Lafarge reinforces the value of Sage Line 500

Johannesburg, 11 Aug 2008
Read time 3min 40sec

The recent installation of Sage Line 500 Version 7 at Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe Limited has streamlined its critical business processes, as well as given staff efficiency and customer service a welcome boost.

The company, previously known as Circle Cement, has found that its accounting, stock, estimates, orders, invoicing, reporting and sales processes have been greatly improved since the Sage software replaced two existing software programmes.

Sage Line 500 Version 7 provides real-time information on stocks and account balances, captures orders, reconciles them with the payments office, creates an invoice and, once payment has been made, releases and dispatches the order. It also has the capacity to take on production functions, providing accurate information on materials used and products manufactured.

Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe Limited has been using the new software since January, and Managing Director Johnathan Shoniwa says this now brings the company in line with the Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi companies which have been using Sage Line 500 and report that it has significantly advanced the sharing of information between the sister companies. "The system is flexible and has good control functions. We are not currently using all of these, but the capacity to introduce them is a great asset."

One of the functions the company intends to introduce is a weighbridge control option, which automatically captures the weight of loaded trucks, making it easy to ensure that trucks leave with the correct amount of cement. If the weight is incorrect, the truck will have to return to the loading bay to check whether any bags are missing or underweight.

"Sage Line 500 is very flexible. Before we implemented it we used to have two systems which were not always easy to integrate," says Shoniwa. "Processes which were previously done manually are now automated, which adds tremendously to time saving."

Although there are currently 150 companies, 20 of which are publicly listed, using Sage Line 500 in Zimbabwe, Lafarge was the first to implement Version 7. Chips Computing Services Sage Division General Manager Charles Kuyayama said the Lafarge project was implemented in record time, using an entirely local skills force. Implementation began on 1 December 2007 and the system went live exactly a month later, without any staged implementation taking place beforehand.

Farai Matanhire, Chief Finance Officer, said the availability of training and support from Chips Computing's Sage Division was one of the major advantages, as training for previous installations had to take place in South Africa. He said the licence was also more affordable than most other systems, an important consideration in the current economic environment.

"The new software allows for all our accounts to be done within the same system, in a much shorter time and with less people involved. It has particularly brought ease in tracking records and accounts receivable. Everything is now automated, leaving less room for errors and more room to concentrate on improving our sales," Matanhire says.

Sage Line 500's efficient control and tracking of orders, its provision of ready access to customer account balances and its automated analysis means less time is spent analysing customers' orders, which in turn means they are not kept waiting while manual checks are done. The system can track orders by date, customer or by status to see whether an order has been paid for or not. Lafarge Sales Consultant Petros Tiriwepi says the new system has impressive stock control capabilities. "We can now sell what we know we have and can instantly tell customers whether we are able to meet their orders or not." In addition, checking a customer's account balance usually meant phoning the accounts department, which in turn meant keeping the customer waiting. With Sage Line 500, the accounts department can immediately access the balance.

The software comes with add-on options to deal with a variety of scenarios, including one that can cater for the large number of local currency zeros.

Softline Enterprise

Softline Enterprise is a leading supplier of business management solutions, delivering performance and Web capability that is essential for success in today's competitive business environment. Addressing finance, construction, distribution, manufacturing, services, retail requirements, CRM and e-business, the product offering also supports and consolidates activity across expanding business needs. Available on a wide range of operating systems and compatible with a host of industry leading databases, it gives mid-range and larger organisations the reliability and scalability required to keep ahead of competitors.

Softline Enterprise products are supported through a network of accredited partners which bring together the individual product and service components to deliver a complete and tailored solution.

Softline Enterprise products include:

Sage 1000 - a new, single business management software application designed to span operations across mid-sized businesses, integrating front office CRM and back office ERP systems. By sharing information between functional areas, businesses can enjoy greater efficiency, experience fewer errors from re-keying of data, and increase service levels by making it easier to give accurate, timely information from across the business to customers.

Sage Line 500 - offering all the advantages of a traditional ERP solution, Sage Line 500 provides tight financial control with full visibility of costs and powerful reporting tools. In addition, it includes an evaluation of market trends to assist customers to make informed strategic decisions. The product also manages cash flow through close budget control and efficient purchase requisitioning and supports international business with multi-language, multi-currency, multi-company features. It includes vertical solutions such as manufacturing, construction and retail.

Sage SalesLogix - an affordable, fully scaleable and powerful CRM solution that is easily customised for medium-sized and divisions of large corporate businesses. Sage SalesLogix is designed to integrate seamlessly with other business software and back office applications, providing businesses with a holistic view of each customer.

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Softline is a leading provider of accounting, payroll, CRM and ERP software solutions to small, medium and large companies. Founded in 1988 by Ivan Epstein, Alan Osrin and Steven Cohen, Softline was established during the formative years of the software industry and listed on the JSE Securities Exchange South Africa in February 1997. Softline expanded to establish a strong position within its area of focus in South Africa and Australia. Focused on the development of accounting, payroll, CRM and ERP software solutions, Softline has a 20-year track record as a market leader. The group has a broad range of products offering users a variety of software solutions to run their businesses efficiently. Softline's leading brands include Softline Accpac, Softline Enterprise, Softline Pastel (Accounting and Payroll) and Softline VIP. The combination of the group's product offerings provide Softline customers with comprehensive, well-branded accounting, payroll, CRM and ERP software solutions. In November 2003, Softline was acquired by the Sage Group plc, a FTSE 100 company. The software group includes market-leading businesses throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, North America, South Africa and Australia, supplying business software to the small, medium and large business community. Softline has a solid track record of profitability and cash generation. The group delivers quality accounting, payroll, CRM and ERP software solutions that improve the efficiencies of businesses around the world.


The Sage Group plc is a leading global supplier of business management software solutions and related products and services, principally for small to medium-sized enterprises. Formed in 1981, Sage was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1989 and now employs over 14 800 people worldwide. For more information, go to

Chips Computing Services

Through its Sage Line 200 and 500 suite of products, Chips Computing Services offers sound IT solutions that meet specific business needs. Formed in 1989 by Rob Watson (Managing Director), the company offers the highest level of service through a dedicated team of trained and experienced consultants, and prides itself on being a business software solution provider, as opposed to merely a software supplier. By adhering to the tried and tested Sage implementation methodology, Chips Computing Services is able to offer solutions that have a broad financial, distribution and manufacturing functionality, configurable to the exact needs of any enterprise.

Editorial contacts
Watt Communications & G Watt Design Tracey (+27) 11 425 629
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