Ombligo is a Brooklyn-based hardware refurbisher and are experts in full lifecycle IT asset management and disposition. Ombligo, as the "belly button" of the computer, extends the life of the hardware providing benefits to their customers, the industry and the environment.
SAP Business One has changed how Ombligo runs their business for the better and has allowed them to have the infrastructure in place that will help them grow in the many years to come.
Scalable platform to support growth
Fully auditable system
Front-to-back traceability of products
Ombligo was founded in 2004 with a strong economic, environmental and social mission: to maximise value and minimise risk from used and out-of-service IT hardware. Ombligo’s handling of IT equipment exceeds federal, state and local environmental laws, as well as data security requirements, and it numbers many large corporates among its client base. Ombligo also serves small businesses and non-profits by providing them with low-cost, certified refurbished hardware.
Ombligo helps its clients to manage their IT assets strategically and make informed decisions to meet their corporate and environmental goals. But by 2017, the fast-growing Brooklyn-based business was frustrated by limitations in the software it was using to manage its own inventory and financials. As Ombligo’s Chief Operating Officer, Hani Keirouz, explains, “We had an accounting package and a proprietary database, developed in-house, that couldn’t talk to one another so we had to manage information manually in cumbersome spreadsheets. We had been struggling with our internal database for some years, and saw a pressing need for an integrated ERP solution to meet our business ambitions.”
“On the accounting side, we needed more clarity on margins by specific product line, division and service, which was beyond the capabilities of our existing software. The other major challenge, which was highly specific to our business, was to gain a clear picture of all of our inventory, both consigned and owned, through a single system, as we had previously found it too complicated to bring consigned inventory onto our books. Crucially, we needed better traceability for quality assurance purposes to ensure that when we’re building a server, for example, all the parts attributed to that build are an accurate reflection of the parts physically installed,” continues Hani.
“The nature of our business – the way we break things down and put things back together – makes our processes broadly similar to that of a manufacturing company, except we have multiples of the typical SKUs (stock keeping units) and myriad ways to combine them. We didn’t believe an out-of-the-box solution could address those needs so we spent considerable time and money on developing our proprietary database, but progress was slow and we weren’t getting the desired results. We finally decided there must be a better way, and started evaluating ERP solutions. We were familiar with SAP but had assumed it would be over-specified for our business and cost-prohibitive to maintain. That’s when Harris [Edelman, Ombligo’s CEO], discovered SAP Business One – a lighter version of the world-renowned ERP system that would provide a great fit with our business, both functionally and economically.”
Sapphire worked closely with Ombligo to understand how its business model would map to the ERP solution’s capabilities, as well as the company’s information and reporting requirements. This included figuring out how to achieve virtual separation of its physical warehouses, how best to define SKUs for all the diverse items Ombligo sells, and how transactions would be recognised in the system to provide meaningful visibility. Work commenced on designing and customising the solution in late 2017. Sapphire migrated Ombligo’s financial information from its accounting package, and Ombligo undertook a definitive physical stock-take of owned and consigned inventory, which was then uploaded into SAP Business One. The implementation went live in early March 2018.
“The stand-out benefit has been how SAP Business One has enabled us to get a better handle on quality,” observes Hani. “Because we recycle equipment that has no resale value, our certification demands full traceability by serial number of every unit or part – from the moment it comes through the door to the moment it leaves. With SAP Business One, we have all our quality, environmental, and health and safety information at our fingertips, which allowed us to sail through our first audit following the system going live.”
"We’ve eliminated our archaic, manual sales order processes, which are yielding significant efficiencies and lower costs, and we anticipate more savings to come as our staff become increasingly comfortable with semi-automatic and fully automatic reconciliations. Now, a team member can refer to a pick list and know exactly what is needed for the build, without having to rely on spreadsheets or a verbal work instruction. Once we have all the information for a piece of hardware on the system, it’s easy to push those items through our integrated e-commerce platform, making it far less time-consuming to get goods into our various sales channels. We’re currently working on a scanning solution for shipping which should further enhance quality by eliminating the potential for human error. We’re currently undertaking rigorous testing and expect it to go live very soon.”
According to Hani, “in future, we plan to take advantage of the reporting and visibility provided by SAP Business One in a more strategic way. For example, we have a large client on the consignment side that is eager to do more business with us but they are subject to some very stringent demands for asset reporting from their own customers. That means they require seriously granular data from us as their vendor for certification purposes, so we’re looking at how we can meet those stipulations for traceability through SAP Business One.”
“We talked to a few SAP partners who were local players, but we were instantly drawn to Sapphire due to their smarts and the ongoing support that is included in the maintenance package, which was a huge selling point for us. We anticipated we would need continued hand-holding after the core implementation went live, and knowing we can reach out at any time without having to worry about incremental cost is very reassuring. Our relationship with Sapphire is excellent: we continue to explore add-ons and enhancements and if we have any issues, they apply their knowledge and experience to figure out a solution. We strongly feel we’re working with the right guys,” concludes Hani.
One of our team will be in touch shortly.