Thinkwise accelerates Niverplast’s digital transformation

Replacement of the outdated ERP system improves efficiency and insight

Thinkwise has developed new ERP software for Niverplast,the packaging specialist. The first implemented version is already producing major benefits. Among other things more efficient digital invoicing, limiting business risks, more insight into the logistics chain and time savings through automation.

Niverplast designs, develops and constructs packaging machines and entire production lines that are deployed worldwide, for example, in the food industry. The company satisfies customer requirements with economic and unique packaging lines. Niverplast’s excellent reputation has led to a demand for turn-key projects that must be completed on time, within budget and with good service. To be able to continue to do this in the future Niverplast has had to completely overhaul its ERP system. Marleen Haarman is responsible for leading the major change management project. The old custom-built ERP system that Niverplast was using had become a major problem according to Marleen: “The old ERP system, which we used for our commercial and financial business processes, was a DOS application from the 1980s. This system was so outdated that it was no longer supported and it was becoming an ever-increasing business risk.”

Software that does not become obsolete

Niverplast first considered packages from the major ERP suppliers such as SAP, Exact and Microsoft Dynamics, but ultimately opted to have business software, which meets their requirements, developed by the specialists at Thinkwise. This was a joint group decision, because Niverplast is a holacracy in which everybody has their say. “Thinkwise not only gave a demo, a so-called Test Drive,” says Marleen, “I also attended a Thinkwise Technical Session with a colleague. This removed any lingering doubts about the promises Thinkwise made about its software, which will never become obsolete, neither technically nor functionally.”

Flexibility and progressive insight

According to Marleen, the cooperation with Thinkwise ran smoothly from the start: “We had already written down most of our requirements ourselves. So the analysis didn’t take long and Thinkwise could quickly start modeling our processes.”

After each sprint, Thinkwise delivered a new working version of a part of the ERP system. This gave Niverplast a good idea about the progress and what the final result was going to look like. Furthermore, it enabled us to make modifications and add additional features at an early stage.

Marleen: “We are very satisfied about how this project has gone. Thinkwise is extremely flexible which suits us. We need flexibility because we tend to be rather changeable. The low-code software development platform deals with this in a controlled and well-managed manner, so that progressive insight and new ideas can be easily and gradually introduced. But this also concerns organizational matters. For example, if, during a meeting of the steering committee, we suddenly also want the software developer to attend, then Thinkwise quickly arranges this.”

Connections and result

The new business software has been given the name Amber 2. This has been in operation now for two months and is already providing all kinds of time savings. “This covers completely normal activities,” states Marleen. “For instance, we previously still sent invoices manually by post and these are now processed automatically and sent digitally by e-mail. In addition, the system is integrated with the Exact accounting software. Another great example is that we can record more information with the orders. We now know exactly what goes in and what goes out and what is still in stock. We have a perfect overview.”

The implementation of the first phase of the ERP system is a major success and has had a positive impact on the commercial and financial business processes.

Gradual re-engineering

Niverplast wants to gradually re-engineer and innovate the business processes. The second phase of building the new ERP system will start soon and Niverplast has once again commissioned Thinkwise to develop it. This time it concerns project registration and logistic processes for the machine building activities. Marleen: “Among other things, we want to know which components have been ordered for the machines, whether they have arrived and where we have stored them.” Marleen continues: “We will continue gradually in a business-case driven manner, adding new features each time. Thinkwise will again develop all new functionality during phase 2. However, in the future we want to be able to easily apply smaller modifications, such as adding a column, ourselves. I will therefore be attending a course with two colleagues at Thinkwise in Apeldoorn.”

The future: full steam ahead

Phases three and four will follow in a year from now. During the third phase we want to see an end to paper work orders and the service technicians will have software available to take care of their administrative tasks. “The last phase concerns the Niverplast intranet where we will be able to share internal matters, such as birthdays.”

Marleen concludes: “Altogether, within a few years the entire ERP system will be completely modernized with the help of Thinkwise, so that we will no longer have to worry about our business processes and can progress full steam ahead.”