SSNW solves issues rising from inefficient manual workflows at a forest products manufacturer

Introduction

Based in Wilsonville, OR, the family-owned Collins companies trace their roots back to 1855. Collins holdings include sawmills, hardwood, particleboard and siding facilities in Oregon, California, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, a Builders Supply retail location that carries hardware and lumber, and the Collins Pine Museum which features exhibits on lumbering, forestry and principles of sustainability.

History

In August 2018, Collins contracted SSNW to replace their aging general ledger system, Open Accounts. Having been on older systems for a while, their customer IDs were out of sync and often required manual onboarding and mapping. Manual effort was not confined to customer IDs; in other areas, manual input slowed down daily workflows. The scope of our project was to replace the General Ledger, Accounts Payable, and some Accounts Receivable functionality without impacting Collins’ best of breed systems.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations was selected to replace Open Accounts with a project implementation timeframe of four months. The project went live in January 2019.

Challenges

  • Aggressive timeline with minimal implementation costs

  • Integrating third-party financial solution of choice within the D365 framework

  • Merging ongoing implementation with day-to-day workflows and processes 

Solutions

  • Implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations as central ERP platform with custom code extensions for interface translation and deep integration with Microsoft Excel

  • Implementation of Jet Reports as a third-party financial reporting solution

  • Education of Collins’ key subject matter experts on Dynamics F&O functionality, configuration, and data requirements.

Results

  • Reorganized and streamlined daily and monthly accounting workflows

  • Integrated previous workflows from Microsoft Excel to ensure a smooth transition between old and new systems

  • Cut down on continued IT costs by centralizing an application footprint combined with continuous Microsoft’s One Version platform updates

Software Plan

Primary

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (F&O)

• Provides a strong financial foundation and supply chain management capabilities

• Provides a robust platform for future enhancements

  • Microsoft’s One Version services application and platform updates remove significant burden from IT resources.

  • Simplifies the creation of customer and vendor records in one master company that can be copied across all other companies.

    Additional implementations:

    • Extension of “Open in Excel” journal templates for AP, AR, and project-related invoices and standard General Ledger entries.

    • Creation of a custom code extension to take the 15 various interface files as is, map them into a common data staging table, and process them into the standard Dynamics F&O ledger functionality. 

    • Dynamics F&O Extensible Data Security: restricts user access and data visibility to only the sites they can work with or inquire into.

Third-party implementations

Jet Reports

  • Financial reporting system that integrates with Microsoft Dynamics F&O via AppSource

  • Builds reports directly in Microsoft Excel

  • Decreases errors, cuts reporting time and cost, refreshes data in real time 

Game Plan

SSNW followed an aggressive timeline of four months to implement the primary and third-party software. We also built custom tools, and educated key subject matter experts in the company to ensure smooth functioning beyond the project timeline.

Strategic Solutions NW

Strategic Solutions NW is a tight-knit tech and management company headquartered in Beaverton, OR with several clients in the forest products industry. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, we specialize in integrated software implementation and recovery with a repertoire that includes granular control of manufacturing, warehousing, transport, and sales, each considered on a business-wide scale. Our wider scope encompasses system-wide financials, business reorganization, acquisitions, and expansion. With a team that combines 150 years of experience in forest products, we approach each client with a long-term relationship in mind, providing continued support and communication beyond project timelines.