CPE Machinery is a major supplier of specialist machinery and accessories to the construction, tunnelling and mining sectors throughout Australia. Since starting out in Sydney in 1978, CPE has grown to become a leader in the Australian concrete pumping industry. CPE is the exclusive Australian distributor for Putzmeister, the German-based concrete machinery manufacturer. CPE is now headquartered in Melbourne.
About 10 years ago CPE was beginning to outgrow its business management software program, Sybiz, and set about searching for a suitable replacement. To fully accommodate both current needs and the future growth plans of the company, CPE required an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution with powerful inventory control and import costing functionality. These ERP capabilities are of particular importance to CPE because many of the machines it imports are extremely costly. A Putzmeister truck-mounted concrete pump, for example, can retail for more than a million dollars. When dealing with such expensive inventory it’s critical that stock items – namely the machines, their accessories and their spare parts – get tracked, priced and shipped accurately and proficiently. Miscalculating the landed cost of a concrete pump can set a business back tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s important to get it right.
“Because we specialise in very expensive capital equipment we could not afford to make the wrong decision when it came to choosing an ERP”, said David Bond, Managing Director, CPE Machinery. “The import costing and inventory management capabilities of Jiwa set it apart from the others we looked at and those strengths helped make Jiwa the right choice for us.”
David said the move to the cloud made sense for CPE because it “enabled us to greatly reduce our IT infrastructure while allowing us to easily get our staff in remote areas up and running quickly.”
CPE started out with the on-premise version of Jiwa 6. When the company moved operations to Melbourne in 2013 they formed a business partnership with Jiwa Service Provider (JSP) Austlink, who advised CPE that their future business needs would be best met by migrating to the cloud version of Jiwa 7, which Austlink would host on Amazon Web Services (now Amazon Workspaces).
David said the move to the cloud made sense for CPE because it “enabled us to greatly reduce our IT infrastructure while allowing us to easily get our staff in remote areas up and running quickly. One of the benefits of cloud ERP is that you can add new offices, users and sites quite easily, which was a plus to us because as well as having personnel in Victoria we also have people in New South Wales and Queensland.”
“Also, several of our managers, myself included, travel frequently to Germany and other far-flung places. Our cloud infrastructure enables us to log in to Jiwa from wherever we are and gain an up-to-the-minute insight on what’s happening with the company.”
CPE also engaged Austlink to set up a workflow automation capability that would allow CPE to streamline Putzmeister-related inventory management and order fulfilment. When Putzmeister releases a catalogue of its new machinery, including its new spare parts and accessories, product information from the catalogue is automatically fed into Jiwa. Previously this type of information had to be manually entered into the Jiwa system – a task that was not only very labour-intensive and time-consuming but also susceptible to error. The synchronisation of CPE’s Jiwa solution with Putzmeister’s supply chain systems also enables CPE to automatically send requests to Putzmeister whenever a purchase requisition is generated in Jiwa, with quotes from Putzmeister routed back to Jiwa for further processing.
To help keep customers’ truck-mounted machinery and other equipment in top working order CPE offers comprehensive after-sales support services Australia-wide. The day-to-day management of these services is carried out using Jiwa’s Service Manager module. Service Manager is a fully integrated tool within Jiwa that automates service processes, allowing for the logging, costing and tracking of service activities from start to finish.
David says that CPE uses Service Manager to “maintain tight control over all our service warranty jobs. Our customers can’t afford to have their critical machinery laying idle so we need to be very efficient when it comes to repairs and the provision and installation of spare parts and accessories. Along with Jiwa’s Landed Cost functionality, Service Manager gives us everything we need to effectively and efficiently log, cost, deliver and track our after-sales support services. This functionality ensures that nothing falls between the cracks and that we deliver on our promise of superior customer service.”
Into the Future
Looking to what’s on the horizon for CPE and their Jiwa solution, David is exploring the idea of integrating Jiwa with hand-held scanner technology for ‘pick and pack’ tasks at CPE’s warehouse.
“The flexibility of Jiwa allows for fairly straightforward integration with a wireless handheld system and we’re looking to take advantage of that capability for our service centre and warehouse operations. Whether it’s for picking or for stocktaking, this functionality will further build on the enormous range of business benefits Jiwa has already delivered to CPE Machinery.”