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SA wine farm partners with Microsoft

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With a recorded history dating back to 1692, Spier is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa. The winery is also one of the most awarded in the country.
The accounting environment of Spier was implemented more than a decade ago and was no longer fulfilling the diverse business needs of the winery. Spier selected Microsoft Dynamics NAV as an ERP solution and wine ERP specialists Linc, was contracted to deploy the solution.

“In essence, our previous solution was a no-frills system that simply gave us a blue screen with information. There was no capabilities to drill down into further business analysis. As it was quite an old solution, we had to build all sorts of systems around it to continue supporting our business processes,” says Karin Smidt, finance manager at Spier Wines.

This resulted in additional challenges as the supporting systems also had to be maintained. Invariably, Spier started having difficulties with the accuracy of its reports with results differing from the one day to the next. “We appointed
a working group to find a new solution to meet our accounting and business intelligence requirements. Microsoft Dynamics NAV provided the perfect fit,” she says.

The system needed to be user-friendly and provide Spier with a standard financial accounting system across its business units (Wines, Leisure, Property, and Holdings). Finally, it had to integrate into its business processes to provide for monthly forecasting and insight on the optimal working capital needed to manage the business. “We had to replace everything on our side to migrate to the more modern system. Despite the complexity of the implementation, the Microsoft Implementation partner, Linc, provided us with great assistance from a project management perspective. This enabled us to go live on our new platform in-time and in-budget,” she says.

“Given the broad scope of systems that needed to be replaced at Spier, including the requirement for an integrated cellar management module, our proven vertical solution of Microsoft Dynamics NAV integrated with the WineMS winery management system was an easy choice for Spier. With a number of successful implementations of this integrated industry solution, the fit to Spier’s requirements was very high,” says Attie Retief, director and co-owner of Linc, a Microsoft Dynamics NAV Implementation partner.

Spier also appointed an internal project team that consisted of people from the different business units. This provided the Linc team with the necessary input in terms of key internal processes and elements required for the reporting environment.

“The team at Spier really excelled at change management, user participation and adoption and overall internal project leadership – without a doubt one of our more successful projects, and most of it can be attributed to the high level of executive management buy-in,” says Doug Batchelor, director and co-owner of Linc.

Spier implemented several modules of Microsoft Dynamics NAV including General Ledger, Cash Management, Receivables, Payables, Fixed Assets, Inventory, Manufacturing, and Warehousing.

“We are very happy with Microsoft Dynamics NAV. It has certainly met our expectations,” says Smidt. Microsoft Dynamics NAV has enabled Spier to significantly improve its efficiencies. The business has reduced the time it spends on maintenance and it has ticked all the boxes in terms of enhanced support and business integration.

“Using Dynamics across our operations is a pleasure with everything fitting in smoothly. We are already in talks to start implementing Microsoft SharePoint to further enhance our operating environment,” concludes Smidt.