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The Future Is Now With CMiC

If there’s one thing you can say about Manson as a company, it’s that our employees are thoroughly invested in our future. Day in and day out, our personnel are constantly hard at work to keep our name amongst the best in the marine construction industry.


In 2020, a think tank of Manson people, from across all departments and regions, joined in a collaborative effort for 14 months to arrive at a decision that would shape the company’s future. The introduction of Computer Methods International Corporation (CMiC), an innovative Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, will improve Manson’s business operations for generations to come.


WHAT IS AN ERP?


An ERP is an all-in-one software system that shares information needed for day-to-day operations for Accounting, Payroll, HR, Operations, Equipment Maintenance, and other essential functions for business units to operate smoothly and efficiently. ERPs consolidate core functional data across a shared platform with a shared user experience, acting as a single “source of truth” for all shared business data.

With an ERP, data and assets are securely stored within one system rather than multiple systems. Consolidating to only one system provides companies with more control and assurance of their data integrity and security than they would have with multiple, redundant systems.


WHAT SYSTEMS COMPRISE AN ERP?


For Manson, the ideal ERP would help us cut down on redundancy, increase efficiency, stability and security, and serve as a reliable source for business data analysis. Manson sought an ERP solution that we could learn from and grow into — using best practices and development founded on the principles of like-minded companies within our industry.


A group of people in a brainstorm session.
A look at CMiC's "To Be" brainstorming sessions with various members from the Manson Executive Steering Committee, Manson Project Management Team, TILSON consultants, and representatives from Manson’s six functional teams in attendance.

JOURNEY TO CMIC


Coupled with Manson’s growth and the advancement of technology solutions, the company has come to rely on over 25 different software systems to run the business. The use of a variety of systems has led to an inconsistent user experience for Manson personnel. Common inconveniences include hurdling through different login protocols, navigating through multiple software, software redundancy, and struggling to locate important information. “It’s no secret that people are data-hungry—we all need information to do our jobs effectively,” says Rachel Odell, CRM manager. “The question often is, where is the best place to go find what we need?”


With Manson’s core values in mind, executive leadership, along with a collection of regional personnel, have over the last three years held many discussions on finding one encompassing ERP that satisfies the needs of the company. Much like the construction industry, ERPs and Financials are constantly improving their software and implementing new technology to adapt with the times. Manson’s current Financials system was undergoing upgrades that would present yet another change for the user experience at Manson.


Looking to find a better way, IT Director Joe Hussin and Controller Steve Kiel initially explored CMiC and saw the product’s potential to alleviate the various pain points brought on by Manson’s current ERPs and business software. To ensure this priority project met company-wide needs for change, Manson Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer Jeff Arviso initiated a Think Tank to assemble subject matter experts (SMEs) within Manson who understand our current business processes and systems. The core team consisted of Jeff, Joe, Steve, Rachel, and Mike Warwick, Manson vice president and chief civil engineer–dredging, along with sixteen SMEs across all regions and departments. Their mission was to brainstorm, map the current processes, identify pain points, demonstrate and evaluate new product options, and to ultimately recommend the shift to a new ERP that would best respond to Manson’s business needs. The team also explored other ERPs on the market, but ultimately decided to focus exclusively on CMiC. “Out of those discussions, we came to the conclusion that CMiC would lead us to our goal of finding that ‘one sense of truth,’” Rachel says. “Meaning that the system would allow everyone to interact with the same product.”


To help further validate the Think Tank findings and ensure that all options were considered, a construction technology consultant was hired. The consultant provided an autonomous review of the core team’s internal discovery and evaluation process, ensuring that the right questions were asked confirming that all ‘boxes’ were checked. This process was invaluable in ultimately selecting CMiC as the new ERP business system.


Taking on a project of this scale—one that would impact Manson’s operations for years — the core team knew specialized expertise with implementing CMiC would be required. While attending the CMiC user conference, CONNECT 2021, the core team met with members from Tilson Technology, and a bond was forged. Tilson’s approach to implementation is highly collaborative, hands-on, and interactive. The core team also expanded to include Anna Holmes, learning and development generalist, to support end user training needs and Jon Nowak, project engineer, to help manage the project budget and schedule and to oversee tracking issues/resolutions.


Four months into the software’s implementation, team leads Steve Kiel (Finance / Payroll), Kelli Rider (Job Cost & Revenue), Renee Williams (Purchasing), Brad Martin and Brian Lorenz (Equipment), and Suzanne Vincent and Danika Brown (HCM/HR) are working collaboratively with their Tilson consultants and making strong headway toward our target launch date in Spring 2023.


WHY CMIC?


CMiC is an ERP system that will steer Manson’s day-to-day business operations into one cohesive operating system. While there are various ERPs available on the market, CMiC started as a financial accounting software geared specifically toward the construction industry and is the best fit for Manson to consolidate our systems and ease the pain points brought on by our current diverse software.

It offers full automation and productivity of multiple back-office functions. In addition, CMiC will provide resources and support for field operations to include project management, equipment and asset management, and streamlined communication for teams.


The software will mark major improvements for Manson as an entire business organization. The implementation of CMiC will affect all departments from the top down as it replaces redundant systems and processes, removes overlapping technologies, increases efficiency, and improves system functionality. “The biggest advantages will be use of advanced reporting tools and more efficiency when it comes to locating information,” says Steve Kiel, Manson controller. “CMiC’s interface will also provide groups like the Operations team with a dashboard feature containing graphs and points of access to important information.”


Manson will have the ability to execute a multitude of functions under one system that will benefit our business as a whole. The program will bring forth the standardization of business processes across our four main services: Marine Construction, Dredging, Offshore, and Heavy Lift Services. It will introduce further accessibility and will unify the Manson user experience for all personnel. CMiC will also eliminate unnecessary documents and manual reporting, ensuring a structured, automated system.



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