SAP Business One, the enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for small and medium enterprises from software giant, SAP, has enabled southern African provider of telecommunications and network solutions, Miro distribution, to grow at more than 100% in the past 12 months.
"We are projecting additional growth at 135% for the next 12 months and without SAP Business One we just could not have achieved that sort of expansion without losing a fortune through inadequate stock management and inferior financial controls," says Miro financial director, Jaco Malan.
Miro distribution moved from an accounting solution to SAP Business One when Malan joined the company at the beginning of 2006 and saw a need to control document flow and inventory management around the company's R10 million stock of imported electronic equipment held in four locations around the country.
"SAP Business One was not the cheapest of the products we looked at, but it was the most affordable in that it offered us so more functionality and flexibility - and therefore long-term options - than its competitors," Malan says.
"The advantage of SAP Business One to companies like Miro is that it provides all the functionality they need in a single package," says Paul Marketos, director of Miro's SAP implementation partner, Bluekey. "Very sophisticated capability - from serial number tracking, multicurrency landed costs, multiwarehousing, multiple price lists, warranty management and service management - are inherent in the solution and just need to be configured to suit a particular business' needs."
Malan was particularly interested in SAP Business One's ability to manage document flow. "Once a quote is captured on the system and the customer has accepted it, SAP Business One automatically creates a sales order that is forwarded to dispatch, where it then automatically generates a delivery note. Once delivery or collection is complete, the system generates an invoice. Transactions and procedures cannot fall through the cracks.
"Also, employees used to be able to order stock without looking at forecasts. Now, every purchase has to be authorised, both reducing inventory and making it more relevant to our target market.
"In addition, we are making extensive use of SAP's superior authorisation functionality to give employees access only to the information that is relevant to the effective execution of their work. That is making us much more efficient overall as well as ensuring that our data and systems are secure."
Marketos says that the Miro implementation was ideal in that "Miro got totally involved in the project with us, doing a lot of the piloting and testing well ahead of go live. That meant that we had almost no issues once the system was up and running."
Miro have customised parts of the solution since go live. "We are aiming for as much automation as possible so that we can focus on innovation within the company rather than worrying about what is happening in the back office," Malan says. "You cannot build a company if you cannot trust that the accounting and administration are superb and will easily carry the extra business you intend to bring in. SAP Business One has given us that confidence."
SAP South Africa's Business One manager, Paul Vermaak, says that many SMEs see SAP Business One as a growth tool. "We have recently done research on why our customers are choosing the package and, as they do so, helping SAP Business One grow faster than competitor products.
"In the first six months of this year, we saw 40% growth. And a massive 39% of our revenue has come from existing customers buying additional user licences. That bears out what companies like Miro are telling us - that SAP Business One is relieving them of the burden of administration and freeing them up to grow aggressively by taking on not only more but better business."