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How Grimsby IT expertise is driving dive technology

A GRIMSBY-based enterprise software specialist is playing a key role in the expansion of the world’s largest independent manufacturer of specialist subsea vehicles.

How Grimsby IT expertise is driving dive technology

Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd provide remotely operated vehicles and specialist trenching systems to sectors such as oil, gas, offshore wind, defence and telecoms.

Headquartered in the UK, the business designs and manufactures from facilities in Wallsend and North Shields, with a sales and support office in Singapore and more recently a new design and manufacturing facility near Shanghai, China.

When the company needed Enterprise Resource Planning software to help run the new Chinese plant, it turned to Grimsby-based Vanilla Solutions, an ERP and IFS specialist.

Claire Valentine, support manager at Vanilla, said: “Three of us have been working with SMD on the project and it’s getting busier now we’re nearing the go live date.

“SMD needed a comprehensive ERP solution to support its business processes and simplify its manufacturing processes and we’ve moved the Shanghai operation on to IFS. What we’re implementing will be an over-reaching solution incorporating asset and project management, business analytics, finance and HR as well as contract, document and work order management.

“We also have about 30 million records to migrate from one database to another, and then we need to detach the new database from the source, so there will be no communications between the two.

“We’ve been working with SMD for a while and their expansion has been impressive,” Claire added.

SMD’s new 7200m² facility will bring additional resources and focus to the company’s East Asian expansion plans.

Vanilla Solutions has offices in Grimsby and Newcastle and is one of the leading providers of IFS applications-related services in Europe and provides consultancy, support and products to the wider ERP market.

Clients include BAE, Babcock, Skanska & Largo Foods, and the company employs 27 people across the UK and their two offices.

Paolo Zaino, IFS support manager at SMD, said: “Vanilla has been helping us to set up an IFS ERP system which is the software the Shanghai plant will use to run operations. This has involved setting up a new database for the China office and migrating data from our UK database to our new one.

“SMD Shanghai will initially employ around 40 employees but we expect this to grow as the China market matures.

“We’ve been working with Vanilla on the SMD Shanghai project since the beginning of 2017, but have worked with Vanilla in a number of different areas for three or four years,” said Paolo.

“They were chosen because they could provide the range of skills that SMD were looking for in a consultancy to complete this task. The SMD Shanghai Project required robust project management, good technical expertise and also a comprehensive functional knowledge in order to successfully complete the project. Vanilla Solutions were enthusiastic about being involved from the start,” he explained.

“Vanilla Solutions work closely with their customers as a team, providing the understanding and flexibility that is required on a complex project of this nature,” he added.

Claire Valentine and Paolo Zaino, with the subsea vehicle that has led to the rapid expansion.

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