Case Studies

GL Bowron

On a firm footing for the future

“SyteLine (CSI) could be implemented with minimal customisation as the solution was a very close fit to our requirements.”

Founded in 1879, Canterbury-based Bowron Sheepskins is internationally recognised for introducing the ‘Whitan Process’ in the ‘90s – a benchmark in tanning that results in improved quality sheepskins and significantly reduced environmental impact. However, not being in the habit of resting on its laurels, Bowron’s ethos is to focus on the future without forgetting the path it has already travelled.


The company accounts for some 90 people at its Christchurch head office, with facilities in Thailand employing another 100 for further finishing, before products are exported to the world.

Faced with an ageing enterprise resource planning system that saw staff working around instead of within it, Bowron realised that maintaining its competitiveness depended on accurate, consolidated information. Their old system hadn’t been sufficiently maintained for an extended period, and the hardware that hosted it was coming to the end of its life. As a result, more and more decisions were being made using spreadsheets, with critical data being created and exchanged outside of the ERP system.

“Accurate and timely information is absolutely critical to maintain competitiveness,” says Bowron business manager, Neil Shewan. “If we don’t know the product costing and other variables, we cannot make correct decisions”. With raw materials, which change from year to year, not all are fit for every product. That adds more layers to the difficulty of accurate management and drives up the need for detailed, timely information to make sound business decisions.”

Clearly the company was ready for a new ERP solution.

Solution: Infor CloudSuite SyteLine (CSI)

Given its design around industrial processes and comprehensive functionality for manufacturing sites, Infor CloudSuite SyteLine (CSI), demonstrated by EMDA, emerged as the best solution for Bowron:

SyteLine (CSI) could be implemented with minimal customisation as the solution was a very close fit to our requirements. The few customisations required would have no impact on our ability to easily upgrade to future versions,” Shewan explains. Bowron also opted for implementing the social collaboration tool Ming.le. Fully embedded with SyteLine (CSI) and Business Analytics, it allows employees to communicate, collaborate, and share documents, plans, photos, and videos from a centralised location, with all activity captured and easily searchable.

The implementation of ERP can be disruptive to business, requiring significant additional effort from internal resources; however, Shewan says that EMDA eased the pain through its demonstrable knowledge and experience:

“This is not something you can rush into, and having knowledgeable people who are committed to working through solutions to problems is wonderful.”


With the implementation of SyteLine (CSI) marking the completion of Phase One of the project, Bowron is now looking at extending the solution by implementing Infor’s business intelligence, asset management and quality control solutions. In due course, it will also seek to make the most of the social collaboration tool, Ming.le.

Shewan says that Bowron is already seeing the benefit of all business information remaining inside the system, with everyone reporting and making decisions based on the same data. Business managers can readily understand where and what their costs are across a diverse product mix, and manage that more closely.

Importantly, the solution is future-proofed. With minimal customisations, nothing stands in the way of upgrades taking place. “We can see that the system makes sense,” says Shewan. “More than that, the future looks good and we can see the signs that we’re headed in the right direction.”

84A1194C-7A6C-4C35-96A2-C28695003AC6@2x Created with sketchtool.

“This is not something you can rush into, and having knowledgeable people committed to working through solutions to problems is wonderful.”