape. We have a lot of vacancies and keep an eye on the recruitment process via the HR module.”
The upgrade in 2016 was also a good time to completely revise and improve security within IFS Applications. User roles were not well defined, so access to the application was broader than necessary. “We started redefining and accurately recording all roles and associated access rights,” says Nevejans. “The organization had to get used to that, because previously the rules were not very strict. But clear access rights are important for secure use of the application.”
To prepare IFS Applications for GDPR legislation, a new upgrade was carried out in the spring of 2018. Nevejans says, “That was done very quickly, because we have IFS Applications as standard throughout the company. It is somewhat of a constraint, but it offers so much flexibility that it doesn’t feel like a straitjacket. You can easily decide how you want to set up a process.”
Nevejans underlines that IFS Applications has brought Maintenance Partners several important benefits. “From a financials perspective we know how things stand at any given time in the various units and branches. Insight in this area has become much better recently. Furthermore, having a standard solution means we can do a lot with a very small IT department. We hardly have any issues with the solution and if they arise, the advantage with IFS Applications is that you can easily look at the code yourself. We solve relatively simple issues ourselves and can quickly move on. All in all, IFS offers us an integrated environment with which we can perfectly support our core processes.”
- Strongly improved insight into processes and performance
- One uniform, integrated standard environment for all locations
- Standard environment that is easy to manage and optimally supports all core processes