Dormac Achieves Operational Excellence with Infor

Dormac is a division of Southey Holdings, which is the driving force behind a diverse and growing number of independent and autonomous businesses. It represents one of the largest and most respected privately-owned groups in South Africa.

Dormac Marine & Engineering provides a full spectrum of ship repair and specialised engineering services to owners and operators of cargo vessels, passenger liners, navy vessels and offshore construction vessels. With ship repair yards in Cape Town, Durban, Richards Bay, Saldanha and Walvis Bay, Dormac offers a variety of services, including; ship repairs, oil and gas projects, and industrial engineering projects.

With very strong and dynamic management intuitive, and with the optimum utilisation of excellent facilities, Dormac has rapidly developed its core business of ship repair into what is widely acknowledged today as the leading ship repair company in Africa. Dormac’s unique ‘Shipyard-in-a-Box’ offers a mobile operational platform for repairs, modifications and upgrades. These services are conveniently deployed to remote locations where typical shipyard facilities are not available.

Ship repair operations are typically ad hoc projects, requiring varying levels of contract labour and different equipment requirements. Unpredictable demand makes long-term business planning difficult, and ship repair companies must be agile and flexible to remain competitive.


Dormac previously used a very outdated version of BaanIVc4, with modules for sales, procurement, financials, fixed assets and PCS projects. The solution featured approximately 20 customisations, mainly for reporting.

While it was a good solution for its time, the business outgrew the technology, facing several serious challenges:

  • ERP processes, originally designed for Dormac’s former parent company, were generic and unsuitable for its current and changing business requirements
  • Inflexible financial structures made financial reporting difficult
  • Insufficient functionality in the ERP
  • Lack of integration to Microsoft Project
  • Inability to estimate and report actuals against estimates
  • Manual processes, including procurement, stock transactions and project control, were done outside the system, leading to duplication of tasks and increased potential for error and rework
  • For reporting, data was extracted in various manually populated Excel spreadsheets, requiring extensive, manual, time-consuming document management
  • To run month-end reports, Dormac had to shut down system access to other users for approximately 10 hours at a time
  • Due to system limitations, closing the books became a manual process that took an entire day to complete, during which time no data could be captured

“Although we had been using Baan for many years, we simply had to look for an alternative solution. The biggest concern was that the technology was far too limited, and in order to upgrade or change functionality, we had to go back and apply patches. This wasn’t cost effective, and at times could cost as much as the initial implementation,” recalls Siva Pillay, IT Systems Manager, Dormac.

To limit the expenditure on patches, the Dormac team reverted to working on Excel. Pillay admits that this defeated the purpose of having an ERP system. It was a time-consuming, manual process, and hours were wasted trying to locate errors in formulas.

“Our business had changed quite drastically. As we embarked on a large, long term oil and gas project, we realised we simply couldn’t track costs properly. The Baan system had served its purpose, but it was time to make a change.”


To overcome these challenges, Dormac considered either upgrading to the latest ERP service pack, or implementing a full technical upgrade to Infor LN. For the same implementation effort, the service pack upgrade would have required Dormac to re-implement the existing ERP to re-establish TP Projects, reporting and control structures.

After much consideration and consultation with Infor Services at iOCO, Dormac selected Infor LN for its ease-of-use and extensive functionality for:

  • Projects
  • Inventory Management
  • Planned Maintenance
  • Tool and Equipment Control
  • Document Management
  • Fixed Assets

After the decision was made, Pillay notes that the implementation was fast, streamlined and painless. “From the first consultation to the phasing, scoping and completion of the project, it only took 11 months,” confirms Pillay.

He describes the implementation process as “excellent”, confirming that the iOCO consultants were exceptional. “The team was great! The process was as painless as anyone could expect, and we were able to work with demanding users to give them the solutions they needed. The go-live was followed by only a small adjustment period of about a week or so, with no issues or errors,” he adds.


“The way Infor LN was designed and implemented most manual processes were eliminated. We can now track costs more effectively, no matter the size or duration of the project. With a reliable system split between the ship repair and industrial sectors of our business, project set-up is much easier,” says Pillay.

In addition:

  • With Infor LN reports are more accurate, contain more information, are automated, and cause no interruption
  • Even the largest reports can be drawn within one minute, making vital information freely available at all times
  • Dormac can easily view project data, with reporting consolidated into one output from Infor LN
  • While closing the books is still done overnight, it doesn’t result in any downtime
  • Project tool requirements, previously handled in a third-party application, are now planned and managed from within Infor LN
  • All Project Managers are using Infor LN at Dormac, which enables them to be pro-active in monitoring the progress of projects, controlling project costs and measuring project profitability
  • The Project Management Team has instant access to better, more relevant information
  • Infor LN also provides an efficient technology platform with dashboards, ION alerts and workflows
  • Standard integration with Microsoft Projects, Excel, and Word

Possibly the greatest benefit is the solution’s ability to scale as the business grows. Dormac chose Infor LN because its business changes all the time. “We can run a job that will take a day to finish, while other projects could take 86 days. With Infor LN, the procedure is exactly the same. The reports are the same, the projects run in the same way, the server is on the cloud, and our teams can work from any location,” states Pillay.


Moving forward, Dormac will lean on the Infor LN solution as its business expands. “The way the solution is set up there will be nothing major to change to expand it – it’s ready to take on more. For example, we recently added a floating dock to our asset list and we quickly and seamlessly incorporated it into our setup,” concludes Pillay.

Phase One is now complete, having finalised the technical upgrade and moved all processes to the new system. Dormac and iOCO Infor Services will now proceed with Phase Two, which includes system enhancements, allowing the business to enjoy core benefits, implementing other modules. It is also considering the Infor Xi (OS) platform for extended business collaboration, role-based dashboards, and for financials and project estimating to generate projects plans and budgets, as well as CRM.