SAP Business One helps Oprema achieve record growth targets to become largest security distributor in the UK
Oprema is one of the fastest growing UK multi-brand distributors of CCTV, Fire Systems, Access Control, Intruder Alarms and Data Products to the security trade.
It is recognised in Wales as a Fast Growth 50 company and in 2018 was named the UK Dahua Distributor of the Year.
With highly ambitious growth targets Oprema did not have fit-for-purpose technology to drive the company’s success. It needed a software solution that would streamline key processes and provide greater insight into the business.
Getting accurate pricing data to customers with preferential rates and accompanying data sheets on the first of each month without fail was a critical part of the sales process. Another key priority was to be able to track the despatch and shipping of products to gain vital visibility with the aim of reducing customer queries.
The follow up to customers’ technical support calls was proving to be an administrative burden. This is an integral part of its customer service and security project provision but Oprema did not have an adequate method of monitoring and tracking these calls to enable proactive response. Oprema was also looking at how it could drive changes in its warehouse management and create a paperless environment with scanning capability.
Oprema selected SAP Business One over an upgrade to Sage 200. The ERP software exceeded the firm’s needs for business functionality and with its Business Process Automation (BPA) capabilities would extend the solution to automate business alerts, emails and document automation.
Rapidly built applications and automated processes with point and click BPA platform
Almost all the standard functionality of SAP Business One is utilised. Additionally, Codestone worked closely with Oprema to tailor the system for its exact requirements and supported the BPA applications as they were being built. Although the platform is designed to be ‘codeless’ using drag and drop technology, there were some more complex applications where Codestone stepped in to provide support, for example with the creation of very large and detailed price lists tailored to each customer.
Oprema now generates automated emails within SAP so that customers receive accurate customised pricing and data sheets monthly, all with a reference number in the email subject header that is trackable for easy reference. Often there can be a long lead time between quotation and order and the reference number enables everything to be logged and followed up seamlessly.
Proactive technical support
Oprema is committed to providing its customers with industry leading technical support and security project provision, from design to pre-configuration and commissioning. Integral to this is the technical support call service, where the firm now records, monitors and tracks the support provided to each caller within the SAP system. Using this data resource, it generates automated emails to customers with the resolution or details of any follow up required.
The technical support manager receives an automated email at the end of each Friday providing him with a list of all technical support calls for the week, itemised by customer, product or by manufacturer. These stats enable Oprema to identify problems or product failure trends and to report back to the manufacturer, often before the manufacturer has identified it themselves.
“SAP Business One has enabled us to adopt a more consultative approach to our technical support service. We use our stats to advise customers on any training requirements for new or inexperienced installers for example, because we have a record of the number of support calls that have been made,” says Ross Hawkins, Operations Director, Oprema.
99% picking and packing accuracy in a paperless warehouse
Oprema had a target to become a paperless warehouse. With Codestone’s Codescan, every product serial number is scanned providing a true audit trail of what has happened to each product, down to what shelf it came from, making dealing with customer queries much easier. Customers also benefit from serialising products through to being able to asset track their CCTV systems.
The firm produces around 100 CCTV recorders per day, which it builds from the bare chassis, populates the hard drive, updates firmware and adds any special firmware requirements. Before the product is shipped to the customer, its serial number, build time and date is recorded onto the SAP system. This allows any problems to be easily referenced and dealt with swiftly and accurately. In addition, the build team take high definition panoramic video recording of the build process, also fed into SAP, providing full audit trail and proof of production quality.
According to Oprema’s own analysis, out of over 29,000 deliveries shipped in the last year, over 99% picking and packing accuracy was recorded. This is down to its scanning and automated pick and pack processes, together with its video technology that enables the company to record everything that is done in the warehouse.
“Considering we hold some £5m of stock incorporating 1,950 separate product lines, this level of success is impressive,” says Ross. “It benefits our staff too because they have proof of their processes in the event of a customer query.”
Automated reporting makes the business run smoother
Oprema generates a range of integrated reports from SAP Business One with real-time data that helps the company achieve its warehouse logistics and stock management.
By 8am the build team get an automated report showing them what’s in stock and what’s been sold over the last 30 days. So, when they arrive they know exactly what their priorities are for that day in terms of replenishing the relevant stock. The warehouse manager also gets a generated report informing him what pallets are required from the off-site storage facility to replenish local stock, which shelves need replenishing and whether a fork lift truck is required.
The reporting capability enables Oprema to send out some 700 customised price lists to selected customers each month. The price list contains 33,000 individual products and comes with a ‘previously purchased’ tab so it’s easy for customers to make selections on frequently used products.
For additional reports Codestone worked closely with Scott Cox, Oprema’s System Support Manager, who had the skills to write code for exact reports required by the senior leadership team, helping improve Oprema’s profitability.
The returns policy is also much smoother. Where products are returned to suppliers because of faults or credit note requests, the system keeps the engineers informed with automated alerts so they don’t have to keep chasing for updates.
The value and amount of quotations and sales for the day and week are distributed to staff in a report itemised by customer name and total gross profit. Management knows how busy the warehouse has been on a particular day and how varied the orders have been. This type of data is used in analysis to consider factors like average pick times and how staff pick products, whether by bin location or by individual orders. The analysis provides the flexibility to change the way the firm does things.
Integral to the success of the project was the seamless collaboration between Codestone and Scott Cox, Oprema’s System Support Manager, whose technical ability and enthusiasm enabled Codestone to always have someone on site who understood the technical side of the software along with the key business requirements Oprema needed to achieve the system upgrade from Sage.
Ross concludes, “Our commitment to improving the efficiency of our business processes, coupled with our added value services, makes us a preferred partner for installers and integrators and the ideal supply channel for technology manufacturers. Since implementing SAP Business One our staff numbers have grown from 8 to 50, and if we achieve our target for this year we will have grown the business from £1.5m to £19.1m in just over five years”.
Key Business Benefits
- Oprema customers receive accurate pricing and data sheets via email and are given a reference number and previously purchased tab which makes re-ordering much easier.
- Oprema has an average of 99% pick and pack accuracy for its UK orders, which together with video technology, has reduced the numbers of customer queries and returns.
- Customers receive a more consultative approach to technical support because Oprema tracks all communication in its technical support service and is able to be proactive through its use of data and stats.
- The warehouse team uses Codescan scanning automation to input warehouse data into the ERP solution, streamlining processes and reducing errors.
Working with Codestone
“I am confident to say that we would not be the success story we are today had we not worked with SAP and Codestone. I’d add that SAP Business One could probably be attributed to 50% of our success.”
“The timing was spot on for us when implementing SAP Business One, as it gave us the opportunity and impetus to really get the business into full swing. From automated customer emails, to logging customer support calls and reporting capabilities, we now provide that value-add approach that our customers in this industry sector are seeking.”
“Before we implemented SAP Business One we were probably the 25th largest security distributor in the UK. We are now the fastest growing security distributor in the UK.”
Ross Hawkins, Operations Director, Oprema