Antalis optimises Embrace for growth, competitive advantage
Embrace enables Antalis to successfully:
* Sell over 80 000 tons of paper per annum;
* Process 200 000 invoices per annum;
* Make 800 deliveries per day throughout southern Africa; and
* Manage a fleet travelling 2 million kilometres per annum.
Antalis is one of the largest distributors of paper, packaging and graphic solutions. The company also provides logistics solutions to a wide range of industries and operates through sales and warehousing operations in all six major regions across southern Africa.
Wiggins Teape, as Antalis was first known, was the first company to implement the Embrace ERP solution, in 1986. "Since then, we have gone through several system upgrades, with Embrace constantly being enhanced," states Alwyn Miller, IT Director.
"Each upgrade has resulted in huge jumps in productivity and efficiency! Embrace has grown, evolved and adapted to the ever changing business requirements of Antalis and remained a world-class ERP software solution."
The challenge was to find and implement an ERP solution to address the diverse and unique requirements of the different divisions and sectors within the company and report separately on the profitability of each segment. The system would need to be agile and remain relevant in order to meet the changing and growing needs of Antalis. With operations throughout southern Africa, bandwidth requirements and their associated costs were also a consideration.
Antalis is Forest Stewardship Council certified and the ability to provide traceability of the origin and chain of custody of its papers from source to end-user is a key requirement. To meet the Antalis promise of delivering fast, high levels of customer service, system uptime needs to be 100%, with full visibility throughout the supply chain.
Antalis has a printer sales and service division, offering warranties and full maintenance contracts. It had no means of managing and measuring the profitability of each contract.
To address these challenges and critical requirements, Antalis implemented the fully integrated Embrace end-to-end ERP solution.
The distribution centres in Durban and Cape Town, as well as all branches are running on Embrace, from a central server, based at its head office in Johannesburg. "Today, the software is utilised by 230 concurrent users who apply the full force of all the Embrace modules, including accounting, sales, inventory management, WMS, supply chain, service and maintenance contracts, CRM and ODBC solutions, to bring greater efficiencies to Antalis," adds Miller, who particularly lauds the limitless functionality, robustness and reliability of the system. "System uptime is 100%!"
First company in South Africa to Embrace a full WMS with RF bar code scanners!
Antalis was the very first company in South Africa to implement a ground-breaking full WMS (warehouse management system) with RF bar code scanners, enabling them to accurately keep track of every stock item, speed order turnaround times and meet their promise of a door-to-door delivery within four hours of an order being placed.
"That is correct! Our customer places an order and, within four hours, his goods are delivered to his doorstep! This dedication to fast delivery makes system reliability and accurate order tracking a must," states Miller.
Increase warehouse productivity
With a large 20 000 square metre warehouse, stock-takes were long, manual and labour- intensive.
Embrace WMS enabled Antalis to streamline its warehouse operation and stocktaking procedures. The entire warehouse can be scanned in one morning, as opposed to an entire weekend, which is a huge cost and time-saving benefit. Shrinkage has reduced significantly and is now minimal. Embrace provides full traceability of products and full documentation, which is a requirement of the FSC standard.
"Warehouse efficiency and productivity increased and we were even able to do away with our night shift!" continues Miller.
Automated route sheets, PODs
Embrace enables Antalis to create load schedules, delivery manifests, route and stop sequences, itemising the number of parcels and weight per invoice. The route optimisation and vehicle load balancing helps lower transport costs and increase productivity. The route sheets are used by drivers to obtain signatures for receipt of goods, creating a proof of delivery against those items that have been signed for, along with any comments the customer has written.
Instant proof of delivery recall
Proof of delivery or collection and FSC claims on invoices can be recalled at any time and sent to the customer, complete with signatures captured at the point of delivery. This indisputable proof of delivery has helped reduce customer delivery disputes and returns. Antalis has been able to increase cash flow by reducing time between delivery and invoicing.
Manage and measure the profitability of each machine and maintenance contract
Antalis has an equipment sales, service and repairs division and recently implemented the Embrace Service and Maintenance Contracts modules to help sell, manage and control their maintenance contracts.
They are now able to track and monitor the profitability of each machine, with all printers and components being tracked by serial number. Parts, warranty work, outwork and labour are recorded against each service job, enabling Antalis to accurately measure the profitability of each maintenance contract. In addition, the numerous Embrace query screens have helped the Antalis customer service division to experience a dramatic increase in efficiency.
"We have been able to reduce returnable equipment losses and gain greater business insight with advanced management reporting capabilities," adds Miller.
"The biggest benefit is that we can customise Embrace to meet all our needs and give us our competitive edge," states Miller.
The ability to customise a standard, off-the-shelf ERP package, without the need for major bespoke programming, is a major benefit. Embrace clients own the source code and are able to customise the package themselves. When training or assistance is required, expertise is close at hand, as ACS-Embrace is a local company and "just up the road".
Superior service and support
"Embrace Support is excellent and our account manager has made a huge impact on the business. He has become a well-respected and sought-after member of our team, offering thought leadership, advice and, overall, adding a lot of value," Miller continues.
Streamline business processes and consolidate financial reporting
"ACS-Embrace has been instrumental in assisting us to streamline our business processes and consolidate financial reporting. Embrace provides access to consolidated real-time information for on-demand decision-making and has been pivotal in the controls it provides from a financial and ledger point of view," adds Neelesh Kalidas, Financial Director.
Kalidas further explains this has assisted Antalis to provide accurate and on-time figures to their local board as well as reporting to their parent company in Paris.
"Another major benefit to Antalis, is the drill-down capabilities of the ledger and the downloads into Excel," he continues.
Return on investment
Embrace has paid for itself, many times over, in terms of access to real-time information, fast and efficient customer service, labour-saving, productivity gains, operational efficiency, growth and profitability.
"Embrace's flexibility, friendliness and open architecture have directly enhanced Antalis's ability to grow and remain competitive in a tough economy. The speed with which we can react to customer demands and market changes has evolved us into a very agile business," said Kalidas.