How Premium Sound Solutions harmonized its enterprise architecture

Apr 04, 2024
  • IT
  • automotive
  • engineering & projects
  • SAP

Since the 1970s, Premium Sound Solutions (PSS) has evolved into a true powerhouse, producing millions of loudspeakers for renowned clients around the world. However, managing a vast network of R&D sites and production facilities across the globe presented some challenges. From disparate IT structures to supply chain disruptions, PSS needed a strategic overhaul to streamline operations, balance its enterprise architecture (EA), and anticipate market shifts. delaware helped find that harmony.

  • Client: Belgian loudspeaker specialist Premium Sound Solutions (PSS)
  • Challenge: Align processes and data flows in all R&D sites and production facilities around the world, and adapt more smoothly to supply chain disturbances
  • Solution: A smart SAP ERP system and an enterprise architecture exercise, that brought the business and IT departments closer together, enabling better planning and change-readiness

The challenge: align and adapt

Premium Sound Solutions (PSS) originated in Dendermonde in 1970. Now, half a century later, the company produces 85 million speakers every year. That global footprint comes with a shiny clientele, including major car manufacturers such as BMW, Volvo and Tesla. But that worldwide spider’s web of R&D sites and production facilities also posed a challenge.

“Before, each site was basically a small island with its own IT structures,” says Dieter Van de Velde, Director Global IT at PSS. “For example, we used a variety of ERP systems. One central platform was necessary to create more coherence, structure and uniformity. We wanted to align all business processes and data flows – with each other and with our customers’ needs.”

Additionally, the automotive industry has witnessed a disjointed supply chain since the pandemic. Customer and supplier orders used to follow a reliable timeline. In today’s climate of uncertainty, obstructions and shortages are much more likely. Therefore, PSS wanted to be able to predict when those obstacles will arise.

Enterprise architecture works just like an orchestra’s conductor. It makes sure that everyone performs the right task at the right time.
Dieter Van de Velde, Director Global IT at Premium Sound Solutions (PSS)

The solution: orchestrating the enterprise

PSS teamed up with delaware to kick off its transformation. First stop along the way: implementing a smart ERP system. The central platform enables all business processes across the PSS sites to run consistently, using the same data flows throughout.

“This move meant the start of an enterprise architecture exercise,” explains Frederik-Jan Roose, Enterprise Architect at delaware BeLux. “After all, enterprise architecture works just like an orchestra’s conductor. It makes sure that everyone performs the right task at the right time. Or, in less poetic terms: you save time and you spend your budgets more efficiently.”

Enterprise Architecture as a Service: and the band plays on

“An enterprise architect is a lot like an orchestra conductor. They have to make sure that every instrument plays its part at the right time.” A nice metaphor, for sure. But in a fast-changing world, the music never actually stops. Which is why we’re introducing Enterprise Architecture as a Service: a long-term, always-on approach to aligning business and IT.

Enterprise architecture is essential to aligning business and IT and leads to more efficient planning and resilience to change. It also generally saves time, and results in a more effective use of budgets. “To generate real value, it needs to be a long-term commitment,” Frederik-Jan continues. “Especially now that IT has evolved from purely operational support to being a strategic partner for many businesses.”

Two EA trajectories

Because the scope of EA is, by definition, very broad, delaware proposes two different models:

  • Project-based: The enterprise architects become part of the customer’s internal project team, offering strategic advice, assisting with implementation, coordinating internal and external partners, monitoring progress and results, etc. 
  • General EA: The enterprise architects function as a strategic sparring partner and sounding board to the CIO, offering ad hoc advice and support.

Why choose delaware?

“Historically, we’re a technical implementation partner,” says Frederik-Jan. “Over time, we’ve evolved to include more strategic approaches as well. As a result of this evolution, we can boast the practical and technical expertise many purely strategic partners are lacking. In addition, we are fundamentally vendor agnostic. That means that, as enterprise architects, we’re always looking for what works best for the client. That means we always aim to transcend the usual sales talk, and take the side of the customer.”

The result: amping up change-readiness

The PSS enterprise architecture exercise resulted in a long-term plan to upgrade the organization’s IT landscape. “We’re executing those ideas as we speak,” adds Frederik-Jan. “They will enable PSS to adapt to market evolutions in a flexible yet effective way. Moreover, balancing the enterprise architecture also brought the business and IT departments closer together. PSS is now even more ready to embrace and capitalize on change.”

“But we don’t just wait for change to happen,” clarifies Dieter. “We’re also proactively accelerating our processes. For instance, we’re currently implementing a fully automated production line, so we can gather even more data and insights. Our collaboration with delaware has made sure that our IT department is always prepared for change – and eager to shift gears when the world does the same.”

a thoughtful enterprise architecture can make your company future-proof, too

Frederik-Jan Roose, Enterprise Architect
Connect with Frederik- Jan on LinkedIn

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