Market leader and specialised truck provider, Isuzu Truck SA, has experienced dramatically increased turnaround time to market, and drastically reduced administration, paperwork and employee frustration after implementing 4most's Enterprise Manager (EMA) powered by SAP Business One.
About Isuzu Truck South Africa
Catering for the commercial truck business, and with 35 dealers, Isuzu Truck South Africa offers their clients the best truck for their needs, as well as world class after-sales support to right-hand drive countries in Africa including Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mauritius.
Operating in the capital goods side of the automotive industry, the prime goal of the company is customer care. Craig Uren, COO of Isuzu Truck SA explains that they offer unique, specialised and high value trucks with a commercial impact, aimed at generating revenue for their owners. Turnaround time and speed to the market with a complete solution is a critical factor, "Part of the product we sell is incomplete when it leaves the factory, so the supply chain is a very important part of our business," he elaborates.
The Business Case
After gaining independence from its parent company, Isuzu Truck South Africa needed a solution for dealer and OEM management that would unify operations on a single platform. With a legacy infrastructure falling short of current requirements, their previous system was not able to accommodate the company's more distinctive process management needs.
For Isuzu Truck South Africa, a back office system that didn't hinder or distract was imperative, as it runs a high value and low transactional order business. The company thus decided on 4most's EMA, powered by SAP Business One for a more specialised and flexible solution.
"Within being different we threw away the textbooks and we basically asked 4most to address our needs as to what we wanted that was commonsensical, logical and would make our business flexible and efficient," says Uren.
4most's solution gives them the ability to manage the vehicle all the way through to a complete good and that is the key success factor and the attraction of their business enabler. "Our business enabler is that we are in the supply chain, we are not just an OE, the supply chain is probably more important to our existence than just the production and distribution of the hardware," Uren emphasises.
In addition, he explains that the automotive business does not have high margins; but rather has to contend with the risks of having too much inventory on hand, as well as very long lead times and extensive supply chains from source. An advantage of having a flexible and customisable enterprise management system in place, such as EMA, is that the company can reduce these risks by offering far shorter lead times.
"Now we can order all the ancillary equipment to get to the completed good, so when we put that vehicle to stock, any other material that we needed to complete the vehicle would become available in the next thirty days; we can order it all up on the system, and marry it together. Previously it was impossible to do that," he elaborated.
Benefits, returns and all-round-savings
In practical terms this translates into an increased response time to the marketplace. It enables Isuzu Trucks to provide its customers with their order much faster, while simultaneously mitigating against inventory values, holding costs, and other downstream inefficiencies.
"One of the critical factors is that we can turn around and give the vehicle to the customer in 30 days instead of 180 days," says Uren. "Previously it was very much a manual thing, trying to remember a purchase order you placed five months ago. It was hugely time consuming and clumsy. Now it is all on the system and monitored throughout."
Additionally, the fact that EMA is a cloud solution means that Isuzu Truck South Africa is able to get its dealers onto the system with a minimum of fuss, as all they require is a username, password and internet connection. For this reason and more, they are spending a tenth of what they used to on systems.
A single source of information for both Isuzu and their dealers now allows for a clear communication channel as well as a trust environment. Dealers can view the entire process online and can access data 24/7, making it easy for them to monitor stock and systems. This also eliminates unnecessary time wastage with regards to vehicle or warranty queries as both parties have full visibility of the dealers stock and warranty transactions.
Through the solution the company has drastically reduced administration, paperwork and employee frustration. "Previously we had three people processing vehicles, and they could probably do 150 vehicles a month with the required admin," continues Uren. "Those same three people are doing 400 to 500 a month now quite comfortably because it is all pretty streamlined for them."
Uren goes on to explain how they have saved 100% time in the supply chain environment and how they now have control. Everything is track able, traceable and they are able to monitor and identify where things went wrong or didn't go wrong." The company is now able to pay our dealers and suppliers more quickly, and we are also in a position for the banks to pay us faster as well."
As to what lies ahead now that Isuzu Trucks SA has reached its goal of becoming local market leaders, Uren states that they are continually developing and implementing solutions that are making their business more efficient, more responsive and cutting down on the mundane, unnecessary admin.
He revealed that the company is looking at the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa as part of their business focus. "Business is about change and you need to be able to adapt and move with change quickly because we rely on customers; without customers we can't develop or sell and generate revenue. However, to stay in touch with the real marketplace, a business must remain up to date. Part of this means that your enterprise management system cannot be a distraction and needs to help you address the fundamentals and goals of your business," says Uren
Uren testifies that the system has allowed them the opportunity to grow their business and to be very bold and progressive in their marketplace. "We're very pleased we went with SAP Business One, because really our lives would be quite stressful, challenging, we would still be where we were five years ago. Though the last two years have been hugely successful for us, having achieved Market Leader status last year, I think we are just hopefully scraping the beginnings of its true worth," he concludes.
4most, established in 2004, is the number one supplier and implementer of SAP ERP business management solution software and technology solutions. With offices in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Namibia, along with a presence in Zambia and Malawi and a growing footprint in Tanzania, 4most offers a strong base provided by considerable experience and skills accumulated over 25 years.
We have implemented over 3000 SAP Business One users across numerous industries and have supplied services to more than 150 companies, including implementation, support and maintenance. Application modifications of SAP Business One and other ERP software systems have provided tailor-made and innovative solutions, which have created a competitive advantage for numerous businesses in Southern Africa.
4most truly partners with our clients from the very beginning. We have dynamic IT and business specialists, who provide customers with a platform for growth based on best practice and understand the SME-market as well as support functions which include infrastructure support and maintenance, software development and training.
We seek to fully understand our clients business and daily operational processes, we then address their requirements whilst sharing our knowledge and expertise and best advise them of industry standards and best practices. We provide them with a clear project plan detailing roles, responsibilities and timelines and we remain with our clients as they grow and help them to define their future business.
As an SAP Gold Partner, being the first and only partner to establish all-round SAP competency, the consistency of our expertise in business management solutions has earned 4most an award-winning reputation. The company boasts a dedicated client care centre and an in-house training facility for continued care. Our offices include a data centre to facilitate hosted solutions tailored to business specific requirements.