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The Customer

LaCrosse Footwear, Inc. is a leading developer and marketer of branded, premium, and innovative footwear for expert work and outdoor users. The company’s Danner and LaCrosse brands are distributed domestically through a nationwide network of specialty retailers and distributors, and internationally through distributors and retailers in Asia, Europe, and Canada. Work customers include people in law enforcement, agriculture, construction, industry, military services, and other occupations that need high-performance and protective footwear as a critical tool for the job. Outdoor customers include people active in hunting, outdoor cross training, hiking, and other outdoor recreational activities.

The Challenges

For over 100 years, LaCrosse has been dedicated to their customers, delivering innovative, high-quality footwear solutions that help them move “forever forward” in life. As a loyal Microsoft customer, LaCrosse was still running its original on-prem Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 implementation to manage its business operations and supply chain. Although it had served them well for the better part of a decade, the system was now feature-limited, heavily customised, and had reached end-of-life.

Sadri Behbahany, CIO at LaCrosse Footwear, claimed that, as the system is now out-of-date, the system maintenance was getting exceeding complex and costly. The company spent a large amount of time and resources on trying to keep the system up and running. They were not able to give their internal and end customers what they wanted in terms of features, and deployment of changes and updates took several days.

The legacy ERP system also had serious reliability issues, often crashing during the company’s busiest times — including Black Friday when volumes were high. Downtime and long-running and locked-up processes slowed down order processing, inventory allocation, shipping, and invoicing. This caused havoc for IT and created frustration and negative experiences for users and customers.

Faced with aggressive growth drivers, it was clear LaCrosse had outgrown their old system and needed to modernise, centralise, and leverage the cloud to better — and more reliably — serve customers, meet strategic objectives, and improve overall operations. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 was unable to take them to the next level in terms of revenue growth, yet they wanted to stay with the trusted Microsoft platform and become cloud-first.

Hitachi Solutions team addressed how they would resolve our problem areas and issues with a cohesive, refined presentation and competent presence that hit all the key buttons our stakeholders were looking for.

Sadri Behbahany
CIO at LaCrosse Footwear

The Solution

Hitachi Solutions were chosen as a trusted Microsoft partner to modernise their systems. Once selected, Hitachi Solutions worked collaboratively with the LaCrosse team to ensure a high-quality, fully integrated, scalable Microsoft D365 Finance & Operations and Supply Chain Management solution that met their needs with as few customisations as possible. To better predict cost, time, and effort, we first performed an initial blueprint engagement. We also set clear expectations, tracked accountability, ensured everyone was always on the same page, and kept the project on track through our best-practice delivery approach called Unified Framework.

Despite having to transition to a remote work model because of the pandemic, we completed a fresh install capable of supporting the needs of LaCrosse’s 300+ users across seven retail stores and two distribution centres — on time and with no major issues or business disruption.

Gwen Siy, IT Project Manager at LaCrosse stated that “given the complexity, integrations, and what we were trying to do, the implementation went very well. When we turned the switch on, it worked.” Siy went on to state that the Hitachi Solutions project team were incredibly supportive as they would work as one team to resolve any issues that were made apparent.  Behbahany added that “the key thing for me was having a direct line to the Hitachi Solutions executive leadership during the process. If I had a question or major issue, I could always reach out. They were very responsive and supportive, and, to me, that made a huge difference.”

With Microsoft Dynamics 365 live across the enterprise, LaCrosse now enjoys all of the operational benefits of a modern cloud-based application — unified data, faster processes, improved performance, and more accurate reporting. With far fewer customised extensions and integrations, it is more reliable, easier to manage and maintain, and enhances the overall customer experience. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 environment is much more stable, user friendly and provides better functionality than their previous system.

Siy added “our whole inventory allocation process used to take many, many hours to run. That’s significantly better now. We are also much more dynamic in how we allocate inventory, so it is not a bottleneck in our ERP process any longer. Our background processes run faster, and our deployments are much faster — taking only an hour or so instead of days.”

LaCrosse’s new solution is always up-to-date and ready for them to take advantage of any new feature or functionality from Microsoft.

The Future

LaCrosse is so pleased with the results of this project; they are considering additional opportunities to expand their Microsoft investment with Hitachi Solutions’ support. In the near future, they have expressed interest in taking advantage of Power Apps and Power Automate to increase process efficiencies from their factory to field sales. They are also planning to work with Hitachi Solutions on implementing additional integrated solutions including POS for their retail stores.

Other potential projects include improving distribution channel operations and efficiencies in warehouse operations.