Yes You Can with SAP Business One

SAP Business One does have limitations.  After all SAP still want to sell their enterprise class systems to large corporates.  The flexible design of the software, coupled with the available customisation tools and the library of published Add-Ons from SAP partners means that for most requirements for a small to medium sized business, SAP Business One can do what you need.

There's no reason to take our word for it.

SAP Business One is used in more than 150 countries, in 27 languages, and by more than 47,000 customers — you can ask them.  If you don't have time to ring them all, we have presented some highlights of success stories here.  You can also register for access to the SAP library of over 1,000 customer success stories at this link.

The following success stories have been summarised from the SAP Business One customer success story library.  As such they are copyrighted, and so we have anonymised the information below.

Family Business Improves Operations

Solution Summary
Company Size £2m turnover, 65 employees
BusinessInstallation and Service, Construction and Premises Maintenance
SituationDisparate systems, lots of spreadsheets
Key ObjectiveImprove efficiency
Secondary ObjectiveProvide accurate up-to-date data

Before SAP Business One

This family owned business specialises in the installation and service of ventilation systems.  They have two divisions, one working with new builds, the other working with buildings after construction and occupancy.  As a family business the company had initially invested in a few basic business software packages to help it manage financials and other areas of its operations, such as stock control.  Complicating matters, the company’s two divisions used different software packages.  Throughout the company, employees relied on spreadsheets, e-mails, and faxes to track and exchange information, such as receiving orders, submitting invoices, and processing customer complaints.

Maintaining control over two sets of information — the data provided by the main manufacturer they work with and the data generated by its own employees — resulted in numerous issues.  “We process about 600 jobs per month.  It was a job in itself to manage the project-related information, especially since our supplier sends us information throughout the day,” said their Managing Director.

The company struggled to measure the performance of its employees, as it lacked comprehensive insight into job progress and customer satisfaction.  In fact, some jobs were delayed or altogether overlooked due to difficulties keeping track of information dispersed throughout the organisation.  Keeping track of stock was a significant problem.  Every week, one employee spent a full day reconciling stock based on information in the system and data captured on paper.  It took another two to three days each month to reconcile job-related information, so the company could properly invoice their key manufacturer.

One division implemented a Microsoft Access database as a way to manage its data, but this measure soon proved ineffective.  “The database grew so big that it was continually crashing,” continued their MD.

To enhance processes and streamline data management, the company decided to upgrade its enterprise management system.  It considered augmenting its current financial accounting software with a custom-developed solution but quickly dismissed this option.  “We’d still need to duplicate efforts to manage data,” reflected their MD.

Instead, it evaluated a range of software applications that would enable it to manage all business processes.  Key among the company’s criteria was that the solution be proven in the market, was supported by a company with a solid reputation, and was flexible enough to handle a range of information.  “We were attracted to SAP after realising it had a solution for our size company,” reported the MD.  The company was impressed by the success of other small and midsize companies using SAP Business One.

With SAP Business One

Since going live with SAP Business One, the company has seen tremendous improvements across its business.  With all job-related information captured in a single system, any employee can get an update at any time with the click of a button.

The advanced reporting and analytics prove valuable in a number of ways.  Managers can now measure employee productivity and operational efficiency by reviewing key performance indicators, including time to complete a job and the amount of work completed.  Because SAP Crystal Reports® software is integrated into SAP Business One, the company's employees can access rich graphic reports and forms.  Plus, SAP Business One sends an automated e-mail to installation engineers, detailing the amount of project work completed and the amount remaining.  “It used to take the equivalent of half a person to go through 20 to 25 jobs each morning to figure out where we stood with our projects.  SAP Business One provides us quick and accurate insight into project status, which helps us stay on track and ultimately boosts customer satisfaction,” explains their MD.

It’s also much easier to get a comprehensive view into operations across the company.  In the past, users had to perform an SQL query and output data to a spreadsheet for analysis.  Now they can generate the same reports instantly and benefits from much richer functionality, such as built-in pivot tables and the ability to drill down into data.  “In SAP Business One, the user interface and reporting are outstanding.  You can’t underestimate the value of these features, especially when you’re trying to get staff buy-in on new software,” explains the MD.

Expanding Small Business Improves Visibility & Efficiency

Solution Summary
Company Size €3m turnover, 25 employees
BusinessWholesale distribution, Ice cream equipment and supplies
SituationControl slipping, poor stock control
Key ObjectiveStreamline operations
Secondary ObjectiveEnsure tight stock control

Before SAP Business One

“When the company was small, we were able to keep control, because the family was actively involved in running every aspect of the business,” explained the Managing Director of this family business.  “However, as we grew, brought in more staff, and started to adopt more of a management role, we felt the instinctive control we'd had in the past slipping.  That was the catalyst for deciding we needed a new system to help us. 

The company provides “all things ice cream” and supplies a range of other businesses.  They had struggled to keep track of the stock in their delivery cans as their previous system had not been able to adequately control the stock.  They also wanted to ensure that they did not have to enter any data more than once.

As they researched the market for a new system the company involved the firm that supported their existing accounting package, an external consultant and their accountants.  When they first came across SAP Business One as a possible solution they asked their accountant for an opinion who told them: “You can't go wrong with SAP.”  Before implementing SAP Business One they took time to clean their existing data which took some time.  “It was a lot of hard work,” said the MD, “but it was absolutely critical if the implementation was to be successful.”

With SAP Business One

The company is now more efficient.  Their MD stated: “One accountant is now processing over 1,000 sales invoices a month, plus doing all our purchasing.  Without the SAP Business One application, that just would not be possible.” An unexpected benefit discovered by the company is that instead of invoicing each sale, they now invoice all sales for the month together.  “SAP Business One enables us to print batches of invoices, grouped by customer.  Today, we send the invoices for the whole month to customers at one time.  As a result, we save on postage without impacting our cash flow.”  The savings are currently €5,000 annually.

Stock control is also much improved.  The company configured each delivery van as a mini-warehouse and also implemented mobile stock control so that as stock is controlled it is recorded and uploaded directly into SAP Business One.  Commenting on the improved Stock Control the company's MD said: “We tried to set up the vans as warehouses in our previous system, but we just couldn't do it.  Now, we not only track stock by van, but we also have complete confidence that the data is correct.”

Reporting has also improved.  The MD particularly likes the standard variance analyses he can do for products and customers.  In addition, year-on-year comparison reports of customers’ purchases give him real insight into their purchasing behavior.

Since adopting SAP Business One the company has expanded into providing slushed ice machines which are supplied free on loan.  The fixed asset management functionality in SAP Business One allows them to track movement of machines and other equipment, giving them greater control.  Other product lines have also been added including fresh ground coffee and a range of retail brands.

“SAP Business One has given us a solid platform on which to grow the company,” says their MD.  “We are confident that we can double or triple our business with the same administrative overhead.  I would recommend SAP Business One to any business of our size.  “People might shy away from it, thinking it’s for bigger companies — but it’s not expensive, and it’s a comprehensive business tool for any company that really wants to understand how it is operating.  The only caveat is, to get the maximum value from it, you really have to think carefully about how you want to run your business at the setup stage.”