Broshuis factory floor, image credit BroshuisBroshuis has gone live on Infor LN. It replaced an aging Infor VISUAL ERP solution with one that better aligns to a new manufacturing strategy. Broshuis was founded in 1885 in Muiden Netherlands. It has a long history of producing chassis and trailers for road vehicles. It produced the first low loader in 1965. Twenty years ago, when it first implemented Infor VISUAL, it produced generic trailer products.  The 2008 economic crash prompted a change in strategy to custom made orders as demand fell.

Another change in strategy

In 2017 it had another rethink of strategy. To grow the business it needed to switch from an engineer-to-order to a configure-to-order strategy. This would better meet the evolving demands of its customers in the future. It added a degree of personalisation in a B2B manufacturer. It realised that whatever system was selected it would need to interface with eCommerce, a growing demand in the B2B industry.

Sjoerd Dekker, CFO Broshuis BV, explained this saying: “This market is changing fast: shorter turnaround times, faster and better machines, price pressure as a result of robotisation. We expect a shakeout in the coming years. Our ambition is to emerge as one of the top global players in specialized, innovative manufacturing. In five to ten years, we would like to see a cost reduction of 10 to 15%, with 90 to 95% of our trailers on the road within two months of the start of production.”

Achieving this meant a review of its processes and approach so it engaged Mobina in 2017. It leveraged “The transition blueprint”, enabled by a web based application. This helped it to plan the transition of the company. It reduced the risk of selecting the wrong ERP system, as it knew it needed replacing.

Dekker continued: “Carrying out this process with Mobina has enabled us to make solid, futureproof choices in a short time frame. In 2018-2019 we face the enormous challenge of implementing these choices: taking one of the four pre-selected ERP systems on board, expanding and transforming our engineering capacities, redesigning our processes. In times like this, everyone has their opinions and feelings about where to go as a company. Mobina offers objectification and substantiation, helping you make good choices. Broshuis will soon be ready for the next 130 years.”

The choice

Broshuis has gradually cut down from a long list of 15 ERP vendors to three. Those three gave a presentation. The criteria for making the decision included new functionalities that the company knew it needed to help sustain future growth. They included:

  • better and integrated production planning,
  • barcode scanning in the warehouse,
  • more standardised automation,
  • tighter logistics control,
  • Integration to its eCommerce tool. A product configurator began the ordering process

Infor was the winning bidder. Infor LN has the functionality the company was looking for. Importantly it supported the two types of production that Broshuis now needs, custom building and repetitive production in its factory. The Infor middleware solution Infor ION also demonstrated that Infor could easily connect between different systems once installed.

The implementation

Broshuis has now implemented several Infor solutions including:

Broshuis rolled out new standard processes across the organisation following the implementation. This has helped to reduce management costs but not at the expense of quality. The availability of rich production data has also delivered better insights into the business to help with planning and other activities.

Sjoerd Dekker, CFO at Broshuis commented: “We are very positive. What immediately stood out were the functionalities and integration possibilities. Our CPQ team can easily make offers without the intervention of the technical department, which means that lead times can be considerably shortened. Fine-tuning still needs to be done, but ultimately the solutions will help us reduce delivery times and stocks. Moreover, the data will be more accurate, and we can increase the reliability of our planning.”

Infor Factory Track is taking the benefits to a new level. The solution is designed to deliver four key benefits:

  • Reduce on-hand inventory and carrying costs.
  • Track true labor costs.
  • Enforce government regulations.
  • Eliminate manual manufacturing processes.

Of these the top two are where it is realising the most benefit. It is managing inventory better and has now automated Broshuis’ time registration. Dekker added: “We are seeing more and more robotization in trailer construction, and digitisation and automation have also become more important in our market.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Kees van den Houten, Benelux country manager at Infor (Image credit LinkedIN)
Kees van den Houten, Benelux country manager at Infor

This was not an easy win for Infor. Broshuis went back to the drawing board effectively and carefully considered their strategy for the future with Mobina. It is a rare but clearly inspired choice. In this changing world companies can no longer feel restricted by a selection of software.

A few years ago, cloud software promised companies could easily switch between vendors. The reality is that while it is easier than it used to be, the cost and disruption to a business can be crippling. Broshuis did not stick with their existing vendor just for the sake of it but wisely reviewed strategy and selected the best ERP to meet its future needs.

Infor has proven that its products and own focus on a few key verticals is paying off. Kees van den Houten, Infor Benelux country manager commented: “Broshuis is a wonderful company with a long history. It is what we call a ‘pearl’ in the Dutch manufacturing industry,” said “We are proud that our innovative solutions are used to further expand their position in the current challenging market.”


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