Company Profile Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solution that help businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialised services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business. For more information visit www.microsoft.com/southafrica/dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics® GP takes Billabong SA to the next level
“Microsoft Dynamics GP has assisted us in taking our business to the next level. It’s a powerful system with so much on offer."
Ernest Bendeman, General Manager, Billabong SA
Billabong South Africa is the local manufacturer and distributor of the global Billabong brand of apparel and action sports accessories. This South African branch originated as a privately owned franchise, subsequently evolving in to a complex business operation encompassing product design, manufacturing and warehousing. This expansion created challenges that could no longer be addressed by an exclusively accounting- based solution.
When the company became a wholly- owned subsidiary of Billabong Australia, the increased demands on its reporting systems outstripped the capabilities of its existing Pastel program. The company struggled to manage costs from source through to delivery, and disparate, outdated systems proved problematic. As a result, Billabong SA found itself in need of an ERP solution capable of providing a single source of information necessary for the efficient operation of all critical business processes
The company partnered with the Cape Town-based Datasmith, a Microsoft Certified Partner and specialist in Microsoft Dynamics GP implementations.
“What initially attracted us to Microsoft Dynamics GP was that it offered impressive functionality, with excellent scalability and was affordable to us as a smaller business,” says Billabong SA’s Financial Manager, Colin Temlett.“
We looked at a number of competing products and we found this to be the best fit for us.
“Our Microsoft SQL Server is the foundation around which everything else is built. This made the system relatively simple to manage by our own IT personnel,”says IT Manager Graeme Sarjeant. “Based in Jeffreys Bay, we are quite isolated from a skills perspective. It was imperative that the solution we implemented be easily supported by a skills set that is available and affordable.
To streamline operations, Datasmith authored several bespoke application to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics GP, including Mobile Sales,Range List Design, and a Colour/Size Matrix. These have been combined with comprehensive reporting and analytics using SSRS and SSAS.
“With some customisations, which the solution readily supports, we now have a software solution that really suits our business, ”comments Sarjeant. “We are now operating our entire business off a single integrated platform. Whether you are sitting in our warehouse, in our print room, in accounts, or even in the design studio, Microsoft Dynamics GP is running the show .It is very easy to operate and is fully integrated through out all our business processes. We also leveraged the user- friendly, Microsoft-based landscape to engender swift user adoption of the system.
As part of the greater global Billabong operation, the company must comply with certain reporting and control mechanisms. “Microsoft Dynamics GP is a compact and expensive system and Head Office is genuinely impressed with the quality and accuracy of information that we are able to provide,”says Sarjeant. Billabong SA imports about 60 percent of its stock. The balance is manufactured either locally, or in the Far East. Microsoft Dynamics GP administers data across borders and in fluctuating currencies to manage job costing with speed and accuracy. Handy drill-down functions and multi-currency capabilities facilitate close monitoring of costs to maximize competitiveness.
As fashions are seasonal and date from one year to the next, sales forecasting becomes a precise art. Microsoft Dynamics GP provides the tools necessary to plan and execute manufacturing and procurement activities effectively and limit percentages oversold. In addition, it generates real-time sales budgets versus actual comparisons, enabling Billabong SA to identify and address variances swiftly, as they arise.
Since its implementation of Dynamics GP, Billabong SA has become the local distributors of an additional nine surfwear brands, an expansion aided by the system’s robust nature. There are now over 26 000 individual items currently in its database. Clothing items also have pack, colour and size permutations attached, leading to SKUs far exceeding this number. The company enjoys tight stock control and enhanced visibility of this vast assortment, turning a previous pain point into a strategic advantage.
Billabong SA’s General Manager, Ernest Bendeman, reiterates the company’s satisfaction with the system: Microsoft Dynamics GP has certainly assisted us in taking our business to the next level. It’s a powerful system with so much on offer. The sales/PO cube and sales ordering system have allowed us to view our business across all dimensions.
“Microsoft Dynamics GP is a great asset to our company and, with it, we’ll continue to push the boundaries to ensure the future success of Billabong SA,” Bendeman concludes.