Cimcorp Group is a manufacturer and integrator of intralogistics automation whose intelligent solutions have brought peace of mind to warehouses and distribution centers for half a century. Cimcorp serves as a lifelong partner for its clients, offering a full scope of automation solutions together with services that make businesses more profitable.
In this blog, Pekka Nurmi, Cimcorp’s Director of Corporate IT, considers how out-of-the-box functionality and partnerships drive innovation.
Cimcorp relies on a global IT system spanning six countries and three continents. Through technology and back-end systems, our goal for employees is to deliver the same, consistent environment wherever in the world they plan to work. This, familiarity extracts the time and risk associated with adaptation and ensures we provide the best possible service immediately to our customers.
Aiming for global consistency is important. Any IT infrastructure relying on multiple systems creates complexity, which can translate into costly and strategically dangerous delays by constraining the ability to make business change. Similarly, we value simplification – both in the systems that we use and in management. We want to be focusing on what matters most, to ensure we deliver value to our customers.
The idea of consolidating to fewer systems and outsourcing areas where we can leverage external expertise is liberating. For internal IT teams the job shifts to the management of IT, planning, and strategy versus the day-to-day management of systems. Questions like ‘where do we need to be in six months?’ or ‘where do we need to be in a year?’ then intimately involve IT partners who can help deliver the desired strategic outcomes.
In Cimcorp’s case, we know we can’t invent everything in-house. We rely on partners like IFS, and solutions like IFS Cloud, to provide key industry insights and best practice, and share our vision for the business.
Keeping up with pace of innovation
I know some companies struggle with the concept of relinquishing control. But by attempting to control everything, it simply becomes harder to manage. As digital, AI, IoT and machine learning mature, it means more sophistication, more capabilities, and ultimately more opportunities.
The pace of innovation is now so rapid that it’s almost impossible to keep up if you’re trying to become a master of everything. Common sense says that if external expertise in specialist areas is available and can deliver competitive strategic advantage faster and more cost-effectively, then transition has to be the way to go. The affirmation that we’re on the right path comes when we can do something in two weeks with our partner that would have taken six months ourselves.
Compared to a decade ago, IT teams today have shifted from focusing on the criticality of internal execution to the criticality of delivering against the strategy. They are a key enabler in helping organizations to be innovative and competitive. For Cimcorp, this means leveraging our IT and assets so we can work smarter, not harder.
What’s key is trying not to over-complicate the processes and functions. If we look at software in general, they already have wide-ranging, powerful, built-in and fully tested processes. But historically, organizations have tended to believe their own business processes are unique and need special customized software. In reality, most are not.
‘Standard’ can work better
In my experience, customization can be seen as a badge of honor: “Our business is far too important for an out-of-the-box solution.” However, solutions like IFS Cloud have evolved and developed based on the experience and business practices of thousands of customers across core industry sectors. While businesses have been maturing and transforming, so too have technology providers. It’s hardly surprising that accepting the latest ‘standard’ solution might actually be really smart.
I’ve had a chance to look at ERP systems that were implemented two or three years ago by customers who have asked how I felt their system was doing. Typically, 60 to 80 percent of modifications they originally paid their ERP provider for are removed, because the standard ERP system was right in the first place.
Mastering complexity alone is not sustainable. And that’s why we have partnered with IFS to work smarter not harder. IFS talks about enabling the ‘moment of service’ for its customers, and that’s precisely what we want to obtain from our technology.
Moving from IFS Applications, deployed in 2016, and transitioning to the new IFS Cloud, I’ve been getting people to accept the baseline that IFS Cloud simply works ‘as is’ for the business process we need. We’ve been looking at what the platform enables and trying to channel our energy towards providing value to the customer using that. In accepting IFS Cloud as an evergreen platform, we did our homework, and are confident it will help us innovate further.
The first feedback we are getting is that the Aurena interface is huge improvement. People love the ability to access applications and data with a tablet or smartphone.
Delivering service outcomes
Companies like us are choosing IFS to move away from IT transactional relationships and shift towards delivering outcomes. We cannot invent everything in-house. We must be willing to trust the partners we select and the people we do business with.
Another potential complexity an effective partnership can resolve is the criticality of data, and data as a resource. Leveraging real time data, both internally and externally, is essential for Cimcorp to deliver its moment of service for customers. For instance, we constantly ensure staff across our global operations understand the importance of why they are entering data, and how any failure could impact both their own and other departmental operations.
With IFS Cloud, we can focus our energy and efforts on how we can best leverage the data for ourselves and our customers in the future. We can focus on strategy, not managing a bunch of configurations on a bunch of different systems that aren’t bringing value to the future of the business.
Looking ahead a decade to 2031, I see IT strategy across businesses becoming more aligned, with more partnerships with IT suppliers encouraging innovation, new platforms and new ways of working. Given the impending proliferation of IOT data, we will likely see deeper level IT partnerships evolving with our customers. I have no doubt that IFS Cloud will help us on that journey too.
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