In this blog, we engage in a conversation with Michael Drud Pedersen, the CFO of Natur-Drogeriet, exploring how specialized training for process owners and super-users on their Infor M3 platform has been crucial in breaking down silos, encouraging collaboration, and aligning the company’s operations with its digital ambitions and compliance requirements.
Learning makes the difference
In our modern culture, "learning by doing" has become a common approach to new technology. When starting a new job and learning new systems, we master our skills day by day, depending on the tasks we need to accomplish. However, some systems are so essential and pervasive for a company that it makes sense to learn them and understand their full potential in a methodical and intensive program with a steep learning curve. An example of this is the new training for Infor M3 soon-to-be super-users and process owners developed by Columbus - M3 360° Enablement.
Natur-Drogeriet, Denmark's oldest producer of natural remedies and foods, has been using M3 as its core ERP system for over a decade. However, during the company’s ongoing digitization journey, Natur-Drogeriet realized the need for a deeper understanding of how the system functions across the entire organization. As a result, they partnered with Columbus to join the training, which would help the company optimize its use of the M3 system, driving efficiency and performance.
The course takes participants through all modules of M3, providing a comprehensive understanding of the system. Targeted at individuals who are already familiar with M3 and adept at navigating the system, the course's goal is to offer participants a profound understanding of how the system integrates across various modules. The participants gain insight into how their work impacts others within the organization, thereby improving collaboration across departments.
Michael Drud Pedersen holds the role of CFO at Natur-Drogeriet, Denmark's oldest producer of natural remedies and foods, following the motto "You are what you eat." With a history dating back to 1945, the company has been using M3 as its ERP system for over a decade.
"M3 is our core system and my fundamental tool for understanding and working with our processes. I am involved in our ongoing digitalization, and it's important for me to know where the information I work with as CFO comes from and the impact it generates in our system when I perform certain actions. Because I'm in finance, where all the company's processes converge, it was essential for me to gain insight into how M3 functions throughout all levels of the organization," explains Michael Drud Pedersen.
M3 360° Enablement Training focuses on providing an understanding of end-to-end processes in M3 rather than just operating the system. It differs from other M3 training offerings by requiring physical attendance over the five days of the course. Participants go through an end-to-end process from start to finish, including purchasing, planning, production, sales, and finance.
"The course corresponds to how we work in our companies, and I liked that. We started by establishing products and customers in the system. We purchased raw materials, stocked them, initiated production, and followed the process all the way to sales and delivery to the customer we had created on the first day. Things were interconnected, and it was very realistic," says Michael.
The coherence in tasks also meant that there was learning in correcting mistakes when discovered.
"If on day four, we were stopped by a mistake we made on day two, we couldn't proceed until we went back in the process and corrected what we had done wrong. I learned a lot from that. The time needed to get the process back on track was spent, and I think everyone benefited from that."
We were all in the same boat
Attendance made a significant difference, Michael believes.
"In theory, it could have been done online, but it wouldn't work in practice, I think. Because when you suddenly face a problem and need quick help, having an instructor standing behind you, looking over your shoulder, means a lot. You get both quick assistance and can see how the problem is resolved. The instructor was very skilled. It was clear that she knew the system thoroughly and had practical experience with it. That means a lot to someone like me. She knew where the system could pose problems in the daily tasks we deal with, and she could share some good real-world anecdotes that were easy to relate to."
"In my current role, I deal with supplier setups, and the course gave me good ways to work so that I don't have to try things out on my own at home in my company. The course has given me a structured overview and greater confidence that I am using M3 in the most efficient way. I can clearly feel in my daily work that I have attended the course. Now, when I'm about to analyze our prices, I have a better understanding of how all our processes are interconnected."
The course is designed for 12 participants who work together in pairs, helping each other progress.
"We were paired so that we had the same area of interest in using M3. One was a bit more experienced, and the other was “greener”. It was a good combination. We exchanged experiences with our partner but also shared useful knowledge across the team because we were all in the same boat."
Two M3 courses complement each other
Columbus also offers the M3 Education Booster Kit, designed for brand-new M3 users who need to learn how to navigate the system. Therefore, M3 360° Enablement Training is the next step, and the two products complement each other.
M3 360° Enablement Training can also be useful for training key resources before an implementation or upgrade project, providing different project teams with a better understanding of each other.
The path involves thorough user training in M3's extensive functionality, video recordings, exercises, and questionnaires.
Digitalization and compliance
"In my early days at Natur-Drogeriet, I have greatly benefited from our IT manager, who is active in M3 User Group Denmark and has an extensive knowledge of the system. Because I am in a central role that interacts with the entire company, she wants me involved in the development of our digital processes. I should not limit myself to the parts of M3 that I initially deal with as CFO but use all parts of the system where it makes sense. Therefore, it has been very valuable for me personally and for Natur-Drogeriet as a company with digital ambitions that I have participated in M3 360° Enablement Training," says Michael Drud Pedersen.
In addition to general digitalization, there are increased demands for compliance, where the full utilization and understanding of the company's ERP system become crucial.
"Digitalization is not just about gaining benefits by streamlining processes that are currently manual. There are also legal requirements and external regulations pushing digitalization forward. For example, the new Danish accounting law on digital accounting and documentation storage brings additional requirements for digitalization," says Michael.
To summarize, it's important to note that a comprehensive understanding of the ERP system has become increasingly crucial. The M3 360° Enablement Training assists companies in meeting their expanding needs to shift away from silo-based thinking.
Achieving greater efficiency becomes significantly easier when employees develop insights into other processes and can more effectively utilize their shared ERP system. This is the primary objective of the M3 360° Enablement Training.