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A Risk-Free Investment

Northamptonshire manufacturer Brian James Trailers were looking for a proven replacement for their spreadsheet-based workflow system. SAP Business One software was the perfect fit.

In 2010, Daventry-based trailer manufacturer Brian James Trailers (BJT) were looking for an upgrade to their paper-based business management structure. The company was using a multitude of different systems, including Excel spreadsheets, an Access MRP System, and Sage accounts, to manage the business, and it was constricting growth.

“It was completely disjointed,” says Dave Worsman, Managing Director of specialist SAP Business One reseller, Ochiba. “The company was seeing the usual problems you’d expect to see from having a mishmash of different systems.” After a period of deliberation, Brian James Trailers chose SAP Business One software, with implementation from Ochiba. “They didn’t want to invest in something that would be a risk,” continues Worsman. “SAP is a proven technology, which is important when you’re looking to invest the sort of money BJT were.”

Stripping back
Because the investment was so great, Ochiba and Simon Lacey, Brian James Trailers’ consultant took the radical step of stripping back every layer of the company and looking at it with fresh eyes. “I’m a strong believer that software should support the business needs, but it’s also true that the business has to help the software,” explains Lacey.

This was certainly the case with BJT. Ochiba and the company spent a year working through every part of the business from scratch, also learning the capabilities of the software. “We realised that SAP would help BJT, but only if the two could be made to work better together,” explains Worsman.

The job was huge – the company had thousands of parts and bills of materials, which were individually and painstakingly standardised to better prepare SAP for the transition. The software itself was also customised by Ochiba. “Only then did we feel confident we could successfully go live,” says Lacey.

Future scalability
The difference SAP Business One has made, however, has been immense. Between 2010 and today, the company has seen its workforce more than double, and exports grow to over 60%. However, the number of people needed to operate SAP has barely changed. “BJT have been able to scale up without the need for masses more resources to support it, and a large part of that success has been supported by SAP,” says Worsman. “The growth itself, of course, is mostly down to careful investment, but none of it would have been possible without SAP. With spreadsheets and all the different systems they had before, the company’s management simply wouldn’t have been able to get all the information they needed. The systems were at the limits of scalability, but with SAP Business One, the business is future-proofed and can keep growing. It’s been a vital investment.”

BJT are currently in the process of upgrading to SAP’s flagship HANA version of the SAP Business One software. This has also helped future-proof the business, says Worsman. “With the software being constantly upgraded to the latest version, it means the company don’t have to worry about being behind the curve.” The future, then, is looking very healthy for BJT. The company are  looking to increase overseas sales, and SAP Business One will continue to be at the heart of it. “Without it, the company simply wouldn’t be able to manage the manufacturing without a solid solution in place,” concludes Worsman.

 

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