Skillcraft removes limitations with SYSPRO 8 in the cloud
With SYSPRO 8, Skillcraft sales reps will have instant access to live information, such as invoice details, stock availability, customer geography and spend, etc.
Skillcraft was started in 1991 as a general wholesale supplier of tools, general hardware, security products, architectural hardware and household fittings. In the years since, Skillcraft has morphed into a brand-focused hardware wholesaler. The company prides itself on providing industrial-quality tools at affordable prices.
From its early days on IMPACT Award, the group that owns Skillcraft has been using SYSPRO for decades. When the company selected Solid System to be its new Information Technology service provider, its IT department underwent a complete overhaul, from implementing advanced telephony to improved connectivity. This sparked the beginning of a journey to maximise the efficiency of its existing systems.
Skillcraft's Managing Director, Angelo Angelos, decided that it was time to fully embrace technology by shifting to the cloud. He signed up with a new SYSPRO partner, RPM Resources, and put the wheels in motion to extend the use of SYSPRO in the organisation.
Over the quieter end-of-year business period, RPM Resources facilitated Skillcraft’s upgrade from SYSPRO 6.1 to SYSPRO 8 and the move to the Microsoft Azure cloud. By the time the business reopened in early January, the upgrade was completed and the teething problems associated with new systems had been ironed out, causing no inconvenience or disruption of services.
“The value of this upgrade resides in the enhanced use of the full functionality of SYSPRO,” Angelos explains. “We have identified areas that have allowed us to eliminate many manual, time-consuming tasks and this has supported our drive towards increased efficiency.”
The upgrade journey
Skillcraft had two different instances of SYSPRO running all of the different modules. A decision was taken to merge under a single licence, and the upgrade journey began with an investigation of which modules were being utilised, which weren’t, and which would be required for future use.
“We tackled the upgrade in three phases,” explains RPM Director Kyle Smith. “The first phase involved handling one instance of SYSPRO and ensuring everything was working smoothly, before moving on to the second instance and following the same process. In total, there were nine companies that had to be consolidated under one licence. The third phase was dedicated to bringing all of the users together who were shared across the two instances.”
Thanks to Skillcraft’s recent IT overhaul, RPM had to ensure that SQL Server and all the other relevant programs installed correctly on its brand-new servers.
“We basically started off with a blank slate, which gave us an exciting opportunity to experiment without affecting anything in the live environment,” says Smith.
During the upgrade, RPM took note of the possibility that Skillcraft might roll out Espresso, SYSPRO’s mobile solution, in the near future and advised the company to enable Server-Side Printing. With Server-Side Printing, a requested report goes in to a reporting queue, much like the printing queue, and then the server generates and saves the report before sending the final results in whatever format was requested. Offloading all the report generation work to the server saves time, improves performance for other tasks and frees up space.
Skillcraft has since made progress with the Espresso product and will roll it out to the sales representatives (reps) to enable them to place orders directly into SYSPRO using their tablets or mobile phones. Angelos says: “We have been using a third-party EDI software provider for many years to enable our reps and customers to place orders directly within SYSPRO. However, we have always been plagued by synchronisation issues between the SYSPRO database and the third-party database.
“Espresso, with its direct connection into the SYSPRO database, is a game-changer for us. No more lost orders or incorrect stock-level reporting. We now have accurate information directly from the live SYSPRO database.”
Simplifying complexity for rapid expansion
The sky is the limit for Angelos as his business continues to grow exponentially. “Our imported INGCO range is creating a clear identity for us in the marketplace. Offering industrial-quality tools at DIY prices allows us to successfully compete against the most well-known brands.”
INGCO is a versatile brand that includes a wide range of power tools, hand tools, air tools, power tool accessories and measuring tools. Skillcraft is the sole agent for INGCO in SA, as well as in Namibia and Botswana.
Angelos manages his reps with a series of dashboards that ensure the availability of easy-to-interpret, visually descriptive data. These dashboards are distributed daily to keep all stakeholders in the loop.
“With SYSPRO 8, my vision that my sales reps have instant access to live information, such as the status of a repair, invoice details, stock availability, customer geography and spend, etc will soon become a reality.”
In the cloud
Skillcraft operates multiple branches. The centralisation of data, as a result of the move to the cloud, has simplified the sharing of data between these geographically removed centres. Maintenance and the physical threat of theft or vandalism of servers has been eliminated.
“We haven’t yet had the time to experience the full functionality of SYSPRO 8,” says Angelos. “I look forward to carrying out a full business process review with RPM in the near future and understanding which other aspects of our business can be enhanced by this software.”
Established in 1978, SYSPRO is an industry-built Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution designed to simplify business complexity for manufacturers and distributors worldwide. SYSPRO provides an end-to-end business solution for optimised cost control, streamlined business processes, improved productivity, and real-time data analysis for comprehensive reporting and decision-making. SYSPRO is highly scalable and can be deployed either in the cloud or on-premises, or accessed via any mobile device.
Combined with a practical approach to technology and a passionate commitment to simplifying business processes, SYSPRO dedicates itself to the success of its partners and customers alike.