How OPRA Turbines is leveraging technology to drive the energy transition
OPRA Turbines develops, produces and maintains ultramodern gas turbine systems. This Dutch manufacturer, founded in 1991, serves customers all over the world. OPRA’s mission is to drive the global energy transition. Its gas turbines are reliable and cost-effective power generators that are able to convert dirty fuel gas into green electricity and clean exhaust gas.
The process of developing and manufacturing a gas turbine system is highly complicated. The turbine is modular and can be made in different designs, while its housing has to be primarily drawn and can be different each time. OPRA works according to both Engineering to Order (ETO) and Configure to Order (CTO). As a result, the company deals with complex business processes and lead times of several months, in which development and production flows must be perfectly coordinated.
In the past, OPRA used a combination of SAP Business One (ERP) and Salesforce (CRM) to deal with production, finance, purchasing, sales and logistics streams. “We were utilizing outdated versions of these systems, which lacked important functionality and were unable to communicate with each other,” says Robbie Greving, Finance Manager at OPRA. “As a result, planning, production, project reporting and consolidation were done manually. It was cumbersome and prone to errors.
In 2020, we started looking for a suitable platform and a partner to help us improve our processes and working methods. We recognized that we needed the cloud to enable digital transformation and to prepare for the future. We also had international growth ambitions and wanted to respond flexibly to trends such as predictive maintenance. Pulse understood what we needed and had the required implementation, platform and market knowledge.”
Initially, OPRA considered both Business Central and Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations as platforms for its digital transformation. “The latter ultimately proved better able to support the international structure of the organization, as well as the complex business processes and how our projects and production are intertwined,” says Nick Cattier, buyer and project manager at OPRA. “Everything we need is in there, so we didn’t need any additional modules.
We recognized that we needed the cloud to enable digital transformation and to prepare for the future.Robbie Greving, Finance Manager at OPRA
One of our key processes involves MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul). This process was previously not digitally supported but is well implemented and integrated into Dynamics 365. That allows us to use data from our ERP and the field when optimizing and maintaining machines. We can anticipate which machines need maintenance and which resources are needed for that.”
After the initial contact with Pulse, OPRA wanted to get to the point quickly, Nick continues. “We wanted to be ready in time for the start of the new fiscal year. That’s why wanted to go live within five months. After a series of introductory and in-depth meetings, we started the project in the summer of 2020. Because there was no time to lose, we chose a clear delineation of the project together with Pulse.
Using Pulse’s Sure Step Focus methodology, we created an MVP within eight weeks. The structured way of working in sprints took some getting used to, but both the project team and the key users really liked it. It improved focus and collaboration and helped us to go live so quickly. In the future, we will also use this approach to improve the quality of our other projects and processes.”
Of course, digital transformation projects have their ups and downs. Robbie: “It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but we managed to go live at the beginning of this year. In the end, the project had a delay of three weeks. We deliberately opted for this to ensure that the data quality was in order and to properly set up authorizations and output management.” For key users, the implementation was challenging at times, Robbie realizes. “It requires a change in the mindset as suddenly you have to think in a much more integrated way. Fortunately, we received good support in the form of extra capacity, training and work instructions.”
The structured way of working helped us to achieve a succesful go-live within five monthsNick Cattier, buyer and project manager at OPRA
“With the implementation of Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations, OPRA has the desired foundation for a multi-company project and product environment that optimally supports logistics and financial flows,” says Erwin Berends, Sales Director at Pulse. Robbie agrees. “We can finally connect our branches in the US and China and expand our business activities. In addition, we can focus on many more details and growth opportunities since the entire business process – from the moment an order is booked until it leaves logistics – runs more smoothly.
The new ERP system is more integrated, which results in numerous quick wins. We now know exactly what is going on and can harness the power of data.” To complete the circle, OPRA is considering the use of Customer Engagement.
OPRA’s digital journey is not yet at an end, Robbie concludes. “We now have a wonderful foundation on which to build. For example, we plan the digitization of our field service, which will give our professionals on-site, easy access to up-to-date work instructions and other relevant information, allowing them to work faster and more effectively. We also want to develop business intelligence further to mobilize data from both ERP and CRM. This will enable us to follow trends, make connections and create reports that will help us stay in control.”