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The Challenge:

The challenge for Bacardi’s John Dewar & Sons Ltd (JDSL) was a slightly unusual one, in that it involved the replacement of a system which was functioning very well. JDSL were managing operations using a system which had been built in-house and tailored to their specific requirements over a number of years. It was a system that they liked, and which did everything they needed it to. There was just one problem: Bacardi had made the decision to implement a new ERP system across its business for greater integration and control. Despite the many benefits of this approach, it was clear from the outset that an ERP system would not be capable of managing the complexities of bulk stocks of maturing inventory. Bacardi required a dedicated system for bulk stock control with a data interface to SAP – but not only at JDSL for Scotch whisky. In addition to matching the functionality of JDSL’s previous system, the new system also needed to be capable of handling bulk stocks of other maturing spirits (such as rum and tequila) at Bacardi production sites worldwide. Furthermore, Bacardi wanted to make use of modern technology and to work with an experienced supplier that could deliver the functionality they required across the business – and provide long term support of the solution once in place.

The Solution:

JDSL were already aware of Trapeze’s DRAMS system having seen the solution in action at other sites within the industry. Feedback from system users was positive, and initial meetings with Trapeze gave JDSL confidence that they were dealing with a supplier that not only understood the intricate workings of the whisky business, but also had a proven track record of adapting a system to meet exacting customer requirements JDSL Bulk Planner John Kerr: “DRAMS covered most of our requirements off the shelf and Trapeze worked with us to identify and bridge the gaps. Their willingness to adapt the product to our way of working, coupled with the knowledge of the DRAMS consultants – both of their product and of bulk stock processing as a whole – gave us a solid platform to work from.” Assistant Blender Keith Geddes was particularly impressed with the Trapeze approach: “The gap analysis and functional specification stage of the project were carried out in a very structured manner which ultimately proved to be very successful.” Real time scanning, a real time interface to JDSL’s cask filling system, and long and short term planning functions were identified as key areas for development. Stephanie Macleod, Master Blender explains: “We wanted a one stop shop, with everything done from within DRAMS. Operating practices change over time, and we knew that this approach would give us greater flexibility to adapt our systems to meet the needs of the business.” The new functionality was specified and incorporated into the development and implementation project plan along with the required interfaces to SAP. Keith Geddes says the implementation went smoothly: “Trapeze consultants made themselves available to spend days on site with us at each delivery stage, going through the testing process and making sure we were happy with the functionality that was delivered. That generated a lot of confidence in the system amongst the people carrying out the testing – who ultimately became the end users of the system.”

The Results:

Keith Geddes explains: “A good interface to SAP was one of the main drivers behind the move to a new system, but it was essential that we didn’t lose system functionality or control over our operational processes. Trapeze adapted DRAMS to our requirements; it now provides all of the functionality covered by our old system – and some additional benefits as well.” The new elements have been implemented using the latest technology; these include a web-based bar coding module which runs on existing scanner hardware and provides real time updates and enquiries on DRAMS data, and the new DRAMSFlow module which uses web services to interface between DRAMS and JDSL’s cask filling system. Keith Geddes highlights the benefits that DRAMSFlow has brought to the JDSL cask filling process: “The new system is far more stable, and we have better management over the cask filling process than we had before. DRAMSFlow does what it’s supposed to do, and it does it well”. Another area of improvement is long term planning, as Stephanie Macleod explains: “We had a very good planning tool within our old system, and that was identified at the gap analysis stage as a key feature missing from DRAMS. Trapeze worked with us to define the process and to make some improvements on the model we had used previously. The result has been a far more structured approach to long term planning and a planning process that is far quicker to execute.” Keith Geddes adds: “Trapeze has built on the long term planning process since our initial implementation, and it continues to evolve. Additional analysis tools are now being made available to us and we are sure that there are still further benefits to be gained.” Following a successful implementation, Trapeze has continued to work closely with JDSL to support the system. John Kerr: “Trapeze’s post-implementation support has been very good. When we raise an issue with the Aberdeen support team they are very helpful. When the issue has been addressed they send an explanation of what the problem was, how it was corrected, and how we can avoid it in future. Keith Geddes agrees: “After care and ongoing support has been great. The product is continually evolving. The annual user group event is excellent; it gives us an opportunity to share ideas with the rest of the DRAMS community, to see what future developments are coming, and to provide input regarding the product roadmap.”

System Overview

DRAMS Bulk Stock Control SystemApache Tomcat
DRAMScan Bar Code Scanning SystemMicrosoft IIS
DRAMSFlow Cask Filling ServiceBartech MC9090 / Windows Mobile 5
DRAMS Long Term Planning ModuleOpera Mobile
OpenEdge RDBMSWindows Server 2008 R2 VM Cloud
OpenEdge AppServer

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