Trafiksystem Väst AB is a growing company in the lighting and traffic equipment business with about 70 employees and a yearly turnover of approximately SEK 200 million. The company offers turn-key civil engineering services for traffic systems and also takes on subcontracting jobs for large infrastructure projects. Trafiksystem Väst often works on complex projects where timelines can change quickly. Thanks to extensive insight and flexibility in the work processes, conditions can change without leading to project delays.
A Thorough Pre-Study Laid the Foundation When Choosing an ERP System
Trafiksystem used to be a department within Svevia, a state-owned company that after reviewing its operations decided to incorporate some of them. That is how Trafiksystem Väst AB came to be. It was launched in 2014 and is entirely privately owned today. Lars Weisner, the CEO of Trafiksystem Väst, shares his journey in the company:
“When I came into the picture, we were starting from scratch, while at the same time there was also an existing customer base—an unusual opportunity that was very exciting to be a part of. It also meant a competitive advantage, since we were not stuck in old structures, hierarchies, and system environments.”
An important part of the fresh start was ensuring that the right business system was in place to support the employees at every level of the company—not least of all those responsible for purchasing, production, and sales. Initially, a mobile work order system and a simpler purchasing solution were implemented. But the heart and brain of the system environment were still missing—an ERP system.
Many people underestimate the importance of a good pre-study.
A project-based way of working makes heavy demands on control, transparency, and flexibility. The first step to choosing and implementing a new ERP system was, therefore, a pre-study where the needs would be analyzed and determined. Wiesner explains:
“I think many people underestimate the importance of a good pre-study. In my experience, a bad order often gives you a bad delivery. Therefore, I enlisted the help of an experienced consultant who had been involved in implementing several ERP systems before as a neutral party. We analyzed our current position and the future to create a clear picture of how we actually want to move forward. We started with our customers’ demands as well as how we wanted to be working with our suppliers. That way, it became easier to see which ERP systems could work for us.”
Demands for Standard Features That Fulfill All Needs
In the end, Trafiksystem Väst decided to meet with five suppliers, who were all given the opportunity to introduce themselves and demonstrate their solutions. The goal was for the standard features of the solution to fulfill as many needs as possible. Wiesner explains:
“If there is something that I have learned over the years, it is that all add-on customizations of a system cost so much more than a standard system in the long run. When systems are updated and upgraded, the customized features have to be changed as well. While evaluating our options, we were also comparing 4PS—which has NAV and Business Central as its foundation—to the standard version of Business Central. After going through the presentations, 4PS, an add-on especially designed for the construction and installation industries but that is still a standard solution, felt like an obvious choice.
Orango Provided Valuable Support Through a Complex Implementation
One of the challenges during the implementation was that the company had never had an ERP system before, and many employees were used to working with a pen, paper, and Excel. Starting to use an ERP system was, therefore, not only a question of introducing a new system, it also meant changing the work culture.
It would not have been possible without the knowledge Orango’s consultants possess. They were able to help us with best practice.
Maria Renner assumed her position as the new CFO when the implementation project had already started.
“Unfortunately, there was no real handover between my predecessor and myself, which meant that the ownership of the data that was going to be handled in the new system was not clear. That made transitioning to the new system more difficult, of course. It would not have been possible without the knowledge Orango’s consultants possess. They had done similar implementations in the past and were able to help us with best practice,” says Renner.
Understandable and Transparent—In Real-Time
Today, Trafiksystem Väst has a business platform that fulfills the company’s needs well. Renner explains that having a business system specially designed for the industry makes it easier for everyone involved to understand it:
“Construction projects are special in many ways—especially when it comes to the accounting processes. Our customer projects often run over a long time, sometimes over many years. Many ERP systems do not have the specific features needed to manage construction projects, and then follow-ups are usually done somewhere else—often in Excel. That everything is all collected in the same interface now and that everyone can see how the project is progressing in real-time, makes everything much clearer and easier to understand for everyone involved. Now there is a completely new level of transparency and understanding about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what effect it will have.”
Shared Development and Innovation Potential With a Microsoft Platform
Trafiksystem Väst’s ambition is to gradually start to use more of the modules 4PS offers, to simplify and streamline its processes. Wiesner concludes:
“We have to learn how to walk before we can run, and that is why we take it one new feature at a time. What is positive about using a Microsoft-based platform is that the more companies that choose to use the system, the more it will benefit us because we are sharing a platform and thus also the development and innovation potential for more features.”