Large global brands especially must integrate and streamline financial information and processes across all locations and throughout their vast organizations. International automaker Aston Martin accomplished this goal, along with improved customer segmentation strategies and overall operational efficiencies, with Microsoft Dynamics AX, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. To date, the tool’s accounting and CRM offerings allow Aston Martin to focus on decision making, not data crunching — with related benefits prompting the automaker to extend the ERP solution next year.
The accounting platform works across all ledgers, including general, purchasing, fixed assets and sales, allowing Aston Martin to have more integrated processes and a cohesive view of information, according to Bradley Yorke-Biggs, Strategy & IT Director at Aston Martin. These improvements ensure team members can tackle and rectify data inaccuracies; they also accelerate financial processes and allow information to flow across the organization more seamlessly, he added.
Moreover, the successful implementation lets Aston Martin “get financial data generated quickly,” Yorke-Biggs explained. “Our cash flow management processes and aged debtors reports are processed rapidly, which is necessary when micro-managing cash flow issues.”
Aston Martin recently extended its usage of Microsoft Dynamics AX by adopting its CRM solution to glean better insight on consumers and integrate siloed databases. Due to the brand’s high recognition and reputation in the eclectic luxury market, it is essential for Aston Martin to have detailed profiles of customers and their communication preferences to ensure current and potential vehicle owners are segmented effectively, York-Biggs reported.
“We must determine at an early stage whether customers are interacting with us through our mobile app, web site or dealer network,” Yorke-Biggs said. “For example, we need to know the difference between a 14-year-old boy checking our web site for a cap for his dad’s birthday, or a customer with a One-77 two-door coupe willing to spend $1.9 million on a supercar.” Segmenting this data and consumer behaviors across digital and physical touch points allows Aston Martin to “talk to customers at a level that’s relevant to them and also fits with our high-end brand,” he added.
When Aston Martin adopted Microsoft Dynamics AX, along with vendor partner eBECS, in 2008, the brand was reacting to its recent buy-out from Ford, which reaffirmed the pressing need to source a new accounting system, Yorke-Biggs reported. The system’s obvious benefits led Aston Martin to the tool’s CRM module, and, more recently, to investigate an extension of the ERP solution.
“As the market improves, we use this platform’s up-to-date and accurate accounting and CRM data, and greater reporting flexibility, to focus on the pressing business decisions at hand, rather than data crunching,” Yorke-Biggs stated. “The way in which we manage our business has changed and is more dynamic because of the solution.”
Manufacturers such as Aston Martin can benefit by Microsoft Dynamics AX’s extensive insight across the manufacturing process, from supply chain to production, according to Fiona Nolan, U.K. Product Manager for Microsoft Dynamics AX, “allowing companies to plan effectively, manage resources and ensure product development deadlines are met.”
“This level of transparency and accuracy provides organizations with the means to develop resilient product structures,” Nolan added, “making it increasingly important in the manufacturing sector where demanding schedules and delivery demands have to be met.”
Today Aston Martin is considering moving its current Microsoft Dynamics AX modules and other internal systems to the cloud, and is planning a more complete implementation of the Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solution during 2013.