Service Parts Logistics (SPL), the largest information and communications technology (ICT) service parts solutions company in Africa and the Middle East, has implemented SAP Business One to fully automate its business processes and efficiently manage its complicated supply chain.

SPL group financial director, Chris Cox says: “Our business is complex, with thousands of parts and warranties to track across a range of different suppliers and a range of different customers in different countries.”
“We manage the service parts channel for HP, Fujitsu Siemens, Apple, and Toshiba in Africa and the Middle East as well as providing multi-vendor parts for the top 20 manufacturers. We also manage all warranties in the region on behalf of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
“We felt the need to eliminate errors while speeding up our response to customers – and that meant integrating our bespoke logistics system with our other operations and then automating all repetitive and routine activities. Specifically, we wanted our operations to run with minimal human intervention.
“As part of that, we wanted to be able to link with the websites of the OEMs in order to pick up early enough any requests logged on those sites by their customers for new or replaced parts and, thereby, ensure that we could keep our promise of delivering the right part, to the right place, at the right time, at the right price.
“At the time that we were looking at products that promised us all of this capability, we were also rolling out new business in Dubai and wanted a system that could be implemented very quickly to assist in that roll-out.
“We decided on SAP Business One – in large measure because it could be implemented in six weeks. It helped, of course, that it was a well-known, well-supported brand that was also very good value for money.”
Rigby Stott of KSO, SPL’s implementation partner, says that getting SAP Business One implemented by 1 December 2007, as requested by SPL, was challenging because of a number of SPL-specific business processes for which SAP Business One had to be customised.
“We also had to create an interface between their bespoke logistics system and provide a single sales quotation window in which the 50 users of SAP Business One could see all the information they needed to make a sale. The objective was to prevent inbound and outbound telesales people having to navigate between the stock and quotation modules as they spoke to customers.
“We made the deadline because SAP Business One’s software development kit is extraordinarily powerful. Also Chris Cox made himself available to our consultants on a full time basis. So if we needed anything done by SPL, it got done immediately.”
Cox says that SPL very quickly realised benefits from the SAP Business One implementation. “We’ve become more efficient and our processes are more precise.
“Also, because all our base documents are being triggered automatically, we’re being saved hours of manual input. We can now sit back and look at data output rather than spending time on the input. Inevitably, this will enhance the way we run the business.”
Stott believes that SPL will, over time, get even more competitive advantage out of SAP Business One – particularly in the areas of service and equipment management. “Even so, it’s only been a few months and SPL is already using 90% of the application. So, while there are other aspects they can grow into, they’re getting enormous value in the short term.”