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When Gerry Stephens joined Mackie's in early 2009 the finance function was being run by a consultant. The Mackie's team wanted to get more out of SAP Business One – they knew it was a good system and the framework was there, but were concerned that it wasn't set up correctly.

Greater focus on costs and stock

Can get exact information out, as and when it is required

Visibility of what’s costing what, and where variances are

Easy to use multi currency

About Mackie's of Scotland

Mackie's began making ice cream on a farm in Aberdeenshire in 1993. Now 70 staff and 500 cows work in a 'sky to scoop' design chain: wind turbines generate power and crops are grown to feed the cows to produce fresh milk and cream to make ice cream. Mackie's vision is to be a global brand from the greenest company in Britain created by people having fun.

Why SAP Business One was the right solution for Mackie's

SAP Business One was deemed an appropriate fit for Mackie's due to the size of the solution – it is big enough and is scalable. The team were looking for something to grow with the company and expedite management of that growth. It is more than just a finance package; SAP Business One is wide ranging and covers everything that Mackie's needs including stock management, bills of material, purchasing and production schedules.

Background to the case

SAP Business One was implemented to facilitate getting a better handle on stocks and purchasing.

When Gerry Stephens joined the team the finance function was being run by a consultant. The Mackie's team wanted to get more out of SAP Business One – they knew it was a good system and the framework was there, but were concerned that it wasn't set up correctly. "There was a lack of proper training in using SAP Business One and we weren't happy with how things were going with our previous partner."

Two members of the Mackie's team attended a Sapphire seminar in Edinburgh, as part of the process of identifying a new SAP Business One partner to help them sort things out.

Why Sapphire was chosen

Initially Mackie's was looking for an Aberdeen based support partner, but no one had the specialism of Sapphire. "One of the main reasons we transferred to Sapphire was their reputation" said Gerry.

"Sapphire's help and advice whilst we were considering moving our support, was very good" explained Gerry. "The people we spoke to were very positive about what could be done and were very helpful. All then went as Sapphire said it would. I have moved service providers and systems before, and things promised were not delivered on, but it all went according to plan with Sapphire."

One of Sapphire's consultants spent a few weeks with Mackie's reviewing SAP Business One, implementing the requirements that Mackie's had, and making sure the team was properly trained up.

"The SAP Business One Support Manager has also been to visit us. Remote support and the Helpdesk are great; it is nice to know assistance is just a phone call away. They have been able to answer any questions efficiently" Gerry commented. "They took us from early steps to walking on our own."


Gerry stated: "SAP Business One is performing very well. We know it can do more still – I'd say we're using around 60% of the functionality available, but we're feeling our way and going at our own pace. Also, previously we didn't have confidence in the data held in the system, so have spent time cleaning up that too."

"We have a lot more accessible and detailed information on our business thanks to SAP Business One. It is easy to use as the way it works is pretty intuitive the interface is very user-friendly; drilling down into things is simple. With Vision [Q&A10] detailed reporting will be even easier!"

Some of the key benefits the Mackie's team has with SAP Business One:

  • More focus on costs and margins
  • Can get exact information out, as and when it is required
  • Accurate picture of stock levels

The team at Mackie's has also taken advantage of the multi currency functionality within SAP Business One: "Although we're based in Scotland, we have a requirement to be able to buy and sell in Euros. SAP Business One makes it easy for us to use both Sterling and Euros and SAP will handle other currencies also."

Working with Sapphire

"We are pleased to be working with Sapphire and the Support Desk in particular is excellent" stated Gerry. "SAP Business One is reliable and easy to use; Sapphire is reliable and easy to work with. Sapphire provides a good service and someone is always there. If they don't know the answer to a query immediately they will go to every length to find out - even arranging a call with SAP in China for with a query with the database – and find a fix."

Since Sapphire's consultant went up to do a block of training to give the Mackie's team good grounding in using SAP Business One, they have found training new users relatively easy and now do much of it in-house. Gerry added "We have our own 'super-user' set up to be an internal help resource, but if they can't solve the problem we can call the Sapphire helpline."


"I would recommend that any business put SAP Business One from Sapphire on their shortlist when looking for new systems" said Gerry. "It is an investment that will pay for itself and reap rewards for your business. EDI [Electronic Data Interchange] is a big benefit too: we have been able to manage increased sales, without increasing headcount; the EDI function means we can put through a lot more orders with the exact same number of people. With the efficiencies that SAP Business One brings, and the reliability and ease of use of the system it is an effective solution to our needs."

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