Swavet, a South African supplier of veterinary products ranging from antibiotics and syringes to agricultural scales and ear tags, is using SAP Business One, the enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for small businesses from global business solutions giant, SAP, to reduce costs and boost operational efficiencies.

“Although we are a relatively small company employee-wise, we have fairly complex operational processes,” says Swavet South Africa managing director, Fritz Rexrodt. “We import instruments from all over the world, most of our medicinal products are manufactured here in South Africa – some of them are imported, have 15 sales representatves spread across all the provinces, export to most of the SADC countries, and process huge volumes new data every day.
“To keep all that moving without a glitch and to ensure efficient procurement and effective sales, I need access to real time information about every aspect of the business. Reporting capabilities are particularly important to me because, on the medicinal side of the business, we compete with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. On the instrument side, although we have lines in which we are not the largest supplier, we do offer the most comprehensive range of products in the country.
“I can only keep us ahead of competitors and also stay competitive on pricing if I know, on a daily basis, what products are selling in which areas of the country – and how our current sales figures compare with last year.
“With our previous system, Pastel Evolution, something as simple as finding a customer phone number would take 20 minutes of hard drive activity. With SAP Business One I can get any information I need in a few seconds.
“I wish I’d had the system five years ago. It would have saved me a great deal of money and it would have made me a lot of money."
Paul Marketos, MD of Swavet’s implementation partner Bluekey Software Solutions, says that in today’s technology-driven business environment enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, which used always to be the preserve of large enterprises, are an ideal vehicle for smaller businesses to gain more control of and insight into their organisations.
“Systems like SAP Business One that are specifically designed for smaller businesses inherently contain all the business processes and tools that can lift them into a new league of competitiveness with a minimum of executive effort. And because the systems are designed to be easy to use, efficiency among employees also improves with only a little extra training.
“What’s great about the way Swavet is using SAP Business One is that it’s not relying only on the parts of the solution that helped it with its initial requirements, but is progressively exploiting more of the functionality at all employee levels. So, for Swavet, growth is an unlimited option.”
SAP South Africa Business One solution manager Paul Vermaak says the company’s experience has been that once small businesses move from manual or pure-play accounting systems to SAP Business One they begin to grow very rapidly – and understand that it’s the system that’s enabling their growth.
“In a formal survey of existing SAP Business One customers, many have said that they see it as a powerful expansion tool. And analysis of our sales shows that of the 40% increase in SAP Business One sales, 39% came from existing customers wanting more licences. That’s a sure sign that they’re growing.”