Featured Corporate Member:
In a nutshell, what is your company all about?
iPlan is an international firm of consultants who empower our clients by making complex business processes and systems work for them in their environment with their people. We project manage complete ERP, WMS and similar business system implementation projects for our clients; and we do much more. We are experts in business process design and implementation. We design our clients’ to-be business process blueprints; then build and implement business system solutions that work optimally with modern technology such as Cloud; and we enable successful transition of the human capital through a discontinuous change event such as a Go-live.
What differentiates your company from others in the industry?
Firstly, we all collectively own our own company. Secondly, our implementation methodology is constructed to integrate change management and system implementation activities considering “People”,” Process” and “System” aspects simultaneously during all the phases of an implementation project. iPlan’s methodology has been fine-tuned over 20 years making use of best practices in project and change management methodologies to suit the need of our clients to implement a system successfully and cost effectively. We have a successful track record of making it work as part of our client’s team for the duration of the project. We have worked on projects in the USA, the UK, Australia, the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong; the whole of South Africa; and other African locations including Uganda, Malawi, Namibia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and the Congo. We have offices in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States, and in Pretoria and Cape Town in South Africa.
What is your company’s most recent accomplishment?
Two years ago, we implemented a top tier ERP system for a corporation with head office, sales and marketing in the US, manufacturing in the Philippines, and supply chains sourcing from multiple global locations. Our consultants travelled from country to country to ensure business process design accommodated overall corporate business objectives and integrity, yet allowed for localization in terms of legislative, tax, language, and cultural differences. Then we built the system according to the business process design using global Cloud technologies. Finally, we trained personnel to operate everything and we trained executives to leverage the process and systems in pursuit of corporate goals. Last year we ran a number of mini-projects for them to accelerate accurate flow of requirements up the supply chain and visibly progress delivery down the supply chain to end customers. This year we helped them respond to Covid-19 lockdown by redesigning some business processes and adapting system elements for work-from-home.
What is the biggest challenge your company faces in the industry?
The recent restrictions on travel due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. A key aspect of our support for our clients is the focus weeks that we spend at our clients’ sites to proactively identify and correct developing situations, foresee and ‘head-off’ problems from occurring, and exploit opportunities that become apparent. Without this regular timeslot on-site, support can easily degrade to reacting only when things have already gone wrong, address system issues only, and miss opportunities for improvement. Being on-site is an opportunity to focus on priorities in context; address developing situations and for iPlan to add value to Client Steering Committee meetings where Executives need to be in touch with the heartbeat of their business systems and processes in order to make important decisions. We do work comfortably and easily with Teams, but our motto is ‘It’s personal’. Some things require face-to-face. We look forward to burying 2020.
How does your company approach recruiting and retaining talent? What challenges do you face?
We rely heavily on the personal connections of our current staff to help find ideal candidates. The reason for this is that iPlan has a very strong and unique company culture and we also measure potential candidates by their ability to fit into this culture. We require a very particular skill set, sometimes even more of an aptitude than a particular skill, that is difficult to identify in potential candidates, especially young candidates. We therefore make use of a comfortable “mentor-mentee” relationship between new staff and more experienced colleagues.
Why is your company a CSCMP Corporate Member?
iPlan is a global business working in Supply Chain and CSCMP is the preeminent global Supply Chain organization. We must be part of CSCMP! iPlan has a long history with CSCMP and our employees are heavily involved with the organization. Our founder and Chairman, Abré Pienaar, served on the Board of Directors from 2006 through 2008. In 2013 Abré was recognized for his lifetime contribution to the Supply Chain Management profession with CSCMP’s “Distinguished Service Award”. iPlan’s General Manager for the Supply Chain business unit, Adri McCaskill, served on the Young Professionals Committee (YPC) from 2013 through 2020. She served on the Board of Directors from 2016 to 2018 where she was the Chair of the YPC. Dawie Faurie, who works in our Digital Transformation business unit, has been a member of the YPC from 2018 till present. Being involved with CSCMP has not only helped our company to stay up to date with changes in our industry, but also to be involved in those changes and connect with some of the brightest Supply Chain minds around the world.
How do you as a company approach customer satisfaction?
We have always been system agnostic, believing that our customers’ unique situation will determine which system would be best suited for their needs. Therefore, we divided the company into four business units, each tasked to being an industry leader in one of the products that we offer. Our Digital Transformation unit is uniquely positioned to serve the agricultural market with their main product, LINKFRESH. LINKFRESH is an ISV that is completely built into the Microsoft stack. Our Supply Chain business focus on Microsoft Dynamics projects and have experience and expertise in implementing Microsoft D365 Finance and Operations for clients with sites across the globe requiring a common vision business process, while applying localization for certain process components of the implementation. Our Business Systems Implementation unit focus on Acumatica which is a low-cost ERP that is purely build for Cloud. Strategic Solutions unit builds on iPlan’s longstanding reputation as being the “go-to” SYSPRO implementer in the world.
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