Quaker Hougton's JD Edwards Integrations Project: Contingency Approach
About Quaker Houghton
Quaker Houghton is a global leader in industrial process fluids. With a robust presence around the world, including operations in over 25 countries, their customers include thousands of the world’s most advanced and specialized steel, aluminum, automotive, aerospace, offshore, can, mining, and metalworking companies.
In August 2019, Quaker Chemical Corporation and Houghton International joined forces and became one organization: Quaker Houghton. As a result of this combination, the company became twice its size from one day to the next. Naturally, this had a great impact on the business’s operations. It was decided that Houghton’s JD Edwards instance had to be merged into Quaker’s instance. This so-called ‘Integrations Project’ entailed the integration and roll-out of JDEdwards9.1 over all 25 sites worldwide.
JD Edwards Integrations Project
Quistor was Quaker Houghton’s preferred partner for the Integrations Project in Europe. Quistor had successfully supported implementation work for both QuakerChemical Corporation and HoughtonInternational in the past. This meant that they had experience with both JD Edwards templates and therefore were the perfect ally. The integrations project was a huge operation that required air travel from the IT staff to make sure all JD Edwards roll-outs were executed successfully. Marc-Jan Jongboer, IT manager of Quaker Houghton and in charge of the Integrations Project in Europe: “In Europe, eight roll-outs were on the agenda: Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. A great challenge, also because I faced a lack of resources in my own team during the project period. But with the cooperation of Quistor, it was absolutely doable.”
Flash forward to March 2020: the coronavirus hit Europe. This had a great impact on the execution of the Integrations Project. “We were already well on our way with the project when Covid hit and changed everything. Air travel completely stopped, and my staff and I couldn’t travel internationally anymore”, explains Marc-Jan. At this time, Quaker Houghton was in the middle of the roll-out in Sweden. “We were three weeks before the Go Live, in the User Acceptance Testing phase. Then suddenly all staff had to fly home before the airspace was closed. At that point it was unclear whether the Go Live could take place.”
Quaker Houghton and Quistor were looking for a solution to mitigate the Covid situation to be able to continue the roll-out through a remote basis but with local presence. This so-called “Contingency Approach” meant that Quistor supported Quaker with the roll-out in Sweden by adding a local Swedish consultant to the team who was able to travel to the office and assist during the testing phase and Go Live. All contact with the core template team took place through conference calls. This approach was a success and gave the confidence that this Contingency Approach should also be applied to all other roll-out sites.
It quickly became clear that all countries where implementations were scheduled needed a local consultant present on-site during milestone weeks: testing weeks, GoLive and month-end. This was the beginning of the so-called Contingency Team that Quaker Houghton and Quistor compiled for the Integrations Project. This Contingency Team consisted of Quistor JD Edwards consultants, who are based locally in the country of roll-out to avoid border travel restrictions. They also had high-level knowledge of the Quaker Houghton template and the advantage of speaking the local language.
“Due to Quistor’s network, they provided Quaker Houghton with experienced, local consultants within no time, which means that the project could be executed with out major delays.”
Serge Desloover, Senior Account Manager at Quistor: “Those consultants received a week’s training to prepare them properly. All consultants had JD Edwards knowledge beforehand, they preferably had a logistic profile, and were now trained how to operate as an extension of the internal project team. Moreover, the training focused on Quaker Houghton’s specific operating model so that there wouldn’t be any unpleasant surprises.”After the successful Go Live in Sweden, the roll-out in France was next on the agenda. Quistor also supplied local consultants in France who were on-site during the crucial phases and supported with the local requirements. The Go Live was a success. The implementation in France was another example that the Contingency Approach works.
Due to the existence of the Contingency Team, the roll-outs in Sweden, France and Italy were completed successfully. The central teams worked behind the scenes and the local teams worked with the local key users to manage the daily business during Go Live. Next on the agenda are Germany, the United Kingdom and the Nordics. We are continuously monitoring the Covid situation and at this moment it seems that travel is possible. However, the Contingency Approach remains.
Marc-Jan elaborates: “After Covid, when we can travel again, we will continue to work adopting the same approach. For 2022 we have chosen a staggered approach, with three different Go Live waves in the first six months. In the past, the team would split up and each consultant picked a site. That works in principle, but you will miss the smooth communication within the internal project team. Besides that, due to the challenging schedule and overlapping project timings, I believe working with a Contingency Team is more effective.
“The Contingency Approach is the best way for Quaker Houghton to finish all scheduled roll-outs, so we’ll continue working the same way in the future together with Quistor.”
The above example shows how important it is for a JD Edwards partner to have a reliable network. Serge: “Quistor has 260 employees on their payroll, but we have a huge network we can rely on if necessary. Knowing that someone can knock on your door at any time and you can provide them with an experienced, local consultant is a real added value.”