Istikamet Casting AŞ, one of the locomotive companies of its sector, has been managing its business processes with caniasERP since 2016. As a company, we talked to Istikamet Casting Information Systems Manager Nurullah Bardakçı, who said that they found the solutions that meet the criteria and needs they set in the caniasERP standard software. Bardakçı, who made a number of recommendations to companies in the process of digitization, said: “ERP is the first and most important step in digitalization. Firms should consider this process as a marathon run. ERP is a long-term project that should be worked with determination and without compromise. Thanks to this system, companies find the opportunity to rise to a higher league against their competitors. However, it will not be a surprise if the system and the digitization train are missed, shrinking or even disappearing! It is necessary to fulfill the requirements of the age we live in. ”
Can you tell us about your company?
The foundations of our company were laid in 1966 in Konya Karatay by Hasan Hüseyin Öksüz. As a destination, we produce pig iron, ductile iron and steel casting for sectors such as mining, metallurgy, machinery, agriculture, chemistry, automotive and construction. Our product range includes products such as chimney cover, rainwater grill, strainer, clamp, bench seating group, curb barrier, wrought iron, cable protector especially used in the construction industry. We play a locomotive role in our sector by always designing and producing innovative, high quality and high performance products with the R&D team at our Kayabaşı and Bozüyük facilities. As a destination, we have expanded our export network with our center established in the Netherlands in 2006. We are now a company serving 32 countries on four continents. As one of the leading companies in our industry, we registered our success by being in the top 10 in the list of exporters of Istanbul Metal and Mineral Exporters Association (İMMİB). Our company also maintains the 'quality first' principle with its laboratory system that constantly controls every stage of production and ISO 9001: 2008, ISO 14001: 2004, OHSAS 18001: 2007, BSI, TSE, TSEK, SASO certificates.
How was the need to use ERP software occured? How did you meet caniasERP?
We were conducting our business processes with local software solutions on the basis of departments, we could not provide integration. Due to the integration problem for the organization, we were experiencing difficulties in monitoring and managing business processes, reporting inadequacies and inconsistencies. For this reason, we searched for ERP software and during our research on the internet, we met with caniasERP and started our conversations.
What kind of preparations were made through the transition to ERP system?
First of all, we created an ERP project team with our department managers. With our project team, we have determined our needs and criteria both on a general and departmental basis. In this process, we researched ERP software solutions in our environment and on the internet, examined and evaluated demos of ERP solutions. In this process, we also interviewed companies that have experienced ERP on their process. The internet is a very comprehensive library: We have expanded our perspective on the subject by making use of the articles shared on the internet, as well as our meetings with ERP software companies and professionals.
So what were your criteria? What was your reason for choosing IAS?
The criteria we have determined together with our ERP project team; being domestic software, providing consultancy service within its own body, being active in the sector independent and different production-based active customers, multi-language support and overseas customer mass, solving all our processes with a single application, compatibility and updating of accounting and human resources regulations, flexible reporting, I can summarize all modules as local and remote access, simple and user-friendly interface that will not exhaust users, parametric infrastructure and simple adaptation of our special needs, the opinions of references, short, medium and long term cost. For us, the cost of software was not the first but the last criterion. We did not consider ERP software as just a purchasing process. First of all, after determining the most suitable software for our needs, we made a cost comparison. The reason we decided to contract with IAS was that they offered caniasERP as a solution that could meet all of these criteria. In addition, Burak Bayrakdar and IAS sales team, who made our demo presentation at that time, were extremely effective for us, in a practical way.
Can you give information about the project's transition to live?
After signing a contract with IAS for the period of November 2015, we started our analysis studies. Since we do not have any existing integrated software systems, we decided to implement the progressive live application method on the basis of modules. In this process, both our consultants and friends in our project team have worked hard. In a short period of two months, as of 2016, we started live implementation by installing and testing our human resources, sales and purchasing modules. We took the accounting modules live practice 6 months later, as of July 2016. At that time, our factory in Istanbul was moved to Bilecik / Bozüyük. Therefore, we decided to put the production and cost modules into practice after moving. After the move was completed in April 2017, we started the analysis and installation work on the production modules. In January 2018, we managed to put production, warehouse and cost modules live.
Which applications are currently being used over caniasERP? Have you made special improvements over standard software?
Currently, we use caniasERP in all our processes that I can collect under the main headings such as sales, purchasing, accounting, human resources, production, warehouse, cost, maintenance and business process management. In addition, we also produced report solutions with applications specific to our needs. Currently, the analysis and implementation processes of both existing modules and special solutions continue according to our needs. However, I would like to point out that the standard software of caniasERP is very comprehensive, it is possible to adapt it to existing business processes thanks to its sector independent and parametric structure. I can say that it is highly suitable to manage the business process of companies that produce and have similar business processes with us. Of course, the business processes of each company may differ from each other. At that point, thanks to the flexible structure of caniasERP, editing can be done easily. We paid utmost attention to using the standard software, but we made improvements to our special needs that cannot be met with the standard. For example, report output formats should be company specific. We made revisions in this regard. Firms need to be determined very well their own needs and criteria. This is a process that should not be brought to an end. The most experienced people in the relevant departments should definitely include them in the project.
