The world’s largest taxidermy business, Highveld Taxidermists, has implemented SAP Business One to streamline its production processes and more effectively manage customer relationships.
Highveld Taxidermists is based in Centurion outside Pretoria and has annual turnover of about R12-million.
The company produces upwards of 7 000 hunting trophies a year for international hunters who have hunted (legally) their trophies in Africa. Lower costs in South Africa and the company’s state-of-the-art equipment also attract international business with skins originating in the US also sent to Highveld Taxidermists to process and return.
Highveld Taxidermists’ operations are therefore unusually complex for a small organisation, involving the co-ordination of accurate and specialist management of import and export activities with the meeting of state health, veterinary and quarantine requirements in ways that enable precise scheduling of production.
“The ordinary accounting package we had gave us no visibility into our production processes, which meant that we struggled to get all the trophies that needed to be exported simultaneously ready at a given time,” says Highveld Taxidermist director, Thomas Ochsenbein.
“That, in turn, meant incurring penalties for holding up containers, a cost that could have been avoided if we would have seen at any point in the production process what was outstanding on what trophy and we would have taken relevant action to bring it back into the pipeline.
“I was driving down the highway and saw a billboard advert about a global car manufacturer using SAP software and thought that if SAP could manage such a complex production environment it should certainly be able to help ours. So I made enquiries, was told about SAP Business One, was introduced to Bluekey Software Solutions, and three months later we were up and running.”
Ochenbein says Highveld Taxidermists now have nothing in its workshop waiting for other products to be finished, which means orders can be sent out together. In addition, he says that the real time insight provided by SAP Business One’s built-in customer relationship management module means the company can make pro-active sales calls and keep its work pipeline flowing smoothly.
“The solution is so easy to learn and use that we are now, five months down the line, almost entirely self-sufficient on it. We’ve had superb service from Bluekey Software Solutions, particularly in the early months when we would call on them for advice and changes to our set-up. But we’re expecting not to need them again, except for the occasional upgrade,” says Ochenbein.
Bluekey Software Solutions Account Manager Martin Robinson says that SAP Business One is a superb tool for small businesses in the manufacturing sector “because it seamlessly integrates production activities with back office administration, enabling you to see at a glance what risks your business is exposed to at any stage in the production flow.
“And because SAP Business One’s manufacturing functionality is based on best practice, you can automate your routine work, giving yourself the breathing space to look at what you can refine, adjust, or enhance in order to improve the business’s overall performance,” says Robinson.
Ochsenbein says that SAP Business One is also saving Highveld Taxidermists money by streamlining both production and administrative activities. “Even though I have looked at SAP Business One as a long-term investment focused mostly on increasing visibility in the business, we’re already seeing the benefit of increased efficiencies throughout the organisation. In other words, I’m confident that we’re going to more than get our money back.”