Excellent response times, a huge knowledge base and a flexible way of working are just some of the reasons why one of the UK’s leading metal producers chose Vanilla Solutions for IFS support.
Wolf Minerals, based near Plymouth in Devon, have been working with the company for two years on an ‘on demand’ basis.
“The flexible nature of our working with Vanilla is important to us,” said Mike Wayda, from Wolf Minerals.
“We rely on Vanilla for help and support if and when we need it,” he added.
Wolf Minerals is an ASX and AIM listed specialty metals producer based at Drakelands, a major global tungsten mine ten kilometres from Plymouth.
The Drakelands Mine has one of the Western world’s largest tungsten and tin resources, and provides a secure supply of tungsten for a global customer base.
The tungsten produced by Wolf is critical to a range of industrial, mining and agricultural applications and key uses are in cemented carbides, steel alloys, metal products, lighting, drill bits and jewellery.
“Vanilla support us for all things IFS, specifically procurement, financials, HR and maintenance,” explained Mike.
“The support we have received from Vanilla has always been excellent. We always get quality, quick responses and solutions. Whatever problem we’ve faced, they get back to you rapidly, via a phone call, Skype or email.
“They’ve even been here on site to help us, and I know they’re going to be visiting here again soon – sometimes you need to do things face to face, in-person, and that’s not a problem with Vanilla.”
Mike had particular praise for Vanilla Solution’s Head of Support Claire Valentine: “We talk to a few people at Vanilla who’ve always been knowledgeable, helpful and really good to deal with, but Claire has been a huge help to me personally and the company,” he said.
“Vanilla know IFS inside out and the speed at which they work is impressive, but they’re also determined and tenacious and obviously communicate internally very well; they always know what someone else from the company has told us,” Mike added.
Another reason why Wolf Minerals continue to use Vanilla Solutions is that the support is UK-based: “That is a definite advantage – there are no issues about time zones, language or culture, it’s just easier,” Mike explained.
Various support options are available. As well as the on-demand service that Wolf uses, Vanilla Solutions offers a subscription-based option with a monthly fee.
“The customer can choose what works best for them. We aren’t precious and if a customer needs things to work a certain way, we’re always happy to accommodate them. Our excellent support analysts can also call on the expertise of our in-house consulting and technical teams if and when required,” explained Vanilla Solutions Director Andy Bell.
“Our services are set up to give customers a single point of contact for all functional and technical support issues with IFS Applications and the IFS Extended Server. Our Core Support service offers the essentials that you need to keep your business going for a low monthly fee. In addition, we have a range of Extended Support options,” he explained.
To talk to Vanilla Solutions about your options, call 0845 388 3936 or email email@example.com
The company was founded in 2009 by directors Jason Belcher and Andy Bell, both of whom had long careers working in IT, and with IFS Applications in particular.
Vanilla Solutions seeks to empower its customers, bringing knowledge, clarity and certainty to complex ERP and business change projects. Renowned for its jargon-free, no-nonsense approach, Vanilla has been successful in winning business in both the blue-chip and SME sectors.
Vanilla is playing a key role in the expansion of the world’ s largest independent manufacturer of specialist subsea vehicles.
Tyneside-based Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD) provide remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and specialist trenching systems to sectors such as oil, gas, offshore wind, defence and telecoms.
Headquartered in the UK, SMD design and manufacture from their facilities in Wallsend and North Shields, with a sales and support office in Singapore and more recently a new design and manufacturing facility near Shanghai, China.
When SMD needed Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to help run the new plant, they turned to Vanilla Solutions, ERP and IFS specialists, who have a Technology and Support Centre (TaSC) based in Hoults Yard, Newcastle.
Paolo Zaino, IFS Support Manager at SMD, said: “Vanilla have been helping us to set up an IFS ERP system which is the software the Shanghai plant will use to run their operations. This has involved setting up a new database for the China office and migrating data from our UK database to our new one.
“SMD Shanghai will initially employ around 40 employees but we expect this to grow as the China market matures.
“We’ve been working with Vanilla on the SMD Shanghai project since the beginning of 2017, so approximately a year, but have worked with Vanilla in a number of different areas for three or four years,” said Paolo.
“They were chosen because they could provide the range of skills that SMD were looking for in a consultancy to complete this task. The SMD Shanghai Project required robust project management, good technical expertise and also a comprehensive functional knowledge in order to successfully complete the project. Vanilla Solutions were enthusiastic about being involved from the start,” he explained.
