Malvern Instruments goes global with SAP ERP and CRM upgrade

Malvern Instruments is a UK-based global manufacturer and distributor of highly technical scientific instruments. Their high-value machines enable their customers to analyse the quality and grade of industrial materials by measuring particle sizes.

The business challenge

Like most manufacturers, Malvern Instruments is facing increasing competition from low-cost countries such as China, who are emulating their products, selling them at a lower cost and are increasingly more accessible to customers. Furthermore, customers now expect a seamless customer experience and want goods and services better, faster and cheaper than ever before.

With mounting pressure to remain cost-competitive and show greater value-add, Malvern Instruments decided it needed to improve its service offering by implementing a focused strategy to include enhanced customer centricity, improved service management, and product and service customisation.

To achieve these goals it needed to ensure it had the right supporting systems and processes in place and the first step towards this was the implementation of ERP and CRM upgrades.

The upgrades

The upgrade of Malvern's existing SAP R/3 backend to ECC 6.0 was a prerequisite to a major CRM customer service project.

"The project was initially to upgrade to CRM 7.0 which is the latest version of CRM. We needed to be in a position where we weren't constrained by our existing systems and had the flexibility to embark on other projects as and when required. To move forward as a business, it was essential we had scope to do far more with CRM." Peter Norman, IT Director, Malvern Instruments

Further to this it was also essential that the upgrades were performed quickly, cost effectively and with minimal risk.

Reaping the benefits of off-shoring

The project was delivered using an offshore model, with the technical elements delivered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The development took place in the UK during the day and the bulk of the upgrade work happened in Kuala Lumpur, outside of UK working hours.

"There was a 'hand-off' at the end of the working day here, and a 'hand-back' to the UK the following working day, enabling us to utilise the cost-effectiveness of offshore resourcing." Dan Hawker, Former Director, Bluefin Solutions

"The off-shoring aspects of the project worked out extremely well because it meant tasks were performed when we weren't working, so we could come in the next day and pick up on items finished overnight."

"If it hadn't been for the offshore model, we wouldn't have been able to progress the upgrade project as quickly as we did. My team was very happy with speed and quality of work done by Bluefin." Peter Norman, IT Director, Malvern Instruments

Furthermore, when it came to the go-live weekend, the Bluefin Solutions team was running 24 hours a day - 12 in UK, and 12 in Kuala Lumpur - making optimal efficient use of time.

The business benefits

As well as addressing the fact that both SAP CRM 4.0 and R/3 were coming out of mainstream support, the upgrades have enabled Malvern to implement new functionality available in the latest release.

Why Bluefin Solutions?

"There are many SAP providers that are very good at the core solutions however, CRM is more of a specialised field. What we were really looking for was a partner who could enable us to bring our CRM solution forward and maximise its potential. We needed a partner that would not only provide the technical upgrade, but who could also help us with solutions, going forward." Peter Norman, IT Director, Malvern Instruments

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