Belting Supply Services streamlines operations, enhances efficiencies with Embrace ERP
Embrace delivers quantifiable benefits to Belting Supply Services:
- Manages over 5 000 different line items;
- Processes over 120 000 invoices per annum;
- Delivers superior service to over 4 000 active customers; and
- Realises a 30% improvement in productivity.
“Accurate forecasting has enabled us to reduce our working capital, while ensuring we have the right stock at the right time,” says Mark Knight, Financial Director at Belting Supply Services.
Belting Supply Services is a member of the Hudaco group and was established in 1963, based in City Deep, Johannesburg, with nine branches countrywide. They offer their customers an effective service and supply of the widest range of top quality international brands of conveyor and transmission belting, industrial hose, instrumentation, sealing and valves for every type of industry. They provide customers with technical support and a comprehensive after-hours service.
The company offers a 24/7 belt splicing service, as well as the fitting of mechanical fasteners, sidewalls and cleats on site. This service assists in keeping their large customers running with minimal downtime. Customers include National Brands, The De Beers Group, Tiger Brands and Lafarge.
With more than 10 000 orders filled per month, Belting Supply Services needed a fully integrated ERP solution that would provide full visibility into the entire business. Most importantly, all the modules needed to integrate to the general ledger, which was not available in their previous system.
Management needs to produce and submit accurate reports to head office, on time, as per tight deadlines, and to achieve this, they needed access to reliable, real-time information throughout the business.
“The greatest challenge to us is managing our huge and diverse product range and to ensure that our customers get exactly what they need, exactly when they need it,” explains Grant Webster, Product Manager at Belting Supply Services.
Another challenge was the need to streamline and automate all business processes, have the ability to create and receive all orders through the system and track and optimise inventory.
"The ERP system needs to process, track and report on sales, inventory, margins and turnover. Being able to take customer orders, confirm stock availability, manage bills of materials, custom jobs and deliver to our customers within tight timeframes is crucial to the success of our business,” adds Webster.
The company provides custom-cut and joined conveyor belting to a wide range of industries. The ERP system would need to facilitate and control this. Depending on complexity, these jobs can take anywhere from four days to four weeks to complete.
Embrace – fully integrated, end-to-end ERP solution
Belting Supply Services implemented the fully integrated, real-time end-to-end Embrace ERP solution, with an 85 concurrent user licence and use the full suite of Financial modules as well as Sales, Distribution Requirements Planning, Inventory, Procurement, Shipping, Kitting, Assembly, Service, Reporting and CRM.
The Embrace solution has helped provide business stability and acted as a catalyst for driving change in some key areas of the business through improved information flow, better practices, greater discipline and more effective control.
The company’s partnership with ACS-Embrace began in 2004 and the solution has continued to grow and evolve to meet their growing and changing needs.
System uptime is close to 100% and the level of service and support received from ACS-Embrace has been fast and efficient, with the team always ready to assist wherever necessary.
New versions of the system have been implemented as soon as they become available and the company prides itself on being on the latest version of Embrace. There are always many enhancements, new features and technologies that they benefit from.
“We believe it’s important to always upgrade to the latest version of Embrace. This allows us to leverage the latest technologies and innovations, keep our business processes up to date and realise the many different business benefits,” explains Knight.
Superior order management and customer service
Belting Supply Services offers an array of conveyor belts with diverse specifications. These are custom-cut and joined to meet different plant or customer requirements, and for this reason every order requires a unique bill of materials (BOM).
Embrace Service Jobs and Work in Progress (WIP) have been adapted to meet their very specific needs. This was a major requirement as the company is committed to meeting tight delivery deadlines and delivering superior customer service.
When an order is received, Embrace creates a BOM based on the width and length of the finished product specified on the order, and then allocates the belting, glue and labour to the job. All costs are correctly allocated and rolled up into the finished product. Embrace provides real-time visibility into work in progress as well as finished goods.
Belting Supply Services purchases products both locally and from overseas. All suppliers, alternative suppliers, prices and their lead times are maintained in Embrace. The system also tracks and manages landed costs, ensuring an accurate cost per imported stock item.
Embrace provides full traceability and visibility into all items ordered and sold. Sales can be monitored by customer and by product. Based on what was sold and what they expect to sell, the company carries six months’ worth of stock. Their stock turnover rate is high and they are rarely left with excess or obsolete stock.
“Accurate forecasting has enabled us to reduce our working capital, while ensuring we have the right stock at the right time,” adds Knight
With access to sales transactions and information from previous periods, users can look at historical demand, determine trends and identify any anomalies. The system generates suggested orders based on this information as well as specified minimum and maximum levels.
“We use Embrace Forecasting, DRP and Auto Procurement to ensure ordering is correct and that the stock arrives in good time. Stock optimisation and visibility have helped us to ensure that we can meet customer demands,” explains Knight.
Minimal system management
“One of the biggest benefits is that Embrace takes care of itself. System housekeeping is quick and easy. I can fix and resize files in no time and only need to do this once or twice a year,” explains Mary Jones, IT Manager at Belting Supply Services.
Jones also loves the automated day and month-end with at-a-glance tracking of the whole process from start to finish. All reports can be output to CSV or printed to PDF and emailed, reducing stationery costs and saving hours of time.
System backups have also been automated. They run to schedule and are automatically backed up to the cloud, ensuring complete peace of mind. No onsite intervention is needed and there is no risk of human error.
Ease of use
“Another huge benefit is that users can access Embrace remotely and work from home, which was a lifesaver during lockdown,” adds Jones.
Ease of use, explains Webster, is another big benefit. Embrace is intuitive and has the same look and feel across all modules. There are also numerous shortcuts throughout the system, which helps save time and reduce errors.
Embrace fast, accurate financial reporting
“One of the biggest benefits is that all the modules are fully integrated and that everything integrates into the general ledger – that’s huge! From procurement through sales, inventory, work in progress and shipping, the information feeds through seamlessly to the general ledger, making accounting easier and faster,” states Knight.
“Embrace reports are comprehensive, easy to access and meet all our reporting requirements.They have enabled us to effectively control and manage the business,” continues Knight. They are able to easily customise or download any report directly into Excel.
“Month-end is really fast,” continues Knight. ”We create monthly financial reports and statements and these, along with cash flow reports, are submitted to head office, in the format required, within five days.”
Another key benefit is that management has real-time visibility throughout the system, with the ability to drill down quickly and easily into the underlying transactions to establish exactly what is happening. The information is detailed and accurate, enabling informed mission-critical business decisions to be made quickly and with confidence.
“Embrace enables us to strike the right balance between inventory, receivables and supplier credit. With full visibility into every aspect of our business, we can take corrective action immediately to ensure we meet our objectives.” states Knight.
Return on investment
“Embrace has delivered a significant return on investment, year on year. With technology changing all the time, Embrace has kept up, which means we have kept up,” adds Knight, explaining how they have taken advantage of the new technology with each upgrade.
“Operational efficiency has improved by 30% across sales, logistics, shipping and especially financials,” continues Knight.
Overall, Embrace has helped the company to effectively manage procurement and inventory, improve production efficiency, tighten delivery schedules, meet service requirements and increase profits.
“By streamlining and automating our forecasting, procurement, production and service processes, Embrace has enabled us to maintain our competitive edge as well as deliver superior service to our customers,” concludes Knight.