Hengstler is a leading producer of industrial counter and control components, sensors, and customer-specific printer solutions. Based in Aldingen, Germany, the company employs approximately 620 people who build and distribute encoders, thermostats, relays, and counters. In addition, Hengstler produces printers and cutters, and ranks as the largest producer of cutters in Europe. The company enjoys a worldwide presence, with production sites in Germany, Italy, France, and Slovakia and sales offices as far afield as Japan.
The American parent company, Danaher Corporation, regards Hengstler as its “European flagship,” which is hardly surprising considering Hengstler generates annual revenues of €80 million.
Needed: a solution in line with company motto of “continuous improvement”
Before turning to SAP, Hengstler was faced with some pressing issues: it needed to improve the flow of information between its German headquarters and its Asian base in order to deal with time differences and remedy laborious communication methods – all of which were affecting distribution processes.
In fact, the sales office in Tokyo was communicating with headquarters by telephone and fax. It was virtually impossible for employees to deal with inquiries regarding purchase-order status in a timely fashion, often losing as much as half a day because of the time difference. For example, if an employee in Tokyo needed to know if a delivery was ready for shipment, he or she would send a fax to Aldingen. An employee in Aldingen would then process the request hours later and convey it to Japan by telephone. If other questions arose, it took even longer. In line with the company motto of “continuous improvement,” which is derived from the Japanese philosophy Kaizen, the company was more than ready to find a solution.
Low cost, easy to use, comprehensive capabilities
At the annual CeBIT exhibition, the company found what it was looking for, and chose to move forward with SAP Business One. Hengstler was not only impressed by the solution’s simple operability and how easily and quickly it could be implemented, but by its comprehensive capabilities – for example, in the area of customer relationship management (CRM). In addition, SAP Business One could be successfully integrated with mySAP ERP – at low cost.
Hengstler’s IT director, Monika Nguyen Nam, explains: “We were already using mySAP ERP in the eight European sales organizations and the four production locations. Introducing mySAP ERP for our 20 employees at the Tokyo sales office, however, would have meant disproportionately high implementation and training costs.”
Hengstler, which operates numerous small branches, found SAP Business One to be a brilliant match. Another plus – the short implementation time meant the company could avoid disrupting operations. In fact, Hengstler introduced SAP Business One in less than two weeks in Japan and fully integrated it into the mySAP ERP solution in Aldingen using SAP Exchange Infrastructure (SAP XI), a component of the SAP NetWeaver platform.
A booming market
As a result of the Asian building boom, Hengstler’s shaft encoders are in extremely high demand throughout Asia (including China). Armed with SAP Business One, employees at the Japanese sales office are now well equipped to face the pressures of dealing with such a huge market. With the help of improved IT, they can respond to customer queries about delivery times or product availability quickly and easily, and deal with orders far more effectively. In addition, the country-specific version of SAP Business One enables Hengstler employees to comply with local regulations affecting accounting and other economic transactions. For on-site users, all interfaces appear in Japanese. “The Japanese employees are really enthusiastic about SAP Business One. The software is self-explanatory – you can’t go wrong,” says Nguyen Nam, obviously satisfied with the company’s choice of software.