The Gro Company team needed a unified solution covering all aspects of their business as they realised they needed a system that could keep up with the needs of their growing organisation.
Better, faster decision making on accurate data
Visibility into all aspects of the business
Multi-currency and multi-region functionality
Ease of use and simple to train users
The Gro Company team needed a unified solution covering all aspects of their business so they implemented SAP Business One in 2006. However, the system wasn’t being correctly utilised and the support was poor. Therefore, the Gro Company sought a new partner to upgrade the system.
SAP Business One (transfer and upgrade)
The Gro Company is an award-winning and industry accredited manufacturer of safer sleep solutions for babies and young children. Their products are sold throughout a range of some of the world’s leading nursery and fashion retailers, and via their own retail website. The Gro Company are a growing business that was recently acquired by its management team under a unique buyout agreement that will enable the company to offer solutions and support to even more parents and their children around the world.
The Gro Company team needed a unified solution covering all aspects of their business so implemented SAP Business One in 2006. Prior to this they had been using Sage and Microsoft Excel to manage financial accounting and reporting, but with 35 staff and a £35 million turnover, they realised they needed a system that could keep up with the needs of their growing organisation.
The company had been working with SAP Business One for nearly five years when James Green joined the team in 2010 as the IT Manager. Having used the solution in a previous role, James was surprised to discover how it was being used at The Gro Company. Not only was SAP Business One functionally underutilised and three releases out of date, but their partner company didn't appear to have any interest or documentation on their implementation: "They weren't proactive at all" said James. "They just took our money and did nothing - we never got a call from them and they didn't provide us with any information."
The Finance Director suggested ripping SAP Business One out, but James opposed the idea. He knew the problem in this instance was the partner and not the solution. To remedy the situation James began researching other partners and shortlisted four. "Sapphire was streets ahead from the start. The only other serious contender sent a Request for Information (RFI) document that was riddled with spelling mistakes and I need attention to detail. The team at Sapphire really listened to our business issues and provided solutions from the outset. I felt these were people I could see myself working with" said James.
James spoke very positively about Sapphire's help and advice during the initial stages of the project: "Our Account Manager and the Support Manager were a delight and had a real 'can-do' attitude. It was like a ray of sunshine – they offered to help us out on things we didn't expect."
Some of Sapphire's experienced consultants visited James and the team to look at what else could be done with their data and how they could better utilise SAP Business One.
James reported that within a few weeks they had a much better handle on what was and wasn't working, and what else could be done: "We did have to get some software re-written in this stage of the process, and while this cost a bit it was worth it" James said.
Transferring the support and maintenance to Sapphire took two weeks and the migration across was an easy process: "Given the fact we were in a difficult position to start with, the move was remarkably quick and easy" said James. "I was also impressed by the information in Sapphire's Welcome Pack and recently gave it to one of our new starters as a reference."
Functional benefits of SAP Business One The Gro Company is a fast-moving business and it's important that the management team can access the information they need, when they need it. They have realised this benefit with SAP Business One since upgrading their system and moving to Sapphire, and other benefits include:
"With SAP Business One we get decent reporting, so rather than focus on compiling information our time can be spent analysing it. It works and runs smoothly, and you can add a new field in an instant. Data can also be labelled in any way you feel comfortable, which demonstrates the usability and easy customisation of the solution" James said.
The Gro Company uses the Magento e-commerce integration platform for its business and consumer websites, so Sapphire integrated their system with SAP Business One. This means data can flow seamlessly between the solutions to automatically process orders, manage inventory, record transactions and reconcile accounts.
"We can now take an order from the website and it is picked, packed and processed from the warehouse within a few minutes" said James.
In addition to Magento, SAP Business One has been integrated with The Royal Mail and DPD.
The Gro Company aims to have a web-presence in every language in every country. French and German sites are about to launch, and these will soon be followed by Spanish and Italian. The company also has plans for US and Australian expansion.
The ability to make informed decisions and have visibility over the entire business is key to The Gro Company's growth and expansion. SAP licensing is also beneficial for a company wanting to expand their global footprint. For example, when The Gro Company open a new office overseas they will not get another bill when rolling out SAP Business One globally, regardless of the timing.
James said he and the team are very happy about the move to Sapphire. "When I was looking for a replacement SAP Business One partner I found it frustrating that so many seemed to be SAP Gold Partners all claiming to be the best. Sapphire really does deserve that accreditation because the support you get from everyone there is instant and excellent" James said.
"We need to get information in and out of SAP Business One quickly and easily so we can make effective decisions based on facts. When we moved our support to Sapphire I placed one phone call to the Support hotline about a problem I had given up on with our previous suppliers, and within an hour I had received information outlining what had happened, why it had happened, and how to fix it."
As an added bonus for James, Sapphire has been very supportive in The Gro Company's move into the international marketplace. "We are looking to expand across the globe and Sapphire has a lot of good ideas to help us do this, largely because the company's a similar size and making the same moves" said James.
"Our experience buying an ERP solution is a classic example of 'buy cheap, buy twice'" said James. He warns against investing in a system without thinking it through: "don't cut corners on support and training. It is important to have a holistic, top-down approach."
James also emphasised the need to pick the right provider to work with: "Sapphire has very high standards that are maintained 99% of the time and this is one of the reasons I enjoy working with the company. Good working relationships are often undervalued but they are so important. With Sapphire, you feel that you are more than just another customer – you couldn't be treated any better."
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