More than 30 million tons of sugar beets are grown in the United States each year, and organizations such as Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative turn the hardy crop into millions of pounds of pure sugar. Minn-Dak is comprised of 480 shareholders, primarily farmers, that bring their sugar beet crop to the cooperative for processing. It’s a busy, year-round, round-the-clock manufacturing operation with more than 500 employees. To keep its plant running at peak efficiency, Minn-Dak chose to streamline its procurement process with Paramount WorkPlace.
“We’ve been using Paramount WorkPlace for over five years,” recalls John Wieser, IT Manager at Minn-Dak. “Honestly, I don’t know how we functioned before; it has completely streamlined our procurement cycle and brought us enormous efficiencies.”
Replacing a Manual System
Prior to implementing Paramount WorkPlace, Wieser describes the organization’s procurement process as a manual one. “Purchase requests and requisitions were submitted in a spreadsheet, or an email, or even handwritten on a piece of paper,” he says. “The purchasing department would have to manually seek the necessary approvals, and then rekey everything into our ERP application.”
It used to take Minn-Dak two full days to turn around a requisition request. Now the process is complete in less than half a day. “We require Paramount WorkPlace requisitions for all purchase orders,” notes Wieser. “It keeps all our company spending visible and auditable.”
Paramount WorkPlace Fits Like a Glove
The organization uses Microsoft Dynamics GP, and worked with its Microsoft business partner to identify a procurement management solution that would integrate. “We considered one other application, Ariett, but found that Paramount WorkPlace was cleaner, neater, and simpler,” says Wieser. “All these years later, we’re still convinced we made the right decision.”
In addition to the tight integration with Dynamics GP, Minn-Dak also takes advantage of Paramount WorkPlace’s integration with its job costing and equipment maintenance application. “We’re able to code a purchase to a specific capital expense project or a service call,” explains Wieser. “We really appreciate the way it fits so well into the way we do business.”
Integration with ERP
Rush describes the implementation as comprehensive and completely tailored to the company. “We worked directly with the consultants at Paramount WorkPlace to implement the software,” he says. “The software is highly flexible, with a multitude of configuration options, so it was very helpful to have their expertise in setting up the solution to meet our company’s needs. They helped us establish and implement the various approval routings, and showed us how to leverage the product’s functionality.”
Used Throughout the Organization
Every employee with access to a company computer has access to Paramount WorkPlace, and together the organization’s staff initiates about 10,000 requisitions annually. “Everything from office supplies, to factory equipment, to service calls goes through the software,” notes Wieser.
As requisitions are entered, the software automatically performs various validation checks, such as whether the user has authorization to purchase against specific general ledger accounts, or whether the purchase exceeds the budget amount. “If it passes the system’s check, it goes into the normal approval workflow — typically to the employee’s supervisor for review and approval,” explains Wieser. Once approved, Paramount WorkPlace creates a purchase order directly in Dynamics GP. “Purchasing then emails the purchase order to the vendor,” adds Wieser. “It’s entirely paperless, and there’s no duplicate data entry required.”
Minn-Dak leverages the flexible approval configuration settings in Paramount WorkPlace to assign individual user approval limits, which might vary from $1 to $500,000. The solution’s smart approval routing process directs each requisition through the designated approvers based on factors such as who initiated the request, the dollar value, vendor, department, or item classification.
It Just Works
Wieser says he’s always been pleased with the technical support he receives from Paramount WorkPlace. “I always receive a quick response. I think that it’s because the product works so well that the support team isn’t very busy! Honestly, the product just works. We have had very few issues.” He concludes, “Overall, Paramount WorkPlace continues to exceed my expectations. Our staff uses it, they love it, and it fits the way we do business. It’s hard to beat that.” out of the office doesn’t have to slow the approval process of our expense reports and purchase requests.”