Over the past few months, we have been disclosing details about the upcoming release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 on our “Inside Microsoft Dynamics AX” blog. At the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Technical Conference in October, we revealed that Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 was expected to be generally available on December 1. Today, I am pleased to announce that Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is generally available in 36 countries!

I believe that one of the most exciting enhancements in this release is the support for multiple languages and local business and regulatory requirements from a single instance of Microsoft Dynamics AX. Enterprises can streamline international operations while complying with local regulations and business needs. We’ve talked about this in other posts, as one of the many ways we’re helping our customers become dynamic businesses—by making it easier for organizations to capitalize on opportunities in emerging markets, and to develop a truly global business strategy. Last week, I spoke with Luca Caremoli, CIO of Sematic Spa about how the organization is changing into a truly global operation with the help of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2.

As a supplier to some of the biggest elevator manufacturers in the world, the Sematic Group fabricates and delivers complex doors, cabins, and even complete elevators. Because their finished product can weigh several quintals —on an order-to-ship cycle as fast as 20 days—fulfilling orders from their headquarters in Italy just isn’t an option. Instead, Sematic must go to where its customers are.

Consequently, as the company has grown, it has established production facilities and operating units in booming cities and emerging markets all over the world: Europe, India, China, North America, the UK… Wherever developers are building skyscrapers, you’re likely to find Sematic.

As Sematic will attest, maintaining a distributed manufacturing operation carries a unique set of challenges. Their customers depend on standard parts and designs, so Sematic must maintain consistency and process control among plants and operations that are often a half a world away. And for a company that has grown 600 percent in the past four years, continued success depends on the ability to scale efficiently and effectively.

Facing the challenges of rapid growth and globalization, Sematic set out to identify an ERP system that would help them harmonize their operations—both data and processes—into a unified business. Until last year, every subsidiary maintained its own ERP system, usually from a local vendor, with some systems more than 20 years old. Local entities also established their own business processes, and it was extremely difficult to share customer or operational data among the companies.

“Our customers can place an order from anywhere in the world,” said Luca Caremoli. “But wherever they are, whether they’re in Brazil, Germany, or China, they see only one Sematic. We present a unified face to our customers, and our own internal operations need to reflect that unity.”

Caremoli’s vision for “one Sematic” calls for centralizing operations on a single instance of ERP and maintaining master data for the entire operation centrally: products, bills of materials, scheduling information, and customer and supplier data, and to present a single, common view of the enterprise to customers, partners, and operations across the globe.

Sematic evaluated major ERP vendors, including SAP and Oracle, before determining that Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 had the enterprise-ready capabilities to simplify Sematic’s international, cross-company business processes. The ability to deploy localized versions of the application from a single instance dramatically simplified management of the multi-company implementation. Built-in support to comply with country-specific regulations in some of Sematic’s developing markets, including China and India, reduced the need for site-by-site customization and further validated the decision to deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2.

With a separate legacy ERP system in place in every local entity, Sematic has taken a country-by-country approach to rolling out Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2. Operations in Italy, UK, and China migrated to the new system with subsidiaries in Hungary, the US, and Mexico set to go live in H1 of 2013. Their aggressive roll-out will continue through early 2014—ultimately the new system will be deployed to 16 separate legal entities, in 10 languages, all operating on a single instance of the application and sharing data and processes.

With three countries fully deployed, and three more poised to go live on Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, Sematic is already seeing the benefits of harmonization of data and processes. Intercompany flow between the headquarters in Italy and the manufacturing plant in the UK has streamlined procurement, enhanced CTP planning, and improved sales processes. But most notably, having a common repository for customer and supplier data has driven initial efforts at standardizing common business processes. “Now, with a single, common ERP solution, we are becoming one,” Caremoli observes. “Our employees across the world are becoming part of the one Sematic.”

The success of the Sematic Group is just one example of an early customer benefiting from the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 to become a truly global, dynamic business. If you are interested to learn more about this release, I am inviting you to watch a demo or participate in one of our webinars here. Are you using Microsoft Dynamics AX? Then you can download the product from CustomerSource or  PartnerSource today (log-in required)!

 

Christian Pedersen

General Manager

Microsoft Dynamics Product Marketing Group