KapStone has a technology strategy under which any system can be replaced or upgraded without affecting others.
A Microsoft Dynamics ERP upgrade reduces systems costs by 57% and provides a foundation for a best-of-breed applications strategy
In 2008, KapStone Paper and Packaging Corp. acquired the Charleston Kraft division of MeadWestvaco. The acquisition, which tripled KapStone’s size, provided a large paper mill, an onsite co-generation facility, a lumber mill, and five chip mills.
To deal with the acquisition of Charleston Kraft as well as future acquisitions, KapStone’s ERP strategy included having a system for the long term that could easily integrate with additional systems needed to run the company.
A key challenge for KapStone was the potential of disparate data in each facility. From the start, KapStone planned to purchase an ERP product as a backbone system. The system would have to be easily upgradable to keep up with future technology releases; would have to require little customization to facilitate quick and cost-effective upgrades as well as easily add any new plants from future acquisitions; and be “highly cohesive and loosely coupled,” meaning applications from other vendors could be added quickly, including Invensys’s Avantis enterprise asset management system. KapStone knew it had to be proficient at integration, and would need to be able to consolidate data for overall enterprise reporting.
KapStone had been a user of Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP software since 2007. In 2009, the company upgraded three plants to the latest version of AX in less than six months, on time and on budget. It also integrated additional systems for added business value.
As a result of the upgrade, KapStone has reduced its overall systems cost per year per user by 57%. The company’s month-end close now takes less than four days. Moreover, KapStone has a technology strategy under which any system can be replaced or upgraded without affecting others, which reduces IT costs.
“At KapStone, our philosophy is no ERP application can support all business processes without heavy customization; therefore, we choose to buy best-of-breed applications for specific functionality and integrate using XML and Web services,” said Todd Sain, the company’s director of application design and support. “This gives us the flexibility to react to changing business requirements and support the company’s growth and business objectives.”