Case Study: Simpson Timber Company

Forest Products Firm Replaces PeopleSoft with Microsoft Dynamics GP, Saves $500,000 Annually

"Microsoft Dynamics GP works well in supporting our business at a much reduced cost compared to PeopleSoft"

Bob Schroeder, Corporate Controller, Simpson Investment

Simpson Investment Company, the parent company of one of the oldest forest products companies in the northwestern United States, spent 14 months to deploy PeopleSoft financial software. When the company needed to modify its solution to meet changed in its business, it turned to Microsoft Business Solutions - Great Plains (now Microsoft Dynamics GP) software, and to The Resource Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. The Microsoft Dynamics GP solution was deployed in half the time and for about one-third the deployment cost of the PeopleSoft software, and it continues to save Simpson $500,000 per year over the ongoing cost of the former solution. Simpson executives advise that the Microsoft Dynamics GP solution offers a more cost-effective use of hardware, is more reliable, and is easier and more intuitive for both the IT and accounting staff to use.

Simpson Investment Company, a privately held company, has been in the forest products business since 1890, through its subsidiary Simpson Timber Company. Today, Simpson has three operating subsidiaries, with manufacturing facilities in Washington and California.

In 2000, the company's executives chose PeopleSoft software to manage Simpson's financial and accounting functions - including general ledger, accounts receivable and payable, and fixed assets - for its business units and interstate business. Deploying PeopleSoft required 14 months of effort.

Simpson executives' concerns with the software grew for two reasons: First, the company underwent a downsizing as a result of changes taking place throughout the forest products industry. Second, it came time to upgrade from PeopleSoft 7.53 to version 8.0. If Simpson didn't upgrade, the company faced the prospect of using an unsupported system or paying an extra fee - beyond the annual maintenance fee it already paid - for continuing support. "The cost to remain on PeopleSoft was just too much," says Schroeder, "We had to look at alternatives."

Although cost was driving Simpson's move away from PeopleSoft software, the company also wanted to ensure that its new financial accounting software would provide the functionality it needed. Simpson identified several packages for serious consideration, including Epicor software, MAS500, and Microsoft Dynamics GP software. After demonstrations of each product, the company chose Microsoft Dynamics GP.

"It (Microsoft Dynamics GP) outperformed the competition in the way it addressed our specific business processes," comments Schroeder. "We felt that we could implement with minimal customization. And with Microsoft, we felt we were dealing with a company that has the resources and staying power to continue to innovate its product."

For its implementation partner, Simpson company executives chose The Resource Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and a leading provider of Microsoft Dynamics GP software in the Pacific Northwest. "We were very impressed with The Resource Group as a company," says Schroeder. "Their expertise and track record with Microsoft Dynamics GP gave us the confidence that they could help us with our deployment. And they made the effort to understand us and our needs, which we also felt would contribute to a successful deployment."

Microsoft Dynamics GP version 7.5 was deployed between March and October 2004, with Simpson deploying the full financial series across its entire enterprise, as well as the Microsoft Dynamics GP for Distribution series in its door manufacturing subsidiary.

Simpson Investment achieved major savings in its first year and expects significant savings on a continuing basis, thanks largely to the greater manageability, ease-of-use, and reliability of Microsoft Dynamics GP. Simpson estimates that by replacing PeopleSoft with Microsoft Dynamics GP, it will save the company about $500,000 per year on a continuing basis. In contrast to the PeopleSoft installation, which required 14 months of deployment for Simpson, the company implemented Microsoft Dynamics GP software in seven months.

In addition to faster and more cost-effective deployment, Microsoft Dynamics GP has also proven to be much faster and less expensive to upgrade than PeopleSoft. "We started deploying our upgrade on a Thursday afternoon, tested it over the weekend, and went live on Monday," says Schroeder. "That would never have happened with PeopleSoft."

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