When confronted with the challenges of managing multiple businesses, processes and systems, UTG Mixing Group decided that less was more. In 2018, after years of growth through acquisition, the company decided to shed two entire divisions and focus on mixing technology and their core product type – industrial mixers. Under the guidance of Zakaria Mönkäre, CTO, they also had the courage to shed all of their disparate systems and start from scratch to implement a completely new ERP solution based on the Salesforce Platform and Rootstock Cloud ERP.
UTG Mixing Group looks to improve the competitiveness of their customers by providing them with advanced process technology solutions worldwide. They deliver tailored mixing solutions that comply with international standards, including EN, DIN and ASME, by combining their deep theoretical expertise with their long-term practical experience.
A global company, with main offices in Finland and Germany, their industrial mixers come with wide dimension and power range. UTG Mixing Group serves multiple customer sectors, including biochemicals & pharmaceutics, chemicals & polymers, food & beverage, green energy, minerals & metals, pulp & paper, wastewater treatment and fertilizers.
Issues & Challenges:
It’s not uncommon for companies that make acquisitions over time to find themselves with multiple, disparate business systems and processes. This can lead to competing systems, double entry, paper everywhere, and difficulty reporting everything from sales orders and inventory to financials.
This is exactly what UTG Mixing Group was facing. They found that people were spending a great deal of time in silos and chasing information. They have a hybrid manufacturing environment where the end product is unique, engineer to order, but uses some standard modules. But they also utilize configure to order and manufacture to order.
According to Mönkäre, each division had its own tools and processes. Even after consolidating the company and divesting of two non-mixing technology divisions they were left with a mix of systems from paper- based to ERP, some that hadn’t been updated in more than ten years, and various CAD systems.
All of these disparate systems and processes created silos and inefficiencies. The need to copy and paste from one system to another and relying primarily on paper-based folders in production, resulted in errors and made reporting difficult. They got to the point where they just didn’t trust the data.
So, in 2018 UTG Mixing Group began a Digital Transformation project to modernize the company and their systems; to consolidate and streamline into common business processes and to implement a software solution to support them.
In 2018 UTG Mixing Group began a Digital Transformation project to modernize the company and their systems.
No more legacy systems
Under Zakaria Mönkäre’s leadership, the team embarked on a four-to- six-month evaluation process. As he began reviewing current processes and systems, it quickly became clear that they needed to, “Clean the table and start from scratch.” Fortunately he was able to convince the company executives that this was the right move. He says that being able to show them the high cost and the IT budget needed to support all of these different legacy systems helped persuade them. They agreed – no more legacy systems.
A platform approach
They decided not to focus on just new “tools” to modernize the current processes. That would just recreate the silos. Mönkäre says they wanted to look at the big picture, because the company should work like an interdependent organism.
They looked for a platform approach that would give them a solution to fit 80% of their needs, figuring they would need to customize, or create custom solutions for about 20%.
After interviewing the teams to understand what worked and what didn’t, they documented the current processes, and Mönkäre created a draft of functional and technical requirements. They evaluated four different platform options against four criteria: 1) Technical Performance, 2) Cost Performance (ROI), 3) User Interface/Experience, and 4) Quality of Service (responsiveness of vendor). Each platform was rated on each criteria on a scale of 1-3 with a maximum score of 12.
Choosing Rootstock Cloud ERP
After completing the evaluation Mönkäre took his recommendation to the executive team. Salesforce with Rootstock was the clear winner. Mönkäre said, “I don’t know if it was the chicken or the egg first, but the Salesforce platform in a way, supported the idea to choose Rootstock, and evaluating Rootstock also supported the idea to go with Salesforce.”
With Rootstock Cloud ERP and Salesforce with Lightning Flows, they had the 80% solutions that would allow them to easily configure the additional 20% for their custom needs.
Most important when you create this kind of big digital platform is the quality, because you have to live with that for 5, 10, 15, 20 years. So you need to do it right from the beginning.
