Reference case

Altrad Services Benelux: how two competitors became an innovative market leader supported by one ERP

Halfway through the pandemic, Altrad Services Benelux executed an ambitious digitalization plan by enrolling Business Central in six of its companies. On top of that, they managed to merge two of their biggest companies in Belgium. A success story, enabled by hard-working people and a lot of determination.

Leading industrial multi-service provider

Hertel Group and Balliauw Group were two major competitors in the Benelux until the international group Altrad decided to acquire both businesses. It was the start of an ambitious integration plan, which contained the digitalization of the entire organization including the implementation of a new ERP system: Microsoft Navision.

Together, the two groups own more than ten companies, with over 3500 employees. They are the leading industrial multi-service provider for access solutions, insulation, tracing, corrosion protection and asbestos removal.

Together they are one team with one brand, one vision and one goal: Altrad Services Benelux.

Focus on change management

The ambitious integration and digitalization plan of Altrad Services Benelux started in 2017 and will continue in the next couple of years.

At the start of the project in January 2019, already three companies were running on Microsoft Navision: two Belgian companies of the Hertel group and one logistics company. To address the major challenges that lay ahead, an extra ERP project manager was needed. The challenges included

  • an upgrade of Microsoft Navision to the newest version Dynamics Business Central;
  • the go-live of the majority of the Balliauw companies, both in Belgium and the Netherlands;
  • the merger of the two largest Belgian companies – Balliauw and Hertel.

Though both companies were active in the same industry, their operational processes were not aligned and needed to be analyzed and optimized. Throughout the integration, we aimed for “the best of both worlds”.

As often happens during projects with this degree of complexity, aversion to change was strong. People with very different mindsets and major differences in work culture needed to become colleagues, form one department and follow a new set of procedures.

Communication was the key to success

Lies Van der Goten, Project Consultant MI&S

Support on multiple levels

A TriFinance MI&S consultant that possessed expert knowledge in financial process, business analysis and years of experience in managing ERP implementations proved to be the perfect fit for Altrad Services. Having dealt with large ERP implementations before, the consultant was able to support the client on multiple levels:

  • She was responsible for the implementation of the Business Central system, including interfacing and implementation of other software such as a credit management system and an invoice OCR system.
  • She acted as the perfect link between the client and their partners. Not all partners had the necessary maturity level which meant bringing structure and guidance into the project.
  • She also supported the client’s users by listening to their problems, found ways to improve work procedures and if necessary, translated their business requirements into clear instructions for internal IT or partners.

Due to her combined IT and finance background, her dedication as project manager, the deep dive into processes, Lies was extremely valuable and contributed highly to the successful implementation of the project. She's a very nice person to work with and a proactive team member.

Myriam Daenen, CFO Altrad Services Benelux