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Catch the Wave – Sitka Surfboards Is Riding it with Microsoft Dynamics NAV

15 months ago Andrew Paine, who holds the title of El Presidente for Sitka Surfboards  in Victoria, BC, approached Catapult with a request: “Can you help me set up  a system that streamlines my operation,  enables access to real time data across the entire supply chain, and extends the footprint of the back end ERP system? And by the way – we need it 5 months from now.”

Ignoring all the yellow flags around the request, Catapult said “absolutely, we can help” –  and we started the journey together. Everyone that works in the ERP industry is aware of the fact that the largest challenge is to aim high and not just replicate the old system. At the same time, it is also important to be aware of what can be done within a realistic timeframe and a limited budget. Well, we broke that rule with regards to realistic dates.

We started the process; all hands on deck – defined the requirements for a very complicated total solution because this was not just Dynamics NAV, but a whole lot more: integration to cloud based POS and an e-commerce platform and a closed loop integration to the 2 major distribution centres.

So after we broke the first rule (and survived), we continued down that path after go live – and broke the second rule: Learn to walk before you run…

And what do I mean by that? Common sense tells you to live with the system-defined process first and then automate or streamline further down the line. We skipped the stabilization period completely and went immediately after process improvements together with Sitka. For example, how can you  achieve high volume data entry without the rigor of a standard ERP screen? You build a front end tool, while still respecting the business rules and logic of the core system.

The moral of the story is NOT just to ignore the best practices of an ERP implementation; there is a reason why they are the best practices. If I had the chance to do it over again, I would prefer to play it more safe. But sometimes you have to let the following convince you that this project can be done:

  • a very clear vision for the system
  • a great partnership between client and consulting company, and
  • a firm commitment to drive operational efficiencies through the new system

Where does that leave Sitka Surfboards today? With a completely integrated supply chain system, built to embrace integration, scalability and visibility – so next time Andrew comes up with a similar question; we will nod our heads and dive right into it. There is nothing more fulfilling as a consultant to be a transformer,  helping our clients take a major leap forward.

Sitka Surfboards will be featured in the Convergence keynote (largest Dynamics conference), the implementation was finalist for ERP solution of the year, so even if it was at times risky, it was worth it, we managed all the risks  and together we built a fantastic solution and foundation for the future.

Watch the video below to learn more on how Microsoft Dynamics NAV is helping Sitka Surfboards and companies like it achieve their goals!

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