As the southern gateway for major export industries, Port Otago is a dynamic hub for New Zealand trade. As the leading South Island port it handles over 600 vessels a year and provides primary services including stevedoring, depot services, warehousing and marine services. The breadth of its operations is reflected in the number of diverse businesses operating within the Port Otago Group, each being supported by a variety of disparate business information systems. Time was called on the ageing legacy system that had become largely unsupportable, had few reporting capabilities and was difficult to maintain. A strategy of consolidation and business information sharing was struck as the way forward and Port Otago began a market search for a partner who could lead from experience in the Financial Management Information space.
Port Otago desired a complete integration of its information systems, to give the Group clarity, consistency and a multi-dimensional view of its business.
“We saw synergies in Port Nelson’s recent investment in Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and knew their gain could be our gain. We had the opportunity to leverage off their experience, and in turn benefit from the solid knowledge that Intergen, as their capable partner, had of port sector business.”
Andrew Taggart, Chief Financial Officer, Port of Otago.
On-site implementation delivers project on time, on budget.
A year-end deadline posed a tight timeframe. Having Intergen working within Port Otago’s environment made for an agile delivery, with all players up to speed on the direction.
Andrew Taggart comments, “We appreciated Intergen’s willingness to work in our space, their openness to consult and get involved which amounted to a very clear focus on getting the job done. Scope issues can arise with any project, but Intergen proved professional and flexible in their approach.”
Solid wins across the business.
A good foundation has been set with Dynamics NAV, and as is the nature of a new implementation, many of the business gains are relevant from day one, and others are in the pipeline as Port Otago looks to the future. Upfront gains include speeding up the production of their annual accounts using the consolidation features of NAV, and eliminating a number of manual financial processes.
Andrew Taggart comments, “We have progressed well down the track of achieving a smarter electronic exchange of information and many of our processes that were paper based are now streamlined and available more widely to users in the business group. All four systems – container management, shipping, payroll and property management systems - now have interfaces to the NAV system.
I see it as a series of building blocks, as always there are hard yards to go when you do an accounting system change over, but now we have a good foundation and the tools to drive a lot more efficiency through the business.”
Having a more dimensional view has put Port Otago in the driving seat. Reporting is deeper and core information can be measured by business units, by assets, by profitability, dollars versus quantities and rates, supplier/purchaser analysis and more. The challenge now is to push the benefits out into the wider business so the value of their investment cascades past a purely financial management realm.
Smarter and more efficient financial processes have notched up early business wins for Port Otago; now the focus widens for greater integration and performance across the entire business group.