TecnoChem, manufacturer and distributor of a wide range of household and general cleaning chemicals, supply product to both the consumer and industrial cleaning industry.
Following significant growth over the last few years, TecnoChem found itself lacking the necessary IT infrastructure to support daily operational efficiencies. Coupled with future expansion plans aimed at increasing its number of retail outlets, TecnoChem urgently required a holistic, integrated and automated solution able to provide a single view of the business.
“A cumbersome and inflexible legacy system, lack of integration and minimal automation of business processes was resulting in time intensive data capturing plagued by human error,” says Danie Flemming, TecnoChem’s General Manager.
“We reached a stage where efficiency of the entire operation was at risk,” continues Flemming. “In the manufacturing business, job codes were manually entered into excel spreadsheets on a daily basis,” he adds. Not only was this time consuming, but due to the propensity for human error it was unreliable and costly – from both a time and error perspective.
TecnoChem were working with massive and unmanageable excel spreadsheets, with everything from price increases to the entering of new products needing to be updated. To add to the frustration, drawing of reports from the legacy system entailed a large degree of manipulation before the resulting data could be used. “It was an absolute nightmare,” says Flemming. To effectively manage day to day operations across manufacturing as well as its wholesale and retail business, TecnoChem required an integrated ERP system with automated functionality and the flexibility to customise data any way it was needed.
With a few well-known vendors under consideration, TecnoChem settled on SAP Business One from 4most, a leading supplier and implementer of SAP and ERP software and technology, as the best solution moving forward. “It provided the best functionality and flexibility in terms of meeting our requirements,” says Flemming.
After a detailed scope of TecnoChem’s business needs, implementation began towards the end of 2011. “It was a very detailed process,” says Marius Fabian, Managing Director, 4most. “Given the urgency, we wanted to be as clear as possible on the demands of the business in order to ensure timeous implementation and uptake.” To this end, a pre assessment was carried out to ensure a deep understanding of daily operational requirements.
With a clear knowledge of the exact nature of TecnoChem’s business setup, 4most provided the necessary customisations to ensure maximum efficiencies. On the retail side 4most worked with Solution Extension Partner, Cistech. Built upon proven methodologies and interoperable with SAP Business One, it provided a value-added offering.
With regards to manufacturing, TecnoChem had a very specific formula for calculating exact quantities to be produced. Known as ‘process’ manufacturing and applicable to the production of liquids and chemicals, it differs somewhat from more conventional manufacturing. SAP B1, with its ‘Bill of Material’ functionality, allows for the creation of job cards to manufacture product according to supply and demand.
With the removal of human error and time savings of as much as 50% across most reporting functions, TecnoChem estimate a resultant increase in productivity. Added to this, integration of business units and processes, transparency of the business as a whole and easy navigation coupled with the ability to effortlessly drill down to any layer of business data, are just some of the key operational efficiencies and general feedback received from users. With its core business now integrated, TecnoChem are looking at further consolidation of the manufacturing process, together with integration of its HR function and stricter user controls.
“But for me, it’s all about the information,” says Flemming. “Anything I need is now only a few seconds away, real-time detail is readily accessible and reports, which previously took days to build, are easy and literally at the click of a button.”
“We needed to take control of our business,” concludes Flemming. “I’d say, mission accomplished.”