Tell us about your company
Our company is Toyota Industries Corporation and we belong to Toyota Material Handling Group, a branch of the Toyota Group. Our main business is to manufacture and sell forklifts throughout Europe, especially IC Counterbalanced trucks which are gas and diesel trucks. We also do import and export in Europe for some trucks that we buy from Japan, China and the US, some of which we have modified in our factory, depending on the customer's requests.
What challenges did the company face before they implemented Odoo, and what were the specific needs addressed by the solution?
It was quite a though journey actually that we have solved with Odoo! (laughs)
A couple of years ago, we had some big organization changes in the group and we were aiming at restructuring our operations for sales in order to rationalize the way we take orders from our distribution network throughout the supplier units in Europe: one in Sweden, one in Italy and one in France.
For that we have been building a dedicated solution for the configuration of the trucks, which are highly customizable. These specially designed trucks for customers are nearly 40% of our business. The problem is that behind the scenes, the factory in Italy was not equipped with the adequate solution to go through all the steps: book these orders properly and acknowledge them, organize production or purchase the right truck from the right business unit abroad and then organize shipment and invoice our customers.
We had a dedicated solution built in the past, which we also used as our configurator. Therefore, replacing the configurator meant taking down the old system and replacing it with something else.
So we did some research and we faced two possibilities: either replace it with a new dedicated solution or replace it with a solution we take off the shelf.
We had no ERP, so an ERP was also a potential track that we would explore. But in our very "aggressive" market we couldn't take risks with very big investments. We needed very quick return on investments and a traditional ERP was definitely not a good solution for us. So in this context, it left us with a simple choice to make: either building it ourselves or choosing a cheaper ERP solution - and only an open source ERP like Odoo could make it!
Then, the last factor that entered in our decision was time. We had a very strong commitment from the management group in Europe to launch a solution on the configuration market between April and June 2015. When we evaluated the time needed for both alternatives, we were not sure we could make it with a dedicated solution. In that case, we had planned to possibly deliver by end of May but with lots of risks and question marks remaining. Whereas with Odoo we had a reseller, Smile, who made it very clear to us that if we signed with them in September 2014, we would have a solution in our Data center for end of March 2015.
In the end, for all these reasons we have chosen Odoo with the partner, Smile.
There has been a lot of integration in just a couple of months between September and end of March, this was done very quickly.
What solution was delivered?
It's much more than Sales that has been deployed! We have started with Odoo Sales of course for booking our orders. Once an order is booked, we need to make sure that the relevant products are procured, so for that we have the Warehouse Management System (WMS).
Then we have to handle the product we procure. We have two flows for that, on one side we have products that we procure by manufacturing them so we have integrated Odoo Manufacturing. On the other side, we have also some products that we purchase from our factories in Japan, US and China, and for that purpose we have Odoo Purchase.
Finally, we have also added Odoo Accounting because we are also invoicing our customers directly from Odoo.
We could not run the system without a proper integration in our existing information system, so we built all the relevant integration around Odoo with our existing legacy systems. We have done that by ourselves without any primarily knowledge of Odoo. This is a very positive aspect. Also, we have a completely integrated and automated flow: now all the orders from bookings to invoicing are linked with our accounting system, with our shipment management system, with our manufacturing system here in France and in Japan... so there has been a lot of integration in just a couple of months. Between September and end of March, this was done very quickly.
How has this impacted the business ?
The release of the solution is quite recent as we finished implementing Odoo on May 18th and we are now in August, so it's difficult to already measure the benefits.
What I'm betting on is that we will save a lot in maintenance costs of the IT solution, for sure, because so far we were maintaining an in-house solution and now we have an official solution. Also, I know that we can count on good features that will be released in the upcoming version, that we can integrate very easily so it will create additional values for our users.
But the main factor for me is Time. Without Odoo, I'm not sure I could have made it on time. What Odoo offered me is to could release something and please my management with a good and reliable solution that I could count on by end of March. For me that is the main benefit. It's the short time to implement the solution for a complex project, in couple of months! Done, no problems! (laughs)
How would you describe what your company value most with Odoo?
At this stage, it's more again on the IS side that we perceive the biggest value of Odoo, because for us it's an extensible platform on which we will build our whole information system. I'm aiming at replacing all of what we have with Odoo, if possible. Then it would be the end of the nightmare and headaches for me, so that would be great! (laughs)
It's also important for us to have a solution where we can leverage our best assets. And our best assets in IT are people! We have people in our company who are good in software development, with technical skills. I could not replace the head of finance solution by purchasing an off-the-shelf solution with losing all the added value they could offer us. So it's good to know that I have a system that, with some training, can deliver a new value around Odoo. Because the software is open, they can develop features for the company. So for me that part is very, very important!
Then from a user point of view, I think that they appreciate quite a lot that the application is quite ergonomic. Also, the users will probably have a better understanding of the benefits when we have integrated the rest of the operations in Odoo in the future.