Furniture Palace, a fast-growing Kenya-based contemporary furniture retailer, has doubled its profits, product range and market share after implementing an end-to-end business management solution.
With the new integrated system in place, the company is saving about KES 500 000 per month (KES 6-million per year) as a result of greater employee productivity, better stock management, enhanced process efficiencies and tighter financial controls.
Stock pilferage, which was costing the company about KES 1-million a year, has been reduced by more than 90%.
Bluekey Software Solutions, a technology company which specialises in the implementation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence tools for companies in Africa, developed the customised solution for Furniture Palace with SAP Business One.
SAP Business One is an affordable, easy-to-use and highly-customisable business management software solution designed specifically for small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). It enables companies to manage critical business functions in a single integrated system, and deliver instant access to credible business information across the enterprise.
The solution implemented for Furniture Palace includes sales, purchasing, banking and financials, stock management, service (job cards) and production. Bluekey also recommended the BoyumIT Usability Pack that provides Furniture Palace with tools to easily customise their system further, as well as implement productivity improvements like bulk e-mails for the sending of monthly statements.
“The customisability of SAP Business One was a tremendous advantage in developing the solution for Furniture Palace. We successfully created a system that integrates and automates all of their business functions and processes within a unified architecture. This ensures previously-unprecedented control and visibility over the business.
“The system is extremely user-friendly and intuitive so the company was able to get their users up and running relatively easily despite being used to working with mostly manual processes in the past,” says Mala Bhatt, MD at Bluekey Kenya.
He adds that SAP Business One provides an excellent fit for the typical Africa-based business because it is specifically designed for small- and medium-sized enterprises, and because it is easily configured for varying business needs, without having to do bespoke development as is often the case with other less flexible products.
According to Karim Sultan, the CFO at Furniture Palace, the new system has eliminated all of the issues the growing company had been facing.
“Outsourced accounts, lack of reporting, poor approval and escalation processes, transaction errors and duplications were just some of the issues we were experiencing with our previous bespoke system. It was a simple system that was not integrated, consisted of lots of manual transactions and lacked access to the information we required to run the business better.
“With SAP Business One, we are delivering realtime access to accurate information across the enterprise to enhance better reporting and decision-making.
“The high degree of visibility we have gained with the system has increased our control over the different functional areas of the business, while reducing stock write offs and payroll costs,” he says, adding that at the company’s current growth rate, they would have expected payroll costs to increase by 30%.
Now, with SAP Business One in place, the business handles customer orders, pre-delivery inspection, loading sheet, delivery and invoicing through to procurement and stock – all with the same workforce as before.
Sultan explains that because most of the company’s processes in the past were manual, transitioning to the integrated, fully automated system was somewhat challenging.
“At the same time it has been extremely rewarding. Bluekey applied a solid project methodology to the implementation, and with their experience and expertise, they made the transition more manageable. In the end, their change management skills pulled us through and gave us the skills we needed to start realising value from the system almost immediately.”
The implementation of SAP Business One at Furniture Palace brought about some interesting highlights that greatly benefitted the business. For instance, Bluekey was able to create controls to restrict users from transacting in branches they do not work at. The team also automated their item codes based on previous groupings and categories.
Although the other ERP solution the company looked at was 30% cheaper, they felt more confident in the Bluekey team and the SAP product.
“We knew that this was a decision for the long-haul, and we needed to be confident in the future direction and development of the system. SAP was well able to satisfy this requirement.
“The Bluekey team was of great assistance to us and showed incredible professionalism. They also demonstrated in-depth knowledge of SAP Business One and our industry. Without their experience and know-how relating to business process flows and accounting the project would have been much more stressful.
“They were dedicated to the project, took our needs into account and ensured that the implementation was completed on time and within budget. We would recommend Bluekey and SAP Business One to any business that would like to grow, run better and become more profitable.
“Furniture Palace envisages robust growth in the future, especially in opening new branches. We also expect to maintain, and grow, our market share to become the leading furniture supplier in the African region,” concludes Sultan.