While ERP systems have copped a lot of flack over the years because of their implementation difficulties and exaggerated benefits to businesses, Western Australian Jandakot Airport claims it has tripled its profits over the last four years thanks largely to the successful implementation of its Navision Attain ERP system.
Said to be one of the busiest airports in Australia, Jandakot Airport is the first airport in Australia to use the Navision Attain software system to run its complex aeronautical and property management businesses.
According to Anne Watson, Jandakot Airport Holdings' airport manager and inaugural chair of the Navision User Group in Western Australia, the ERP system is providing additional revenue by streamlining management systems and providing 100 per cent accuracy with information.
"Previously, Jandakot had to buy data from air traffic control company Air Services Australia," said Watson. "Not only did the service cost $50,000 per annum, but the data they were capturing for us was wrong 23 per cent of the time. Since we've implemented the ERP system, we no longer have to buy that data as we invested in an air traffic recording machine that is integrated with our business modules. Now the information we receive is 100 per cent accurate and we've increased our number of billings."
Jandakot Airport's previous IT system consisted of several different systems that were not integrated, which meant that staff had to do endless file transfers at the end of the month and the owners of the business never knew exactly where their business was on a day-to-day basis. The integration of all the business units means that Jandakot Airport has fewer staff costs and can see what its bottom line is at any given time.
"We're saving around $90,000 per annum with the Navision system," Watson estimated.
Jandakot had spent approximately $120,000 on the ERP system to date, said Watson. "It cost us $75,000 initially. The system is about to be upgraded for the second time in four years and an upgrade costs us around $10,000."
The ERP system implementation contract at Jandakot Airport was originally secured by Western Australian integrator Enterprise Solutions. When Perth-based integrator Focal Systems merged with Enterprise Solutions in June 2001, it acquired its existing client, Jandakot Airport.
Chris Stevens, senior Navision consultant with Focal Systems, said the implementation of the Navision Attain ERP system at Jandakot went relatively smoothly. "There were a few hiccups in the initial stages, which were quickly ironed out."
Stevens believes that a lot of the criticism that vendors receive in relation to their ERP systems is unfair. In most cases, he said, implementation difficulties arise because managing directors often don't know how their businesses really operate.
"Ninety per cent of ERP implementation problems arise because managing directors are not sufficiently aware of the unique intricacies of their business's operations and therefore cannot communicate their exact needs to the integrator," said Stevens. "Ten per cent of problems are caused by integrators who simply do not have enough experience in the customer's business to understand what their specific software needs are.
"Criticism has generally been directed at high-end ERP systems that cost millions of dollars. Usually this is because the implementation is a hell of a lot more complex and there is a hell of a lot more business processes that have to be integrated. One small oversight on the part of the customer or the systems integrator means the whole system has to be re-implemented."