Speed Things Up with High-Speed proALPHA Business Cloud

At first glance, industrial plants, wind farms and luxury cruise liners don't have much in common, except perhaps that they are all colossal projects and that, in an emergency, fire fighters can't just put out the fire with a turntable ladder. If a wind turbine's nacelle catches fire at a height of 100 meters, the fire needs to be detected and fought automatically. This is why supervision and security of these plants should be in the hands of specialists like North German EMDION GmbH. As a system integrator, it plans, engineers, produces and installs tailor-made safety, communication and information systems for use in industry, by offshore wind farms and cruise shipping. This includes access control systems, gas detectors, smoke detectors, gas extinguishers and foam extinguishers. The company based in Emden also maintains these systems on a regular basis.  

The 24 employees at EMDION have many years of experience in the business. Before the company was founded in January 2017, they all worked for the Wärtsilä group. When the group decided to discontinue business in Germany, the employees did not hesitate and simply took over the business, including all on-going projects. This was a huge challenge for Wilfried van Schwartzenberg, co-CEO Friedrich Baur and their colleagues. They had to organize their company's operative structure within almost no time, because they were busy with customer projects right from the very beginning. 

emdion logo

Industry: Other Industries

Sites: Emden

Products: System integrator for safety, communication and information systems used in industry, by offshore wind farms and cruise shipping

Revenue: approx. €10m

Employees: 24


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  • Order processing incl. billing fully implemented within just a few weeks
  • Fully integrated accounting and cost accounting
  • Mobile access to documents for service technicians
  • Cloud reduces upfront investment in IT infrastructure
  • ERP functions from the cloud tailored to business processes
  • Focus on core business, decreased utilization of internal resources
ERP-Anwenderbericht: Emdion

No Time for a Long Selection Process

EMDION has picked its ERP system from a choice of three. Van Schwartzenberg did not want to continue working with the system they had used before. "It was not modern and flexible enough," he explains. "We need a solution that can be easily adjusted to our needs." For a number of reasons they chose proALPHA. 

Van Schwartzenberg's former employer had repeatedly considered replacing the old ERP system with proALPHA. And the many customer references proved that proALPHA is a comprehensive solution capable of planning and implementing large projects. Since proALPHA has a number of customers in the plant engineering industry, it could excel with specific know-how of the industry. Another advantage is the extensive support in commercial processes, most notably in accounting. "We are engineers and not accountants. So we need a powerful ERP system here. Accounting has to run without much manual work. We wanted our profit and loss statement to be generated directly by the system and daily closings at the push of a button." And most importantly: As an investment in our future, we wanted ERP from the cloud.

"With the ERP Business Cloud, we always stay on top of technology, because proALPHA and its partners take care of everything."

Wilfried van Schwartzenberg, CEO of EMDION GmbH

Into the Cloud at Full Throttle

The desire for ERP from the cloud was there right from the start. EMDION already runs other communication systems in the cloud, for example telephony. "It had to be simple and useful," Wilfired van Schwartzenberg explains. He wants the focus of the medium-sized company to be on core business and intends to use resources mainly for customer projects. "Thanks to the cloud we can keep our IT resources at a minimum." Van Schwartzenberg has already outsourced IT maintenance to a service provider. "Technology is constantly changing. After only three years, a server landscape is already out of date. This makes it hard for SMEs to keep pace, to update and maintain everything. With an ERP business cloud, we always stay on top of technology, because proALPHA and its partners take care of everything."

Of course, he and his colleagues have also attached great importance to issues like safety, availability and performance. But proALPHA was able to answer all critical questions to their satisfaction. And one thing is for sure: "It has to be reliable, or else our business will be put to a halt," van Schwartzberg points out.

Only two months after launching the project, EMDION went live with the first business processes: requests for quotes, orders, shipping documents and invoices are all handled in the cloud, as are financial accounting and materials management. This helps EMDION manage the vast number of parts required for each project. "Just think of a large cruise liner. With smoke detectors required in every room on the ship, from the engine room to the captain's cabin, we have about 15,000 smoke detectors we need to install and maintain." EMDION has up to 200 suppliers per project, depending on the number and type of plants to be installed.

Quick access to necessary information and relevant documents significantly increases the technicians' efficiency. This is made possible thanks to the Document Management System (DMS), which is fully integrated into proALPHA ERP. Now every engineer can access the required order and project documents from anywhere at any time. proALPHA has made location-independent work very easy. "I can do a quick check while I'm sitting on the couch on a Sunday afternoon," van Schwartzberg says. "Our employees, too, appreciate this high level of flexibility. Especially those who are parents and constantly have to bring family and job into balance."

proALPHA ─ The ERP Solution of Choice

A strong company is the driving force behind this cutting-edge ERP industry solution: proALPHA is an innovative group that has earned the trust of numerous users and is always close to its customers, be it in Germany or around the world.

proALPHA Facts & Figures

Achieving Higher Consistency Step by Step

Among the modules that EMDION will set up and adjust to its requirements in the first half of 2017 is proALPHA Production for the configuration of project plants. The Project Management and Service modules will also be investigated more closely. proALPHA from the cloud is no inflexible app, but a versatile and comprehensive solution just like the on-premises system, and it can be integrated with other systems via the Enterprise Service Bus of the Integration Workbench and the CAD integration. This is why Wilfried van Schwartzenberg already has his sights set on the engineering department. In future, the data from 3D engineering, electrical engineering and construction planning will be transmitted to proALPHA automatically.

"We have already achieved a great deal within a very short period of time," van Schwartzenberg sums up. "My first impression after one month of working with proALPHA: many things go a lot faster than before."