When fast-growing advanced engineering manufacturer Versarien set about acquiring sintered parts specialist Total Carbide early last year, it was quickly clear that if the acquisition was to go ahead, a new ERP system would be needed.
“The company was part of an AIM-listed group running IFS right across the business,” recalls Versarien chief technology officer Will Battrick. “But the IFS system was largely being used as a group-wide reporting tool, and wasn’t really serving the needs of Total Carbide at all.”
Casting around for a solution, Versarien—established as recently as 2010, and already AIM-listed itself—spoke with Asis Solutions, a specialist manufacturing solution provider.
“We wanted a solution that wold suit Total Carbide, obviously,” says Battrick. “But we also knew that we would be growing fairly quickly ourselves, and wanted a system that was powerful enough to grow with us as we expanded. And finally, as we’re a widely distributed business, I had a strong preference for a cloud-based solution.”
The solution: SAP Business One, selected the day after the Total Carbide acquisition was completed.
“The timescales were tight,” admits Battrick. “Under the terms of the acquisition, we had three months to transition away from the IFS system, and on to our own.”
Which isn’t a problem when implementing SAP Business One, says Will Newton, head of Business One for the UK and northern Europe at SAP.
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“For SAP Business One, that’s actually a fairly typical timescale,” he explains. “Business One is a solution that’s squarely aimed at the SME market, where implementations really should be fast and effective.”
So it proved: in the event, implementation took just eight weeks, confirms Battrick.
“We have nothing but praise for Asis,” he enthuses. “They understood the fast pace that we like to work at and our immovable deadline. They also gave us the right level of support in training, consultation and the application of industry and technology best practices.”
And the difference that it has made is a significant one, he adds. Whereas Total Carbide’s previous ERP system was being largely used for financial reporting and purchasing, SAP Business One is now actively supporting the company’s manufacturing operations, and being used as a genuine manufacturing system, eliminating the use of spreadsheets and e-mails to run vital manufacturing, inventory management, and logistics processes.
And a group-wide roll-out is expected within the next 12 months, targeted on using more of the system’s inbuilt functionality—such as forecasting, exploiting historical customer data for better CRM, and the automation of KPIs.
“SAP Business One has given us a stable, scalable platform which will accommodate our growth plans,” sums up Battrick. “We now have so much more functionality to explore going forward, and view SAP Business One as indispensable to our business.”
For his part, SAP’s Newton sees Versarien’s selection of SAP Business One as part of a broader shift towards the Cloud. While the system is available either on-premise or within the Cloud, he notes, more and more businesses are seeing the logic of paying for their ERP system as they consume it, rather than in one large upfront payment.
“Some customers still prefer the capex approach, but there’s a growing requirement for an opex-based approach as well,” he notes. “And with SAP Business One, there’s a choice.”