Adaptable asset: Flextronics relies on Baan ERP to create flexible business processes

As a world-reknowned electronics manufacturing service provider, Flextronics is known for devising and executing programs that meet all of its customers' precise needs. That's why this services provider relies on an easily adaptable ERP system: the Baan suite, now owned and supported by Infor.
By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff November 19, 2008

As a world-reknowned electronics manufacturing service provider, Flextronics is known for devising and executing programs that meet all of its customers’ precise needs. So it’s not surprising that

That system is the Baan ERP suite, now owned and supported by Infor . Steve Gearhart, VP of global solutions management for Flextronics, says the Baan package easily accommodates every change Flextronics makes in it business—including the acquisition of new companies.

When Flextronics buys a new company, as it has done frequently over the years, Gearhart says, the new entity can quickly be placed on the Baan system and absorbed into the Flextronics ecosystem.

“We can do it in-house, without requiring outside experts,” Gearhart says. “A large site can take a year, but a typical implementation time would be four months. At a small site, we can deploy in eight weeks.”

Flextronics has customized Baan to cater to the peculiarities of the electronics manufacturing services market.

“We’re not dealing with our own bills of material,” Gearhart explains. “We’re handling multiple customers’ bills of material, with the need to carefully segregate them. If we tried to do that [with the top-tier] ERP solutions, it would take years—and cost millions of dollars.”

Roughly 70 in-house developers and implementation experts support Flextronics’ efforts in these areas, notes Gearhart, who is responsible for the company’s ERP, HR, finance, and CRM systems. Over the years, Flextronics has developed a set of company-specific tools and add-ons that are closely integrated with the core Baan deployment.

“Not only are operating units getting ERP, but they’re getting workflow, purchase price variance management tools, and our in-house financial data warehouse,” Gearhart explains. “When we walk away from a site, we’re leaving behind a set of consistent, companywide, Baan-based processes that everyone in the business understands.”