Dawn Mills To Shift From Legacy To Customized ERP

by Amit Tripathi    Dec 29, 2004

What would you do if your business needs consolidation in terms of people expenses and market pressures? Well, the obvious choice would be to shrink operational costs, choose a niche segment, and strengthen it. At Dawn Mills Co. Ltd., - manufacturer of yarns, all this is being chalked out with growing dependence on IT to deliver.

Manohar Nagvekar, the veteran EDP officer of Dawn Mills, who has spent thirty years in the company says, “We have traversed a broad spectrum of IT evolution and in the coming financial year we might go for an ERP that would be customized according to our requirements and processes.”

Nagvekar specified that once the initiative is finalized the company would go in for a customized approach rather than buying off the shelf products. Nagvekar’s choice for customised ERP is because of the fact that the processes in spinning are unique as compared to a weaving process in a textile industry. For instance, he says that with a customised ERP the company can accommodate occasional changes in the sales tax structure, or minor changes in the percentage deduction in the workers professional tax.

As of now, the company receives weekly reports in a CD format, from its sales department that is outside its premises, as also from its shops. Once the new ERP comes in place, the company would bring its six retail shops (four in Mumbai, one in Pune and one in Nagpur), sales department, and one depot in Surat on its central network.

But, Nagvekar who has undergone some bad experiences, said, “In the recent past we had quotations and presentations from a few vendors, who studied our processes but could not deliver according to our needs.”

In fact, Nagvekar informs that in 2002 a vendor had begun developing application for their financial process. To aid this initiative close to Rs ten lakh was spent in buying a new database (Oracle 8i), five new PCs, and one IBM i-series server. However, even after spending one year they failed to deliver the goods.

So, as of now the company is carrying on with its COBOL 4.5 back-end on Novell Netware 3.12 platform, with DOS as the front end. And, Nagvekar gives kudos to the performance of around 2300 programs written in COBOL that manages its sales, purchase, inventory, accounts, and payroll.

Surprisingly, with things working so fine, why does the company need to deploy an ERP?

Answers Nagvekar, “Apart from the need for consolidation of the business, we are worried about the scarcity of expertise on COBOL based applications. Moreover, younger generation does not like to work on older systems.”

The mill that started in the ’20s, used punch cards and ICIM 1004 systems till the mid- 80s, with ten personnel manning the electronic data processing (EDP) department then. Says Nagvekar, “Apart from inhouse assignments, our IT team processed wage and payroll jobs for other companies such as Colourchem, Carona Shoes, Asia Ltd., and others as well.”

By 1985 when the company had 2500 workers with 250 personnel in the executive rank, better systems like ICIM 101 were brought in primarily to carry out accounting jobs. It took around six years for the company to move over to 286 and 386s that came in the year 1992. Only in 1996, the company installed its LAN while few Pentium 4 based machines were purchased.

For Nagvekar, the trends are clear as he observed all industries using IT in a big way. He believes that changes in technology have ushered changes in business processes too. But, what comes in the way of adoption of technology, according to him, is the mindset of the business decision makers who should see IT as an enabler.

Tags: ERP