“Vanilla Solutions work closely with their customers as a team, providing the understanding and flexibility that is required on a complex project of this nature,” he added.
Claire Valentine, Support Manager at Vanilla Solution’s TaSC, said: “Three of us have been working with SMD on the project and it’s getting busier now we’re nearing the go live date.
“SMD needed a comprehensive ERP solution to support its business processes and simplify its manufacturing processes and we’ve moved the Shanghai operation on to IFS. What we’re implementing will be an over-reaching solution incorporating asset and project management, business analytics, finance and HR as well as contract, document and work order management.
“We also have about 30 million records to migrate from one database to another, and then we need to detach the new database from the source, so there will be no communications between the two.
“We’ve been working with SMD for a while and their expansion has been impressive,” Claire added.
SMD’s new 7200m² facility will bring additional resources and focus to the company’s East Asian expansion plans.
Vanilla Solutions has offices in Newcastle and Grimsby and is one of the leading providers of IFS applications-related services in Europe and provides consultancy, support and products to the wider ERP market.
The Newcastle office is also the hub for Vanilla’s R&D activities and such has been the demand for the TaSC’s services, Vanilla has doubled its workforce from three to six – and is looking to recruit yet more to its team.
Clients include BAE Systems, Skanska and Largo Foods, and the company employs 27 people across the UK and their two offices.
WHEN one of the region’s power stations was in need of IT support they turned to one of the UK’s leading enterprise software specialists – Vanilla Solutions.
Lynemouth Power Ltd, based on the Northumberland coast, is currently undergoing a conversion project, from coal to biomass generation. The conversion is due to be completed and the new power station commissioned this year.
The project, which includes a new facility at Port of Tyne, has had IT implications for the company which runs Lynemouth Power Station.
The company’s two-man IT team had been depleted when Applications Analyst Chris Wharton left to join Vanilla Solutions.
Lynemouth Power had looked around for the right level of IT support and several companies produced quotes for the work – but they chose Vanilla Solutions.
Vanilla had provided Lynemouth with urgent IT support and the level of service provided and the depth of knowledge, particularly around Lynemouth’s IFS applications, were factors in Lynemouth’s decision.
Chris had been at the power company for nearly five years and was jointly responsible for running its IT operations. He maintained and configured the company’s IFS application which provided Lynemouth with its maintenance scheduling, finance, procurement and HR functionalities and also helped with the implementation of Microsoft Sharepoint 2013.
“We’d previously worked with Vanilla, and obviously we knew Chris, so we spoke to Vanilla Solutions about contracting the team for a set number of hours and an agreement was reached,” said Dean Huddleston, IT Infrastructure Analyst at Lynemouth Power.
Because of the conversion project, it is a particularly busy time for Lynemouth, now owned by Czech-based energy company Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH).
“Our business now also involves a new site at Port of Tyne so it is vital we have the IT support we need and Vanilla Solutions were working with us again within six weeks of Chris leaving. The IFS application is important to the smooth running of the company, so we have to get it right and knowing the Vanilla team is helping and supporting us is reassuring. They’ve also been working on Sharepoint with us too.
“The Vanilla team has been great to work with – obviously very knowledgeable with a deep understanding of IFS and ERP solutions, but also very flexible, responsive and friendly. It’s been a huge help to us that they knew the business and the project,” added Dean.
About Lynemouth Power Ltd:
Lynemouth Power Ltd runs Lynemouth Power Station, a 420 Megawatt power station situated on the Northumberland coast. The station has generated electricity from coal since 1972. The plant was originally built, owned and operated by Alcan with the purpose of providing safe and secure energy for the production of aluminium at the adjacent Lynemouth Smelter.
The station is currently undergoing conversion from coal burn generation to biomass. On completion, the new power station will be able to generate up to 420 megawatts of low carbon electricity. The company employs 146 people.
Established in 2009 Vanilla Solutions is a no-nonsense, customer friendly systems integrator and consulting company offering a broad range of training, support, and technical services to users of modern ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) and BI (Business Intelligence) applications. They are specialists in IFS Applications and also partners and resellers of the Qlik product suite, Nicelabel label management and automation products and Novacura’s innovative ‘Flow’ mobility and process execution platform.