When Hydrofarm started out on this journey they realized it would be critical to adopt the same ERP software across all their businesses to successfully streamline operations. They needed a partner that had the expertise to support a company that was going through a major organizational change and could adapt their ERP solution to the evolving business. Hydrofarm chose Catapult as a partner to implement Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2018 and took a phased approach of deployment, stabilization and ongoing support.
Hydrofarm was going through a series of M&A transactions and corresponding organizational change, which required multiple ERP systems and versions of NAV to be rationalized in a stepwise fashion into a harmonious solution.
In 2017 Hydrofarm acquired Eddi’s Wholesale Garden Supply and the distribution division of Greenstar Plant Products (GSD). Hydrofarm acquired these businesses because they’re both market leading wholesale suppliers of horticultural products in Canada. The goal of the acquisitions was to bring Hydrofarm’s portfolio to the high growth Canadian market while allowing them to further expand their growth opportunity within the US.
Implementing ERP for a Moving Target
The partnership between Hydrofarm and Catapult began after the acquisition of Greenstar’s distribution arm. After an initially frustrating experience implementing Dynamics NAV 2013 with a different Microsoft partner, Greenstar turned to Catapult for support. Catapult delivered a successful implementation and was subsequently introduced to Hydrofarm as a result.
Catapult split the Greenstar and GSD database and merged GSD’s database with Eddi’s. GSD needed to be upgraded from NAV 2013 and migrated to new server infrastructure on a short timeline. Catapult worked closely with Hydrofarm to fold both these newly acquired businesses into NAV 2018.
"The team at Catapult were integral to the transition that Hydrofarm went through. They had the level of expertise required to help an organization like Hydrofarm that was going through the process of acquiring two new companies. They took an agile approach to the project, which was imperative, all the while holding themselves accountable for delivering key results on time."
Two Become One
Following the acquisitions, Hydrofarm began the process of amalgamating their sister company Sunblaster with Eddi’s. Hydrofarm had acquired Sunblaster approximately 4 years prior; an entirely separate business entity specializing in high quality horticultural LED strip lighting. A decision was made to operate Sunblaster from the same premises as Eddi’s and they soon became part of the concurrent NAV 2018 go live and ongoing support.
"The mistake we made was that we thought NAV 2018 was going to be similar to the NAV system we had before which was far from the truth. Hydrofarm decided to push back a lot of the processes needed due to the amalgamation deadline for Eddi's and Sunblaster."
Hydrofarm had a strict timeline that Catapult had to adhere to which led to the phased approach of deployment, stabilization and ongoing support. Hydrofarm were in a rush to meet deadlines required by the Canada Revenue Agency for corporate amalgamation. If it was not achieved before the end of 2018, the project would need to be delayed by a whole year and it was scheduled for the beginning of January 2019, which placed a lot of pressure on Eddi’s and Sunblaster to get up and running with NAV 2018 in a short time period.
Due to this strict timeline, a lot of processes that Catapult typically recommends implementing before go live had to take place afterwards. The priority for Hydrofarm was getting the solution deployed and stabilized in time for the amalgamation. The necessary support would have to take place once that deadline passed.
Increasing Momentum & Performance
The continued partnership between Catapult and the Hydrofarm family resulted in significant enhancements to all their businesses processes, helping to optimize and move operations forward at a much faster pace.
Catapult helped Eddi’s streamline a kitting process for their components so they could expedite production builds back and forth between NAV and a warehouse management platform called RF Pathways. Eddi’s procure components from China and Europe and use them to make assembled final goods inventory for distribution. They were not happy with the existing manual process that was available to them in RF pathways and Dynamics NAV so decided they wanted to automate this process to avoid having to repeatedly enter data into the system. Catapult designed a program and system within their Web Services and ERP system so they could get this set up and running.
"NAV 2018 is very much the backbone of these businesses. It's what we use day-to-day and when it does not work no one gets work done. The rapid support we receive allows us to create workarounds and fix unexpected problems."
Because Eddi’s operated on the same database as Sunblaster they found that several issues were occurring between the two systems. What happened on one system would generally impact the other and cause confusion (such as Sunblaster’s customer facing materials infiltrating Eddi’s system). Catapult worked closely with Eddi’s to help fork the logic so they could exclude documents and data from Sunblaster that should not be entering their system. Catapult also supported Eddi’s with set-up issues that arose from legacy processes that were still in place on the system. In order to overcome this problem, Catapult dug into the code and fixed it so that the set-up operated correctly.
Measuring Business Metrics
Catapult provided training and support to help Eddi’s and Sunblaster optimize the way they ran their reports. Training was provided on jet reports in NAV so that the team knew how they were used and how to create them.
"It's really helped with the level of business efficiency as it's insightful to see which direction we're trending instead of looking at lots of reports. It's much easier to identify results when you have them all in one spot instead of trying to couple it altogether."
Gone are the days where Eddi’s and Sunblaster have to manually pull reports from Dynamics NAV and summarize them on Excel. They can now link tables and get everything from one accounts receivable jet report. All executive dashboards are built via jet reports which allows them to focus on problems and seek out opportunities. Whether it is customers or vendors, they can now see a snapshot of the data rather than having to go and dig for it.
Hydrofarm has seen a significant amount of success as a result of the partnership with Catapult. Not only did Catapult help Hydrofarm fold all of their acquired businesses into NAV 2018, the team also provided ongoing support to the amalgamated businesses. From streamlining a kitting process that drove overall efficiency through to training on jet reports for a more accurate reflection of data and business metrics.
Catapult continue to work closely with Hydrofarm to shape and drive the direction of their businesses. There is a system in place that ensures all parties can remain in contact to send queries and resolve issues.
"The responsiveness of the team at Catapult really stands out and the ticketing system works very well. We are updated pretty much constantly, and I can look to see if a solution is being worked on or if we can do it inhouse. It helps a huge amount in terms of being able to structure the day-to-day needs of the business. It's been extremely rewarding. Everything we have asked for we have got in a timely response."