Arch Aluminum & Glass Selects Microsoft Business Solutions–Axapta In Anticipation of Continued Growth

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 11, 2004 — Microsoft Business Solutions today announced that Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. Inc. has selected Microsoft Business Solutions as its enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor. In April 2004, after an extensive search process, Arch Aluminum & Glass purchased Microsoft
® Business Solutions–Axapta®
. Arch Aluminum & Glass will implement Microsoft Axapta in three phases; the initial stage of phase one, which links the corporate office to the manufacturing floor, has been completed. The company anticipates completing all three phases by 2005.

Founded in 1978, Arch Aluminum & Glass has experienced tremendous growth and is now considered one of the largest architectural glass and aluminum organizations in North America. Based in Tamarac, Fla., Arch Aluminum & Glass is a family-owned business with more than 20 manufacturing facilities in the United States and annual revenues of $200 million.

The search for an ERP solution that could be tailored to meet aggressive growth goals began when Kevin Aubuchon, the company’s chief information officer, realized that the homegrown, highly specialized technology Arch Aluminum & Glass had been using could no longer keep up with the company’s pace.

“Simply put, we needed a solution that could take us to the next level,” Aubuchon said. Aubuchon considered a number of vendors, narrowed the list down, and then invited the remaining vendors to demonstrate how their technology could respond to real-life scenarios.

“The big-guy solutions just didn’t work,” Aubuchon said.

Then Fullscope Inc., a Microsoft Certified Business Solutions partner, introduced Aubuchon to Fullscope’s specialty: Microsoft Axapta. Fullscope demonstrated how its team of certified Microsoft Axapta consultants could provide a smooth transition from Arch Aluminum & Glass’s existing technology to the sophisticated, fully functional Microsoft Axapta solution, with limited risk. “Arch Aluminum & Glass is an organization that is serious and strategic about its growth plans,” said Steve Reed, Axapta Practice Manager with Fullscope. “The company has very aggressive growth goals, and we are confident that Microsoft Axapta is the product that will help it get where it wants to go.”

Aubuchon said that Microsoft Axapta quickly emerged as the clear choice. “For us, selecting Microsoft Axapta was pretty much a no-brainer,” Aubuchon said. “It became obvious to us that once we completed the initial implementation of Microsoft Axapta we wouldn’t be required to have consultants in-house. We’re not a gigantic enterprise, so the ability to closely manage the bottom line is a critical consideration when we’re making IT investments.”

Although most of the solutions Aubuchon considered provided the basic functionality that Arch Aluminum & Glass required, Microsoft Axapta went above and beyond by offering the functionality across standard applications while also providing greater flexibility and better cost efficiencies. “This was our first venture into the ERP space, so finding a vendor that would provide the right cultural fit for Arch’s business philosophy was also a major criterion in our selection process,” he said. “Fullscope proved to be just that fit.”

Key to selecting Microsoft Axapta, Aubuchon said, was the importance Arch Aluminum & Glass places on the order procurement process. “We knew the solution we settled on needed to be flexible enough to support our broad line of value-added products for both glass and aluminum,” he said. “Microsoft Axapta was put to the test in replacing our in-house, customized system. The Product Builder tools, which are native to Microsoft Axapta, have proven to be intuitive and easy to use, which has minimized the need for customization.”

Also critical, according to Aubuchon, is Microsoft Business Solutions’ commitment to its financial management products. “At first, we were nervous about entering the world of financial management, or what is often termed ‘ERP,'” Aubuchon said. “Fullscope understood the fears we had as a small, family-owned business entering the ERP space and really gave ERP a good name. The functionality within Microsoft Axapta will provide us with what we need to drive our business forward and compete with the big boys. It fits our business and it fits our employees.”

About Microsoft Business Solutions

Microsoft Business Solutions offers integrated business applications and services that allow small and midsize organizations and divisions of large enterprises to connect employees, customers and suppliers for improved efficiency. The financial management, customer relationship management, supply chain management and analytics applications work with Microsoft products such as Office and Windows®
to streamline processes across an entire organization, giving businesses insight to respond rapidly, plan strategically and execute quickly. Microsoft Business Solutions applications are delivered through a worldwide network of channel partners that provide specialized services and local support tailored to a company’s needs.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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