Gammatec relies on SAP Business One, from 4most, for control over its financials together with ease of management of the subsidiary businesses
A legacy system no longer able to cope with the demands of daily operations, saw Gammatec urgently needing to re-evaluate its existing technology platform. With an increase in global competition reinforcing the need to remain highly competitive, together with future growth plans, Gammatec's need for a single enterprise management system capable of enabling it to meet daily requirements, whilst simultaneously allowing it to take the next step, was fast becoming business critical.
Gammatec started operating in 1981 as a small enterprise, manufacturing and retailing a range of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) equipment and accessories. The company has experienced steady growth and today services countries throughout Africa and abroad. Its range of testing equipment includes radiography, ultrasonic and magnetic particle equipment and consumables with a specific focus on the oil and gas, power generation and aviation industries. In 2009, NTP Radioisotopes SOC Ltd - a subsidiary of NECSA, purchased a majority shareholding in Gammatec.
"By 2012, we had fast reached the point where our existing legacy infrastructure was not capable of meeting operational requirements," says Christo Mynhardt, Financial Manager. "At the time we were running a much smaller legacy system," adds Kobus Nortje, ERP Manager. However, years of growth and the resulting changes to internal processes and procedures had seen the original scope of requirements undergo considerable change. "We were in the position where a lot of third party tools and add-ons were being used to cope with the day to day running of our business," continues Nortje. Not only had Gammatec outgrown the functionality provided by the legacy system, but the effect on its business of multiple systems, together with a lack of integration, was cause for concern.
"As part of a larger company, regulated financial controls are key," stresses Mynhardt. However, the ability to track transactions and information throughout the existing system was problematic, involving many man hours with very little confidence in the resulting information. "Reporting was almost non-existent," continues Mynhardt. "It was taking us hours to find the data we needed and we were constantly looking for new ways of doing it. Not only was this time intensive, with the resulting dire effect on productivity, but accuracy and integrity of data was a constant concern."
Clear on its requirements, coupled with an intensive review of available solutions, Gammatec was in no doubt that SAP Business One would yield the perfect fit, able to provide the required scope for growth. "Our biggest requirement was scalability - a package that could grow alongside us, matching our growth seamlessly and with the ability to add efficiencies as and when required," says Mynhardt.
Reporting was also of prime importance together with the easy tracking of transactions and items throughout the system. "We operate in a medium to high risk arena as a direct result of the services and products we offer," continues Mynhardt. To this end, Gammatec urgently needed the functionality to be able to track within the system all items and products under repair - smoothly and effortlessly.
"Gammatec, by virtue of its state-owned company status. is required to comply with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) for all procurement decisions. This good governance involves a rigid process with a list of criteria needing to be satisfied," says Mynhardt. Having begun the process of engaging with various vendors, 4most - a leading supplier and implementer of SAP and ERP software and technology, quickly showed itself to be the most suitable supplier, with SAP the most suitable package.
4most met all the requirements Gammatec was looking for. "The 4most way of doing business also fitted in very well with our disaster recovery plan," continues Mynhardt. Software change-overs do not happen on their own. The support and commitment from the preferred partner is vital to success, not only in the build-up to implementation, but every step of the way. "4most's reputation in the marketplace is that of a vendor who truly engages with the customer, becoming a part of its team, from initial consultation right through to implementation and beyond. For us, this was as essential a requirement as the system's functionality."
"We engaged in a very lengthy consulting period prior to implementation, probably the most valuable part of the entire process," continues Nortje. Together with 4most, Gammatec worked through every required business process that could be identified. "As a result, we became aware of quite a few inadequacies within our business together with a lot of areas requiring either change or increased efficiencies," he adds. This led to a number of modifications being made within Gammatec, from a business efficiency perspective, prior to implementation.
"What was remarkable," continues Nortje, "is that there was no need to run both the old and new system in parallel." Gammatec basically switched off the old system and went live with SAP Business One immediately. Implementation of a new system, by its very nature, is always challenging. "That we were able to do this, speaks volumes not only with regards to the new system but also of the support received from 4most. They were with us every step of the way, many long nights and long weekends, but as committed to success as we were."
This was evident across the training process as well. "We required training that was fit for purpose," continues Nortje. With a wide scope of people and skill levels within Gammatec, the training offered needed to be tailored accordingly. Despite the expected initial resistance by users post switch over, with the first day to two weeks particularly challenging, Gammatec has never looked back.
"The benefit to the financial department was immediate," says Mynhardt. From efficient, quick and real-time reporting procedures through to the management of ledgers, the impact on Gammatec's daily financial operations has been significant. "We no longer question or have any concerns regarding the integrity of our data," says Mynhardt. "Understandably, this is a critical win for us." Further, the time saving and resulting increase in productivity has been another area which has seen large scale improvement. "Before, a stocktake process could take up to four days. This has been reduced to no longer than one day, with the resulting three day saving now able to be spent on other priorities and areas of the business."
But the largest benefit to Gammatec is, without a doubt, its ability to track and trace all items and transactions easily and quickly throughout the system. This has led to greater efficiencies and ease of reporting. "We no longer need paperwork to get answers," continues Mynhardt. "Everything we need to know is right there, available within the system, in real-time and literally at the click of a button. We now have the ability to move easily and smoothly from one transaction to another, following its life cycle throughout the system from beginning to end." And the ability to load price lists in the system, that can easily be updated, is yet another perk adding value to the smoother running of daily operations.
"To summarise, we now enjoy complete integration between all entities, departments and processes - not only within our immediate business but throughout our subsidiaries as well," continues Mynhardt. The impact of this, particularly when it comes to monthly reporting, has been far felt. "Before, monthly reporting was time intensive and laborious. Now, we are able to manage our subsidiaries not only more efficiently, but quicker as well."
Speaking to the relationship with 4most, Mynhardt and Nortje are as enthusiastic. "We enjoy a solid and very good business relationship, with plans underway for further enhancements." With implementation of the 4most Enterprise Manager scheduled for February 2016, Gammatec is looking forward to not only being able to involve more users, but similarly to put in place additional building blocks for increased functionality. "It's about using what we currently have, as a very solid and strong foundation, and building on it to take our business to the next level," adds Nortje.
Whilst it might be difficult to quantify an exact ROI, both Mynhardt and Nortje are in no doubt as to the impact of SAP Business One on Gammatec. "Where would we be without it," concludes Nortje.
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.