Glen Dimplex offers innovative solutions ranging from consumer kitchen appliances to industrial heating, ventilation and cooling units. Headquartered in Dublin, the group has operations in close to 20 countries across Europe, North America and Australasia.
With demand for green technology on the rise, the company aims to be the leading global supplier of high-efficiency energy equipment, helping both domestic and industrial users to dramatically reduce the environmental and cost impacts of heating homes and buildings.
James Munro, Programme Director at Glen Dimplex, takes up the story: “To realize our goal of bringing sustainable technologies to more global businesses and consumers, it’s crucial to produce high-quality products and deliver them on time. Our manufacturing lead times can be significant, which means effective supply chain and logistics planning are both key capabilities for Glen Dimplex.”
Following years of successful acquisitive growth, Glen Dimplex has sales, manufacturing and distribution facilities around the world. In the past, many of these business units relied on their own separate systems and processes to drive day-to-day operations — complicating the company’s planning activities.
“Our business runs on data, but as we grew it was becoming increasingly challenging to deliver timely insights to our decision-makers,” says Munro. “For example, if one of our senior leaders asked to see five-year sales trends for a specific customer segment, it could take up to two weeks of painstaking manual work to collate the information. If we could deliver these insights faster, we were confident that it would uncover valuable opportunities to capture new sales.”
He continues: “Our multiple systems and processes also made it very difficult to optimize logistics. For example, our Glen Dimplex Americas businesses lacked a real-time view of inventory across their manufacturing plants and warehouses. Without the relevant information, we missed opportunities to fulfill orders using inventory closest to the customer — increasing our environmental footprint and driving up costs.”
Enables 99% faster business intelligence reporting
Contributes to 20% increase in on-time and in-full deliveries
To prepare for future growth, Glen Dimplex decided to embark on a digital transformation. Named “Causeway,” the initiative was designed to enable real-time insights for decision-makers by moving to a single, integrated set of business processes and data. At the same time, the company targeted operational efficiencies by transferring core business functions to centralized shared service teams.
Munro continues: “In the past, some business functions were managed in multiple small units across each region or even in the same city. By shifting activities such as accounts payable and accounts receivable to a central function, we could create highly efficient centers of excellence while enabling the local employees to focus on value-added activities to drive growth.”
After an in-depth evaluation process, Glen Dimplex chose the next-generation ERP SAP S/4HANA® as the foundation for the integrated business processes. “We consider SAP S/4HANA best-in-class when it comes to core ERP functionality such as supply chain, manufacturing and warehouse management,” Munro confirms.
“As well as delivering on all our core operational requirements, SAP S/4HANA offers real-time analytics through an extremely intuitive user experience. The ability to convert our rich operational data into actionable business intelligence insights in seconds was another of the key reasons we selected SAP S/4HANA.”
To maximize the business value of its investment in SAP S/4HANA and reduce the risk of disruption on its transformation journey, Glen Dimplex engaged IBM® Consulting to help make its vision for integrated global operations a reality. As well as offering consulting services to support the design of new business workflows in SAP S/4HANA, IBM proposed a performant, scalable and highly available IT architecture to support the new solution, based on the Microsoft AzureExternal Link (link resides outside of ibm.com) cloud.
“IBM scored highly against our key selection criteria, but what really made them stand out was the team’s experience and professionalism,” says Munro. “Over the course of the RFP, IBM took the time to listen to our requests and present a solution that precisely addressed our specifical operational needs. The strategic alliances between IBM, SAP and Microsoft also gave us great confidence that we’d get responsive support whenever we needed it.”
Through a series of workshops with IBM and leaders from across its business, Glen Dimplex designed integrated workflows in SAP S/4HANA. Using IBM accelerators such as IBM Blueworks Live, the company rapidly modeled the new processes and identified optimal ways to implement them in the SAP solution.
In close collaboration with IBM, Glen Dimplex began its worldwide deployment of SAP S/4HANA with its operations in Ireland, bringing processes such as record-to-report, order-to-cash and procure-to-pay onto a single platform for the first time. The solution also unlocked advanced distribution capabilities for Glen Dimplex, including demand and supply chain planning, and transportation management.
The Causeway project incorporates a wide range of SAP solutions, including SAP S/4HANA, SAP BW/4HANA®, SAP Integrated Business Planning and SAP Process Orchestration. The suite is fully integrated with Glen Dimplex’s third-party applications for electronic data interchange (EDI) and logistics, as well as Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Commerce and other e-commerce platforms in use across the business.
