Hummel South Africa, an independent licensee of the global sports and leisurewear organisation, has implemented Pastel Evolution, the mid-market business solution from Softline Pastel, to achieve an integrated view of its operations and, thereby, improve value to investors.

"Evolution helped us see, for instance, that our sponsorship of the apparel and accessories for the South African Proteas playing at the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies was a good investment, this has however provided us the basis in evaluating any risks in the project and a better view for the upcoming 20twenty World Cup happening here in September,” says Hummel Chief financial manager, Shamiel Jeena.
“Because Evolution enables us to segment our stock by project and also automatically integrates our inventory management with our financials, we could very easily compare the cost of manufacture for the World Cup with its related sales and, consequently, accurately establish our profit and loss ratio. Perhaps more importantly, we got the information in real-time so that we had no delays in making a decision regarding sponsorship of the 20twenty World Cup.
“Also, the reporting capabilities of our previous system were extremely limited. We couldn’t customise reports based on the specific information we wanted at a given time. The Business Intelligence Centre in Evolution, however, allows us to customise our reports at the touch of a button.
“In addition, the old system could be over-ridden by individual members of staff – causing extensive corruption of data. By contrast, Evolution imposes access restrictions down to all levels of staff, making the system secure without creating unnecessary rigidity either in using the system or in our business processes overall.
“In other words, Evolution solved all our problems in a single package as well as giving us additional functionality options we haven’t had time to explore yet.”
As a former auditor who had worked with Pastel Xpress and Pastel Partner, Mr. Jeena did not look at competitive products before choosing Evolution. “For me, Pastel is the ideal accounting package, so as soon as I heard that Evolution had an inventory segmentation module, I knew that it would meet all our requirements.”
Implementation of Evolution for Hummel took around four weeks – a little longer than usual because data from the previous DOS-based system had to be recaptured manually into Evolution and all Hummel’s existing stock had to be recoded to fit the Evolution segmentation format.
But, Mr. Jeena says, “our implementation partner, AccountMate Africa, went the extra mile – even helping us to customize our stock take so as to ensure that our coding would be correct for use in Evolution.”
Sean Revans, senior consultant for AccountMate Africa, believes that Evolution is an ideal fit for an organisation like Hummel, which buys its stock ready-made from factories, because it massively increases control of inventory and drastically reduces losses. “It also enables multiple price lists per customer as well as multiple warehouses, significantly improving an organisation’s ability to manage suppliers and improve service to and therefore relationships with customers.”
Softline Pastel MD, Steven Cohen, says that as medium-sized businesses move away from pure-play accounting packages to solutions that automate integration of operational data with financial information, vendors need to ensure that the software they supply is easy to implement and use without sacrificing sophistication of functionality.
“Pastel Evolution is popular with both users and resellers because it is flexible and scalable without being confusing to set up. In other words, the vanilla version caters for the operational requirements of most mid-market organisations without customisation – and where more specialised or niche functionality is needed, add-on modules exist or can be easily developed.”