AMF Bakery Systems is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-speed bakery equipment. They provide complete automated bakery solutions, including dough mixing, dividing, make-up, proofing, baking, cooling, packaging, basket/case loading, and product distribution. Customers around the world rely upon AMF’s expertise in the high-speed bread, bun, and soft roll baking market. Their solutions represent industry-leading quality, innovation, and value.
Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, USA, AMF has developed a worldwide presence with offices and manufacturing facilities in the US, Canada, Central/South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand. Through this global infrastructure of equipment supply, engineering expertise, and parts and service support, AMF develops and maintains automated bakery plants at a level that is unmatched in the market.
When AMF went to look for a new business application platform to replace the various and disparate legacy systems (including AS400), they knew they wanted a solution that reflected their corporate emphasis on quality, innovation, and value to leverage the efficiencies that can be created with a modern business application. Sikich and AMF worked closely together during the assessment of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations to ensure that the solution would meet both current and future business needs.
During this time, AMF was able to speak and visit with Sikich clients that had faced similar business challenges to learn first-hand the value that the Sikich team provides to Industrial Equipment manufacturers. AMF sought a solution that addressed the breadth of their business, from quote to sale, from engineering to manufacture, and delivery to service. With Dynamics 365, AMF saw what they needed to feel assured that the Dynamics suite could be expertly configured by industry experts to meet both the tactical and the strategic needs of the business.
The traditional ERP processes that support standard Discrete manufacturing just don’t cut it for Equipment manufacturers like AMF who create large, complex, and valuable engineer-to-order equipment with very long service lives. AMF wanted a system that would provide them full visibility (vertically and horizontally) through the entire lifecycle of their products. “Our goal, once all locations are live is a system that can help us analyze our product and portfolio profitability, from the pre-sales design stage all the way through its service life, basically from cradle to grave,” noted AMF CIO, Vish Ponraj. “The Sikich team has the background to understand what we need out of our investment. They have been able to deliver a solution set, based on Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations at its core, tailored for companies just like us.”
Streamlining operations was also critical to AMF in building justification for the project. An essential component to achieving this goal was to strengthen the workflows between their engineering and manufacturing teams, particularly around revision management. Changes in the engineering designs had to be handled manually, which created a risk that design changes would not push through to the shop floor.
“A seamless handoff backwards and forwards between engineering and manufacturing will immediately reduce the risk of errors and help us improve our customer relationships by enabling us to better meet their expectations of to-spec, on-time delivery.” Ponraj said. The Sikich solution set, which included a new PLM solution, will provide a seamless integration from CAD to the shop floor that AMF is looking for.
Continuing at that optimal level of operational connectivity, AMF’s new solution now tracks the manufactured machine all the way through delivery to installation to ongoing field servicing. “With an integration between the Dynamics 365 ERP and the CRM based Field Service module, we will achieve our dual goals of lifecycle visibility and efficient business processes,” said Ponraj. “I cannot over emphasize the value of having a partner that knows what we need and can deliver each component into the integrated whole that we are working towards today.”
Warehouse and shop floor automation with barcoding with Dynamics 365 was another goal of the project. AMF moved from having an isolated installation to scanning automation across the board. “The benefits are instantly identifiable,” Ponraj said. “We are simply more efficient, and our transaction processes less prone to error.”
Lastly, Sikich constructed the Dynamics solution to better reflect AMF’s “project” style of business. They brought together the features of the project work breakdown structure and project resource management and integrated them with the classic functions of discrete production like MRP planning, Bills of Materials, and Routes. “We can now run MRP by project,” Ponraj explained, “which is a great example of how our system now mirrors how we manage and plan our business on a day-to-day basis.”
As an end-to-end connected manufacturer, the use of an integrated business solution has enabled AMF to achieve operational efficiencies that they did not have prior to the implementation of Dynamics 365. “We were able to achieve tangible costs savings by reducing our investment in on-premises hardware, maintenance and support costs of the old, disparate software apps. All those integrations and inefficiencies were replaced by the Dynamics 365 Solutions,” said Bruno Arnassan, AMF’s CFO.
The process of digital transformation is now in full flight at AMF. They are better positioned to engage their customers, because all their customer data is in one place. They are now able to present that single face to the customer, which is so essential for the modern equipment manufacturer. “Our employees are now empowered with a modern set of tools, which not only helps them to do their jobs better, but also can adapt with them as their needs change,” Ponraj explained. In addition, operational processes have been fine tuned and are far more aligned to how the business operates.
Having implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365, the team at AMF knows they are well positioned to meet tomorrow’s challenges. “We see the value Dynamics 365 will provide to the current and ongoing success of our business. Microsoft and Sikich will continue to play key roles as we invest in the future of AMF,” Arnassan said.