Agrico, a specialist supplier of irrigation and mechanisation equipment to the agricultural sector, has improved its control over its business processes and enhanced efficiency by implementing Sage Evolution as its enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution.
With 900 employees and around R1 billion in annual turnover, this vertically integrated company is one of the largest businesses operating in its sector. It imports, manufactures, sells and services equipment that South African farmers need to keep their businesses running smoothly and efficiently.
The company was running a legacy ERP solution that was no longer supported by the vendor and for which it could no longer acquire additional user licences. Recognising that a business solution based on a modern architecture could help it to reduce IT cost, gain access to better management information, and streamline business processes, Agrico started looking for a new business application suite last year.
According to Agrico’s Technical Director, Roland Andrag, after considering the alternatives, the company opted for Sage Evolution from Sage Pastel because it was attracted to the simplicity of the product and was impressed by the strong list of local customer reference sites. Additionally, Sage Evolution’s local Sage Pastel business partner, Preferred Solutions, also had a long list of happy customers.
“Of the products we considered, Sage Evolution was the one with the most intuitive interface as well as the simplest, most elegant data structure,” says Andrag. “We liked the idea of working with a South African company that develops the software here. In addition, the product’s costing model was a good fit with our business model.”
One quirk of Agrico is that they have many users who make occasional use of the system. They have a large mobile salesforce that spend most of their time on the road selling product to farmers. They need to log in occasionally to upload orders and invoices. Because Sage Evolution is priced for concurrent users, Agrico did not need to buy licences for every user of the software, saving them a substantial amount of money.
Working with Preferred Solutions, Agrico was able to roll out the software in an aggressive six-month time frame. The companies installed a basic instance of the software with a test database and trained 330 users in the system at the same time. “Preferred Solutions made a big difference,” says Andrag. “It was an intense period, but it was successful.”
In addition to the Sage Evolution core functionality, Agrico is using the Multi Warehousing, Branch Accounting, Business Intelligence Centre, Bill of Materials, Retail Point of Sale, Service Manager, Cash Manager, Bank Manager, Multi Currency and Pricing Matrix modules. Together, these add up to a complete, integrated solution for the company’s needs.
Now that the system has been up-and-running for a year and a half, Agrico has seen a wide range of benefits. Sage Evolution has given the business more shape and structure, allowing the company to delineate responsibilities and accountability more clearly.
In addition, the company has a clearer real-time view of performance, down to the branch level. “We have gained a lot of control over the business,” says Andrag. “We can see what is going right and what is going wrong in our business on a daily basis.”
Management can pull reports about nearly any aspect of the business so that they have better information at hand for planning and decision-making. Debtor and creditor control are massively improved as are stock control and asset tracking. Sally Roux, Operations Director at Preferred Solutions says: “Sage Evolution gives companies such as Agrico a more integrated view of their business across their customers, suppliers and employees. The Microsoft SQL Server database ensures data integrity and maintains all data in one central database, meaning that management has a complete view of the trends in the business.”
“All components and modules in the Evolution range are fully integrated,” adds Mohammed Mosam, Product Divisional Director at Sage Pastel. “They share a common interface, providing a consistent user experience. Our clients can focus on the meaning of their financial data and how they can use it to improve their businesses instead of struggling to get to the data they need to make operational and strategic decisions.”