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Construction firm boosts efficiencies with Sage ERP specialist

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Red Man Technologies, a South African-based business integration company, has been chosen by Global Design and Build Solutions (GdbS), which specialises in international construction for both on and off shore projects and whose headquarters are in Mauritius, to implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution from Softline Enterprise to boost efficiencies and profitability.

“With current contracts valued at US$80-million and an annual projected revenue of $30-million, we need an integrated, automated system that delivers realtime information in order to be able to deliver the rapid response and quality of service we promise our customers,” says GdbS executive director for procurement and logistics, Mark Webber.
“Our original system, which required manual input as well as manual management, was giving us information too late for us to act on it.
“Also, as an international company, we manage many remote sites where our employees need access to a single database that has all the current information they need. It was crucial, therefore, that we eliminate duplication of input – and functionality – as well reducing the time gap between inputting and accessing information.
“But we didn’t want the expense and management and maintenance complexity of a proprietary system. We went looking for an off-the-shelf system that would need only minor customisation to fit our particular needs in the construction industry.
“Of the products we looked at, Sage Line 500 was the only one that promised to give us that.”
Hein Pretorius, MD of Red Man Technologies, GdbS’ implementation partner, says that because of the flexibility and rich functionality of the Sage solution, Red Man was able provide a 95% fit for GdbS business processes, with only 5% of the package needing to be customised to accommodate integration with a third party quantity surveying application.
“Also, the Sage procurement module is so comprehensive that it can easily accommodate very complex environments, like the construction industry. And, our experience with Sage and with this kind of industry goes back a long way. So we’re expecting no challenges with the implementation.”
“What we’ve appreciated about the way Red Man has gone about preparing us for the implementation is that they’ve steered us away from additional functionality that we would have opted for and, in fact, could get from modules we were already planning to use,” Webber says. “In other words, Red Man has ensured that we spend only what we need to spend on this implementation.”
Although the implementation is still in its initial phases, GdbS has already seen benefits.
“Just by having Red Man work us through our business processes, in order to map them to the outcomes we wanted, we’ve spotted ways of improving the way we do things. On its own, that’s an enormous benefit. It also means that we’re assured of optimising the Sage solution and getting the best possible return on it.
“One of the best ways of getting a quick, substantial return on investment in a software solution is to ensure that you have a good ratio between your purchase price and your implementation costs,” Pretorius says. “And the best way to ensure that your implementation costs are not bloated out of proportion to the technology is to go with implementation partners with extensive experience of using technology to make businesses more agile.
“It’s a fundamental philosophy, because there’s no way you can make your customer’s more agile if you are not agile yourself – using experience to cut through all the technology knots to make the technology do what the business wants and not the other way round.
“It’s also experience that enables you to do the implementation right first time – and not incur the cost, time, and headaches of rehashing any part of it.”