Following the success of its initial implementation of SAP S/4HANA, Glen Dimplex raced ahead with the global rollout of the Causeway program. One year after the go-live in Ireland, the company extended the SAP solutions to support its worldwide heating and ventilation businesses, which include multiple manufacturing sites and warehouses. Next, the company deployed the solutions to its remaining business units in the Nordic region and the Americas. In the next release of the project, IBM and Glen Dimplex will implement the SAP solution for Glen Dimplex’s thermal solutions operations in Germany.
“All the implementations after the initial rollout in Ireland took place during the COVID period, which meant almost all the work had to be carried out remotely,” adds Munro. “Despite that challenge, the implementations were a big success. Even though we were enabling many brand-new capabilities — for example, an e-commerce experience for our Glen Dimplex Americas businesses — everything worked smoothly from day one.”
Today, Glen Dimplex uses SAP BW/4HANA and Microsoft Power BI to make it fast and easy for employees to explore business data in SAP S/4HANA. By integrating the SAP solution with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for CRM, Glen Dimplex is also empowering its people to work more efficiently and bring sustainable solutions to new global customers.
Munro comments: “We now use SAP and Microsoft solutions to support the lead-to-cash process for our heating and ventilation business from end-to-end. These types of improvements wouldn’t have been possible without the economies of scale of a global transformation project, backed by expert resources from a partner like IBM Consulting.”
Angel del Valle, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Glen Dimplex, adds: “Causeway is a key enabler of long-term growth for Glen Dimplex group, offering the business new capabilities and the scalability for future expansion. The fact that we’ve deployed the solutions to 18 regions and counting 100% remotely makes the results we’ve achieved even more impressive.”
By embracing SAP S/4HANA as its group-wide platform, Glen Dimplex is putting real-time insights into the hands of its managers and leaders — equipping them to steer faster, better-informed decisions.
Munro confirms: “We can now see metrics from across the global business at the touch of a button: from the performance of individual customer segments to real-time inventory levels at every location. For our customer service teams, we’ve reduced the manual workload in the order entry process by 43%, and the new streamlined processes have contributed to a 20% increase in on-time and in-full deliveries.”
Munro adds: “Elsewhere, we’ve cut business intelligence reporting tasks that used to take two weeks down to just two minutes — a reduction of over 99%. This 360-degree view is also valuable for our central accounting team, who can complete month-end closing three-days faster than before.”
By boosting infrastructure reliability and removing single points of failure, the group gains the peace of mind that its new platform is robust, eliminating previous concerns around the stability of its legacy platform. Moving to a single ERP solution has also delivered operational advantages for IT, allowing it to reduce maintenance windows by 30%. Most importantly, Glen Dimplex has gained the digital foundation to enhance its planning capabilities and facilitate continued business growth.
“Fully realizing the benefits of enhanced supply chain and logistics planning will take time, because our planning cycle times can be up to 12 months long — but the positive impacts will be felt across the entire business,” explains Munro. “Using SAP S/4HANA and SAP Integrated Business Planning, we will be able to build highly accurate forecasts. By automatically aligning these forecasts with our manufacturing and warehouse management processes, we can ensure we have the optimal inventory available to capture more sales opportunities.”
Looking ahead, Glen Dimplex is confident that its investment in modern cloud-based solutions — delivered with expert services from IBM — will enable it to build its existing businesses and accelerate future acquisitions.
“As part of Causeway, Glen Dimplex Americas has opened an e-commerce channel for direct sales,” says Munro. “Customers receive real-time email confirmations at every stage of the process, from payment to shipping to delivery — all based on accurate, real-time data in SAP S/4HANA. As direct sales grow, automation from the SAP solution and our e-commerce platform will allow headcount to remain lean even as revenues rise. And if we onboard an acquisition, we think that the time to value will be significantly shorter because we already have standard business processes in place.”
Glen Dimplex sees its work with IBM as a key enabler of its success. Munro concludes: “Throughout the project, IBM went above and beyond to help us achieve our goals — often taking on more work than they were contracted to do. IBM’s commitment to the transformation work at Glen Dimplex has been faultless, and we look forward to continuing our work with IBM as we continue with our global deployment of SAP S/4HANA.”
Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Glen DimplexExternal Link (link resides outside of ibm.com) is a leading international industrial group, with annual revenues in excess of EUR 2 billion and over 10,000 employees across four continents. Glen Dimplex is the world's largest manufacturer of electrical heating, and also holds significant global market positions in domestic appliances, cooling, ventilation, and renewable energy solutions.
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