Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Okuma America provides metalworking machines that maximize productivity for large manufacturers and small shops throughout North and South America. When Okuma needed to update its internal operations systems, it chose a software company and product that could help deliver the same “open possibilities” that it brings to its own customers: Microsoft Dynamics 365. Now Okuma America is surging ahead with a solution that seamlessly combines data from all the disparate areas of the company to drive revenue and market share growth.
Okuma sells complex products, giving every customer the unique features and functionality that they require. “Providing customized tools is our wheelhouse,” explains Vassil. “Those customizations must carry through our business systems.” Okuma’s product line includes 80 machine models with hundreds of possible options for each. Because it protects its customers against obsolescence, Okuma maintains the materials necessary to upgrade its machines in step with technological advances. “We’ve sold more than 60,000 machines in the Americas,” says Jim King, President and Chief Operating Officer at Okuma America. “Every machine we bring over from Japan has a unique part number, and every option for that machine also has a unique part number.” With a larger, more complex product line, Okuma found it difficult to maintain its initial system implementations—many of them 20 years old.
Okuma’s product lifecycle management software was obsolete. The company’s original enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was so heavily customized that it was nearly impossible to integrate it with other systems. And without a true customer relationship management (CRM) solution, salespeople didn’t have the 360-degree view they needed to build and maintain relationships. So, the company opted for a comprehensive solution to cover every business area.
The Okuma America business model is built on four pillars—sales, engineering, service (aftermarket parts and service), and operations—that must exchange data to optimize operations. King recognized a clear advantage in Dynamics 365, the modern and intelligent cloud applications suite that unifies CRM and ERP capabilities to break down data silos. Okuma was specifically interested in the Warehouse management, Accounts payable, Accounts receivable, General ledger, Master planning, Production control, and Procurement and sourcing modules in Dynamics 365 Finance and Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, along with Dynamics 365 Sales.
“As a manufacturer that sells through distribution channels, we know how important it is for customers to have a direct connection to us,” he says. “We got the same satisfaction from being able to deal directly with Microsoft team members who could help us with specific issues.”
The result was a modern, interoperable system that accelerates efficiency, supports collaboration, and improves sales with real-time data. With Microsoft Power Platform data integration, including Dataverse and Data Integrator, data flows seamlessly between the Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM solutions at Okuma. “We’ve completely streamlined and automated our processes from two or three different systems, where we were manually inserting information into requests coming directly from the distributor, all the way to a sales order where we can invoice, recognize revenue, and track all of our costs,” says Vassil.
Compliance with international regulations is part and parcel of that data integration. “Being a wholly owned subsidiary of a public company in Japan, we comply with the Japan Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission requirements,” explains King. “And we’ve simplified our compliance with those regulations by moving our systems to the cloud and having that Microsoft layer of security in place.”
Data makes the difference for Okuma America. Fast access to historical information streamlines customer service and sharpens business insights. “We’re able to understand market share growth better than ever before,” says King, “so we can drive revenue growth through an improved grasp on costing, the impact of sales decisions, and margins. In the end, this granularity helps us move through the cycle, from sales to operations. We’re excited to reimagine the possibilities for Okuma America.”