HBM Machines takes system integration to the next level with a new interface

Scalability and robustness get a strong boost

HBM Machines is a supplier of machines, hand tools and technical accessories. The company focuses on a wide range of disciplines and applications. Think, for example, of metalworking, woodworking, sheet metalworking, and garage and car items. Many articles are also own brand. “Really everything for your workshop” is therefore HBM’s slogan.

The company was founded in 1972 by Herman Buitelaar senior and has grown steadily since then. In 2022, HBM Machines will have a showroom of 1,400 square meters and several warehouses covering a total area of ​​40,000 square meters. In 2006, HBM Machines also opened its own webshop, while the dealer network now consists of a large number of European partners. In line with the ambition to take internationalization seriously, the company also has a Belgian, German and French side. HBM Machines’ policy and growth ambitions are based on three key pillars: internationalization, further expansion of the range and marketing.

Due to the strong growth of recent years, HBM Machines’ IT systems slowly grew out of their seams. To achieve an automated digital workflow that can handle the current volumes of thousands of orders a day, HBM Machines built a new interface layer based on Boomi together with Appronto.

Challenge: To create an automated workflow and the right integrations

HBM Machines is a real family business. The sons of the founder Herman Buitelaar senior also joined the company in 2002. In terms of business ingenuity and product knowledge, the family has given the company a very strong foundation. However, because HBM Machines has been growing by 10 to 40 percent per year for some time, the existing IT systems could no longer handle the explosive growth in the amount of data and orders at any given time.

The cash register system, which over the years has been expanded to an almost complete ERP system, grew out of its seams. In addition, there were (too) few interfaces so that applications and systems did not communicate optimally with each other. At the same time, the amounts increased by a factor of 5 or 6, which made small hair borders into larger cracks. Due to the combination of large volumes and inadequate IT systems, HBM Machines was in danger of falling victim to its own success.

Another challenge is that HBM is implementing several new systems in parallel: a new ERP, a new WMS and a new POS system. In addition, the company has also built a new warehouse in Waddinxveen.

New management team and improvement goals

In 2019, the Buitelaar family decided to sell the company and remain primarily active on the purchasing side. There was a new management that spent the last year and a half building on a new management team.

Since then, that team has worked hard on an overhaul and modernization of the IT landscape. The main goals are:

  • Modern, scalable and integrated systems that enable the growth of HBM.
  • Create a large automated flow for all important business processes. Think about managing orders, streamlining HR policies and improving administrative processes.
  • To make applications and systems communicate better and easier with each other.

Solution: Towards a robust and scalable environment

To achieve the aforementioned goals, HBM Machines has started implementing a new ERP system in 3 phases: finance and purchasing in 2021 and sales in 2022. In addition, HBM Machines replaces WMS automation in the warehouse. As a result, HBM Machines needed a good integration interface that it could place on top of existing and new systems as an extra layer. From a ‘best-of-breed’ vision (selection of the best solutions from the range of multiple vendors), an interface layer is indispensable for all systems to communicate well with each other, and this is how the company eventually ended up. Boomi. This platform allows you to connect almost any conceivable service or application.

Following advice from ERP project management, HBM Machines called in Appronto, a Boomi specialist par excellence, for help. Together, Appronto and HBM developed an integration layer that ensures that data handling and communication between different systems increasingly runs like a well-oiled machine. Boomi was therefore one of the crucial factors in taking the first steps towards a scalable and more robust IT environment. Appronto also coached the HBM team at Boomi. As a result, they are now able to solve many of their integration problems themselves.

The collaboration

Detlef de Vries, CFO of HBM Machines, is very pleased with the collaboration with Appronto. “What I especially like about Appronto is that there is a real methodology behind the software. For example, you use an RM methodology for training and certification of employees. In addition, Appronto works according to clear protocols and logical process steps. It helps a lot if you have an implementation partner that lets you work according to a fixed pattern of building, testing and documentation. Our fast-growing organization needs that, ”says Detlef.

In addition, Appronto is not only an implementation partner, but also a skilled interface consultant. “Knowledge to provide expert advice, methodology and an instant click were ultimately the main reasons why HBM Machines entered into a partnership with Appronto. With further optimization processes, there is definitely a future in this partnership. ”

Results: Operational excellence is significantly improved

“One notices above all that the operational expertise is much better,” Detlef says. “The error burden is decreasing. And will something go wrong again? Then you can quickly and easily look it up so you immediately know where the problem is. Proper setup of the software saves you a lot of expensive finishing work. Ultimately, the likelihood of errors and the need for repairs creeps towards zero. That’s what you ultimately want: processes that run like a Swiss movement, so you can handle big data and order quantities without any problems. ”

Conclusion

  • Appronto improves the integration of systems and processes at HBM

  • Scalability and robustness get a strong boost

  • Operational excellence is improved, the error rate decreases and less follow-up work is required

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