What would you like to say about IAS's consultancy services and project teams?
All the friends working on the consultancy team, I think, I can say the backbone of IAS. They worked like embroidery on every stage of the process after the sale took place. Each of them is an expert and devoted. Our Project Manager, Mustafa Akgün, has worked hard on our project, day and night, since the first day we met in November 2015. I can say that the biggest share in successfully implementing our project live and ensuring its sustainability belongs to Mr. Mustafa. Nevertheless, I would like to thank Ahmet Özdemir, Erdal Yaman, Orhan Kara, İlker İşçi, Tolga Kölemen and Alican Akaslan who have never withheld their support.
What kind of changes have occurred in your company structure since the transition to the ERP system?
ERP projects also lead a corporate transformation and change for companies. Every change and transformation is of course painful, and we have experienced pains from time to time. The progress of the process is not possible without the support of the management! We also tried to minimize resistances by ensuring that the project team and users are part of the project. Together with the ERP project, we carried out a silent revolution in our company. In summary, to mention a few benefits; In many business processes, we have changed our current business methods in the right direction. Thanks to the integration, we prevented inter departmental work flow problems. We prevented the same data from being recorded in different ways in more than one place. As stable data began to occur, we enabled flexible, fast and accurate reports. Finally, we managed to create a product-based cost.
What are your future plans and goals for the project?
In its current form, our active use continues in most of our business processes. We have a constantly growing and developing structure. Therefore, new needs are constantly coming up. We continue to work towards these needs. In the future, we aim to carry out studies on Barcode System and IoT solutions with Material Requirements Planning (MRP), Capacity Management (CAP) modules.
What kind of contributions do you think ERP makes in the growth and branding process? What are the effects of digitalization in the institutionalization process?
The 21st century is called the digital age. Investing in digitalization is a must now to compete in this age. I am pleased to see that there has been an intensive awareness raising on digitalization and institutionalization, especially in the past few years. According to the impression that I got in my interviews I realized in such events; I have observed that this awareness is partially established. Some companies still think that they will manage their processes with old methods and that digital investment is viewed as unnecessary. To me, this perspective prevents companies from growing and branding. If the digitization train is missed, it will not be a surprise to shrink and even disappear. As a result, the transition to Industry 4.0 and the internet is a must. For this it is necessary to take steps toward digitalization. The first and biggest step of digitalization is ERP solutions that will enable the company to be collected and managed under one roof from start to finish.
What advice would you like to give companies on the use of ERP in your industry?
If I have to state this issue in a very broad but brief summary; top management is always the boss of the project. The project ends when it gets the management support. They shouldn't forget that. The process should not be started without a manager to manage the ERP project in the company. The processes of each company are not the same, they can vary in ways. Even in the same sector many processes of companies that produce the same products differ. No ERP solution is plug and play. No matter how perfect the ERP software is and how much the consultants are experts in their field, it is impossible for them to know the processes of the company. With this knowledge; each company should create its own processes, needs and criteria under the leadership of the project manager, with the approval of its experienced team and senior management. ERP software purchase is definitely a serious decision and not a simple purchase process. Price should never be the first and only criteria.
What should companies pay attention to when choosing an ERP system?
The choice of software firm should not be made with a single option. I recommend looking at 3 to 5 companies, and even as many as 8 to 10 companies. ERP software company officials should definitely be asked for a presentation and the team should participate actively in the presentations and make evaluations. At least two to three references of ERP software should be discussed one-to-one before the final decision. In particular, I recommend getting opinions from random references on the internet. Every ERP solution can have pros and cons. Therefore, a solution that will meet the complete criteria by 100 percent may not be found. At this point, by choosing the criteria, it is possible to choose among the software packages with the highest performance. From the very beginning of the project to the end the senior management, project manager and team should work in continuous cooperation. Conflicts are inevitable in ERP projects. For this reason, the project manager should be able to resolve hidden these in a timely manner. ERP software is designed to meet business processe in its standard form. Standard applications in ERPs are applications used and tested by everyone. I think solutions to be made for companies are demanding in terms of both time and material. Therefore, the accuracy of business processes should be analyzed comprehensively, and the process should be matched with standard modules. Special development requests should be decided as a result of extensive and good analysis, especially the requirement, frequency and duration of need. ERP projects are long running projects similar to a marathon . Therefore, it is important not to compromise team spirit and determination at every stage. Finally; ERP system companies offer the opportunity to rise to a higher level against their competitors.
Would you recommend caniasERP to the other companies?
As I said before, the processes of each company are different. Decision should be made after evaluations made by determining appropriate process analysis, needs and criteria. If one of the software that reaches the finals for companies performing these analyzes is caniasERP, I definitely recommend it.