Life in the Fast Lane

QubicaAMF unifies manufacturing processes to address Global interest in bowling.

August 2011

A 2010 report from Global Industry Analysts found the international bowling market will grow to US$10.8 billion by 2015, driven mostly by new technologies. Features such as automatic scoring and special effects are adding new flair to the pins, lanes, and ball returns common in traditional bowling.

As new bowling centers open around the world, demand for the varied components behind an exceptional bowling experience is increasing. QubicaAMF, a leading supplier of bowling equipment, brings these pieces together for customers. Formed through the merger of Italian scoring company Qubica and the AMF bowling products group, the company is well positioned to execute high-quality and coordinated delivery of the components required for a new installation or a center upgrade.

With 30,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs), order fulfillment is complex. But QubicaAMF also builds and ships products from multiple locations around the globe. “If you’re building a bowling center in France, all of the components related to the scoring will ship from our Bologna, Italy, location,” says Rohana Meade, vice president of information services and CIO at QubicaAMF. “The capital equipment—the pinspotters, lanes, and ball returns—will ship from Richmond, Virginia. Pins may ship from our Lowville, New York, location and shoes from the Rotterdam, Netherlands, location.”

However, postmerger operations were complicated by the fact that various manufacturing facilities were operating with different enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. These systems maintain inventory and handle shipping and billing that support the complicated logistics behind delivering a new bowling facility. In the first five months of 2011, QubicaAMF processed approximately 200,000 sales order lines, averaging between 1,500 and 2,000 lines a day.

QubicaAMF recognized significant ROI potential in simply being able to key an order once and let the system automate the entries, Meade says. Consequently, about three years into the merger, a decision was made to deploy a unified, worldwide ERP. This meant choosing between one of the three ERP systems the company already owned, or switching to an entirely new one. Management selected Oracle’s JD Edwards World solution to do the job. “We decided the [JD Edwards] World platform was working very well for us and was running absolutely the most complicated part of our business: the manufacturing piece,” says Meade.

Meade adds that the existing JD Edwards implementation was more than a decade old and heavily customized—and would not support the growing company and industry. So QubicaAMF management chose to upgrade the corporate headquarters to JD Edwards World A9.2 and gradually roll out to the other main locations. This worked well, says Meade, even though the software was new to European staff. Early experience gained at headquarters provided a solid infrastructure and support for later adopters.

QubicaAMF management chose to work with CSS International—a three-time Titan Award winner—to manage the rollout. AMF IT staff has worked with CSS consultants in the past, and the choice of partners was made based on capabilities and cultural fit. “We just really, really liked them a lot and they hit the ground running,” says Meade.

CSS Project Manager Scott Dittmar handled QubicaAMF’s mechanics enrichment area. “They were very open-minded,” says Dittmar, whose primary responsibility was to assist in analysis of business processes. “None of their systems really talked to each other. This was the first opportunity to bring everything under one umbrella system.”

Meade says QubicaAMF is seeing gains from unified IT—notably, improvements to volume purchases. In the past, five employees might buy the same part from the same vendor, but because that information was not being tracked there was no way to negotiate a discount. With new visibility from JD Edwards World system, Meade anticipates real savings for her company.

“There are probably 200 other examples I could give of things that were pain points for us,” she says. “Now we have the infrastructure in place to move in the right direction.”

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