Bang & Bonsomer is a family-owned company that was founded in 1927. It is involved in the sourcing, importation and marketing of industrial chemicals, raw materials and machinery. Bang & Bonsomer has a strong market position in Finland and has successfully expanded into the Baltic States as well as Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The company has its own local sales offices and warehouses in each of these countries, as well as representative offices in China and India.
Employing some 280 people, Bang & Bonsomer’s strategic business units include Construction & Ceramics, Packaging, Paint & Coatings, Industrial Chemicals, Personal & Home Care, Plastics, Life Sciences, and Tyres & Rubber.
New competitiveness from a new strategy
Managing an efficient supply chain and high quality have become important factors for success in Bang & Bonsomer’s business activity. “Our aim is to be a dynamic, flexible and reliable long-term partner for our customers and suppliers. This requires us to constantly update and improve our business practices,” said Kirsi-Maija Vuorenpää, VP and CFO, Finance & Administration.
In 2005 the Group initiated a comprehensive strategic project called “Desire for Partnership” to streamline its vision for future business activities. To implement and strengthen the main aims of that project, the Group also launched a systems project. “This was a very wide-ranging project. It involved 40 people from different parts of the organisation. The objective was to look at matters from a business point of view and then to define processes and find the right IT solutions to realize our business objectives,” Ms Vuorenpää explained.
The ERP solution from IBS was the best package
Bang & Bonsomer explored all the various options for a new IT solution. “Our fundamental criteria included a flexible SOA architecture and the scope for future expansion. We went through all our IT needs and carried out a thorough evaluation of ERP systems in the market. Even though we’ve been a long term user of IBS software, we wanted to make sure we got the best solution for our needs,” said Turkka Eterma, Head of IT, of the selection process.
After the tough selection round, Bang & Bonsomer decided to go with the new IBS Enterprise 6.0 as its ERP system. “IBS had a lot of things going for it. Important things for us were smooth, long-term customer cooperation, as well as the high level of knowledge that IBS key people have. Other factors included IBS knowledge of the chemicals industry, additional modules available for the system and the fact that our users were already familiar with the IBS system,” acknowledged Inga Evans, VP, Supply Chain Management. She continued, “We’ve also worked with other companies in the same area which use the same product management system. We believe that by integrating our resources we can improve production and achieve significant savings in production costs.”
Concrete benefits for business
Since rolling out its new ERP system, Bang & Bonsomer has already seen real benefits. “We’re using a centralized product registry and a centralized customer and supplier registry. Just these new master data management elements alone have created new internal efficiencies for us, which our customers experience as faster service and improved supply capabilities. Our aim is to increase our sales effectiveness and predictability with these more efficient IT tools. The graphical user interface is also good. It has reduced learning and startup times and has made it possible to integrate with Microsoft Office software. But the option to use the text-based interface has also been viewed favourably,” agreed Mr Eterma of the IT Department and Ms Evans of the Logistics Division.
The Group has also seen improved control of its operations and processes, and manual work has decreased significantly. The new system has also brought savings in overhead costs. Forecasting is the next item to be implemented. “This will give the Group’s management more precise information for their decision-making. We also expect to start using e-commerce solutions in the future,” Ms Vuorenpää predicted.
Active partnership creates lasting added value
The long-term cooperation between Bang & Bonsomer and IBS has enabled them to develop innovative solutions together. “As part of our earlier development, we worked with companies in the Russian market and IBS to create a localized version of the ERP software for the Russian market. Now it’s up and running and we no longer have to duplicate our work. We did our REACH IT development project in cooperation with IBS product development team. This kind of flexible, innovative work has definitely added value which is largely due to the IBS input,” noted Ms Vuorenpää.