– ZAKARIA MÖNKÄRE, CTO UTG MIXING GROUP
The implementation began with Salesforce CRM and the CPQ process. They wanted to take their time and do things right. Mönkäre says, “Most important when you create this kind of big digital platform is the quality, because you have to live with that for 5, 10, 15, 20 years. So you need to do it right from the beginning.”
They began implementing a third-party HCM system, but soon realized it was not truly integrated on the platform and would not meet their needs. Mönkäre had quickly come up to speed on Salesforce tools and built a custom HR solution that is fully integrated. It gives them exactly the functionality they need, while providing better data visibility.
Then began their implementation of Rootstock Cloud ERP and Rootstock Financials. Using Salesforce Lightning Flows, Mönkäre worked with the Rootstock team to build a series of flows and sub- flows that automate processes from sales to financials, giving UTG Mixing Group an end-to-end platform from sales to delivery.
Of course the introduction of new systems and processes can be a challenge for end-users, especially many who are coming from a paper-based environment. There was the typical push-back of “too busy to change” and “that’s not how we used to do it”. Weekly meetings and planned workshops were organized to assist with change management. The workshops were designed to guide the users to get to their own “aha” moment, when they would realize the new system could simplify things and make their life better.
Now many end-to-end functionalities have been consolidated and are in use within Salesforce and Rootstock, such as Sales-to-Order and Order-to-Deliver processes.
Now that so many of the processes are automated, response time is faster, and information is more consistent. That makes both the customers and the sales teams happy.
The Magic Button!
Worktime has been saved and numerous mistakes have been avoided by what Mönkäre calls the “magic button,” a master flow built on the lightning flows created during the implementation. With the push of a button they can create a Sales Order and a Project in Rootstock, that goes on to build sub-projects, tie in the Bill of Materials and create the project budget.
Reduced Sales Cycle
The sales cycle time prior to the implementation was often too long, missing on potential prospects. Now that so many of the processes are automated, response time is faster, and information is more consistent. That makes both the customers and the sales teams happy. The sales teams have seen the benefit and adopted the system so well that they are now spending time at their meetings sharing tips and tricks with each other.
Chatter improves communication
Using Salesforce Chatter has helped improve communications with end-users. UTG Mixing Group also incorporates Outlook integration to send customer communications and attach PDFs. Mönkäre notes that the teams are using Chatter more and more as they see the value of connecting all of the discussions in Salesforce. “If someone is out on sick leave or holiday, there is no delay in getting information to respond to a customer or answer a question.”
They’re finding more ways to use Chatter throughout the system. A light Learning Center in Chatter was created to allow users to watch short how-to videos and review training slides.
UTG Mixing Group has been on the path of digital transformation for over three years now, so the new digital tools allowed possibilities to work remotely and added benefits compared to paper-based work. While COVID-19 had some impact on the implementation timing, they were able to move forward successfully.
UTG Mixing Group, acquired by SPX FLOW in January 2021, will continue the digital transformation as part of SPX family. They are ready to continue to build the business as they look forward to getting back together with their teams in the future.
About UTG Mixing Group:
UTG Mixing Group, acquired by SPX FLOW in January 2021, is a global technology group that provides competitive mixing solutions with a customer-oriented approach that minimize lifecycle costs.
“Partnership built to last – and perform” is our brand promise. We serve our customers locally in the best possible way by bringing our global capabilities close to them.
Rootstock Software is a worldwide provider of cloud ERP on the Salesforce Platform. When combined with Salesforce CRM, Rootstock Cloud ERP offers manufacturing, distribution, and supply chain organizations a single platform to grow and manage their businesses. Rootstock Cloud ERP is a flexible, modern, and digitally connected system that transforms companies to deliver a more personalized customer experience, efficiently scale operations, and out-service the competition. To learn more, please visit www.rootstock.com.