Pfingsten Partners is an operationally focused private equity firm focusing their investment criteria on middle market manufacturing, distribution and business service companies possessing significant growth and profit potential. Pfingsten’s philosophy is to build a better business through operational improvements, professional management practices, global capabilities, and profitable business. Since completing its first investment in 1991, Pfingsten Partners has raised four funds with total commitments of approximately $1.0 billion, and has acquired 83 manufacturing, distribution, and business services companies.
The business opportunity
In March of 2011, Pfingsten Partners acquired SII Holdings, L.L.C., (SII) a designer, manufacturer, and distributor of playground and recreational products and site amenity solutions for a variety of end markets including OEM’s, childcare, amusement, hotels, parks, schools, and the military. Upon completion of the SII acquisition, a number of strategic and operational initiatives were required to:
- Drive improvements in the company’s growth and channel strategies;
- Streamline manufacturing and logistics operations to improve financial and operational performance, and;
- Establish a cost effective information systems and technical infrastructure to support the current requirements of the business and serve as a platform for future organic growth and potential add-on acquisitions.
Pfingsten Partners and SII Holdings engaged the Enterprise Solutions and Growth Strategies practices at Baker Tilly to assist them in defining key aspects of their strategy, evaluating key solution components, and developing a solution roadmap.
The Baker Tilly solution
The consulting specialists at Baker Tilly brought IT strategy, solution evaluation, and project management methods combined with expertise in manufacturing and distribution, eCommerce and enterprise cloud solutions, to support SII’s development and management of an eCommerce strategy and overall IT improvement roadmap.
Specifically Baker Tilly:
- Developed and managed a technical infrastructure transition plan that included the selection of an offsite data center, WAN redesign, Voice over IP implementation, and the roll out of integrated office productivity tools to all locations
- Assisted in the evaluation of cloud ERP and other enterprise solutions to support process, organizational, and facility changes that were taking place at the same time. SII selected the following enterprise cloud solutions
- Assisted in the development of an eCommerce strategy including
- Coaching on software contract negotiation and structuring
- Developing an overall IT transition roadmap including detailed implementation plans and associated cost model
- NetSuite ERP – Quote to Cash, Procure to Pay, Manufacturing, Inventory Management, Financial Management, and reporting
- Configure One – Product and Solution Configuration
- eBizNet – Transportation and Warehouse Management
- Avalara – Sales Tax
- Epiphany – Job Costing
- Integration to salesforce.com for Account and Opportunity Management
- Analyzing existing internet marketing sites and associated architecture
- Rationalizing current internet marketing websites
- Conducting keyword research
- Defining future state web portal and eCommerce vision and requirements
- Supporting SII’s evaluation of search engine optimization and eCommerce solution development service providers
- Developing an implementation plan and initial cost-benefit model
Mirroring Pfingsten’s philosophy of building better businesses through operational improvements and professional management practices, Baker Tilly was able to help SII facilitate the reengineering that was taking place in the organization, integrate e-commerce, and introduce critical tools of innovation—with the goal of bringing greater efficiencies to all layers of the value chain.
Following the overall IT transition roadmap, SII completed the IT infrastructure transition plan in the Fall of 2011 after a June 2011 launch of transition activities. In November of 2011, SII launched the implementation phase of the ERP initiative with an expected go-live on significant portions of the solution in the summer of 2012.
Looking from a medium and long-term perspective, SII will benefit in these areas:
- Faster business growth by leveraging the internet channel to attract, respond to and capture online demand for SII’s products and services
- Improved SII branding through rationalization of online brands and product positioning by market segment and alignment with business and channel strategy
- Improved customer and dealer experience through the application of internet and cloud ERP solutions
- Improvements in order management, inventory, production, fulfillment and financial management through the application of integrated cloud ERP solutions
- Reduction in ongoing technical support costs through the use of cloud solutions, reducing long-term support and maintenance requirements