DLM finds the perfect fit with Embrace ERP
Embrace enables Dupleix Liquid Meters (DLM) to successfully:
* Sell many varieties of product line items;
* Manage and control stock in excess of R60 million;
* Process in excess of 100 000 invoices per annum;
* Manage many deliveries per day throughout southern Africa; and
* Manage multiple companies, branches and divisions.
With more than 55 years' experience, DLM offers expert advice, a comprehensive technologically advanced range of products, a substantial stockholding and an extensive branch infrastructure capable of providing skilled technical and sales service. Products are either partially locally manufactured or distributed by DLM in terms of licence agreements with overseas suppliers. They have in-house technicians to service their products and an engineering department that is capable of commissioning small turnkey projects. Workshops and test facilities cater for all major repairs, inspections or tests. Within DLM there are three different divisions, namely Valves, Flow and Instrumentation.
METERMATIC, a wholly owned subsidiary of DLM, is primarily involved in the development, design and manufacture of intrinsically safe electronic equipment and software utilised in the international petrochemical industry. Metermatic has gained Atex and IECEx accreditation for its manufacturing facility.
Managing multiple companies, branches, divisions and warehouses using a legacy ERP solution and multiple spreadsheets was proving to be quite a challenge. DLM recognised the need for a fully integrated solution to provide complete control throughout the business, from manufacturing though to delivery; to provide traceability of the origin and chain of custody of all equipment and parts, from source to end-user; and to gain a better understanding of the business cost drivers.
The system needed to be robust, scalable, cost-effective and easy to use. System flexibility and "a good fit" were essential, as DLM was not prepared to adapt its business or processes to any package.
Management needed a real-time view of the business based on a single version of the truth to effectively manage expected growth.
A single, end-to-end ERP solution
In selecting a supplier, it came down to the product, the price, the people and their business acumen. After evaluating a shortlist of potential suppliers, DLM selected the fully integrated Embrace end-to-end ERP solution. ACS-Embrace's ability to accommodate DLM's evolving business requirements, growth and provide local support were major considerations.
"A huge benefit to us is that Embrace is a single system and that there are no third parties to deal with. Middleware creates doubt and when there's a problem, you're not sure where or with whom the problem lies. With Embrace, we have one platform, from manufacturing through to delivery. This allows the data to be consistent, reliable and the responsibility of one provider," explains Wayne Walton, Managing Director.
Rugged, stable, fast, with 100% uptime!
All the companies, divisions and branches are running on Embrace from a central server based at the head office, in Johannesburg. The software is utilised by 56 concurrent users who apply the full force of all the Embrace modules, including accounting, sales, inventory management, supply chain, service and workshops, maintenance contracts, CRM and manufacturing, to deliver greater efficiencies to DLM.
"Embrace is rugged, stable and never breaks down, which is exactly what we need as we process a lot of information," states Carlos Morais, Financial Director. "We implemented Embrace 11 years ago and since then, uptime has been 100%! The speed is good; in fact, Embrace is really fast and works well for us."
A perfect fit
More importantly: "Embrace is flexible and has been tailored to an exact fit for our business! With most ERP packages, the business has to fit the system and that's one of Embrace's greatest differentiators, Embrace can fit the business!" adds Walton. Offering value for money, Embrace has proven to be cost-effective to license, implement and run.
Embrace ensures rapid access to centralised compliance information across the business.
Being a local package, designed and written for South African businesses, Embrace meets all South African business, legislative and compliance requirements. This includes VAT and the protection of personal information compliance. Embrace incorporates a number of facilities aimed at securing the system from unauthorised access. Role-based security enables access to be controlled at a highly granular level, ensuring users only view information relevant to their job function.
Embrace keeps comprehensive records of all the information required by SARS and this information is readily available and easily accessible for any SARS audit. Imports and customs audits are a frequent occurrence, but with efficient document storage and quick retrieval of information, these audits are effortless and trouble-free.
Depth of detail
"One of the greatest strengths of Embrace is the visibility, the easy access to information and the depth of detail the system provides. We can see everything we need to at a glance, with the ability to drill down all the way through to the source transactional level, where additional information is required," explains Morais. "We can pull any report we need and the information in those reports is accurate. We trust the information in Embrace!"
Efficient inventory management
DLM imports parts from all around the world and, with the broad array of parts and electronic equipment the company provides and supports, maintains a huge parts inventory. Stock visibility throughout the company is critical! Embrace provides instant access to stock item availability information including stock on hand, receipts, sales and transfers alongside costs and selling prices. Users are able to view stock by location, branch, category, sub-category, agency and industry. The real-time accuracy of stock level information is very important.
Carlos Morais explains: "Embrace helps me identify trends as well as fast and slow moving stock items, enabling us to anticipate demand and identify buying patterns. Embrace is key to our ability to plan purchasing efficiently, accurately and economically."
Embrace stocktaking functionality is extremely comprehensive, enabling the company to report on their total stockholding and its value and combined with extensive variance reports, has helped reduce wastage and shrinkage.
Embrace Manufacturing works like a dream.
Metermatic manufactures electronics. Embrace enables them to manage their stock and production processes quickly and simply to ensure optimal performance. The system provides users with full traceability, helping to increase productivity and minimise waste. "While Embrace has improved our business, it's the MRP functionality that gets the most accolades at Metermatic," states Leon Maritz, General Manager. Multi-level bills of material (BOMs), along with routings and cost centres, are set up on Embrace. When a sales order is processed, Embrace checks against the BOM, determines the parts required, what is in stock, what needs to be ordered, as well as the minimum order quantity (MOQ) and based on all the information, recommends a purchase order.
"With the vast number of components we have and use, we can't wing it! We have to rely on the system, and with everything set up correctly, Embrace Manufacturing works like a dream!" adds Maritz.
The ability to track multiple orders in the factory, at various stages of completion, ensures a consistent manufacturing flow. Complete visibility into inventory on hand enables the company to easily determine whether a customer's required delivery date could be met, thereby improving customer service and satisfaction.
Facilitates compliance with local and international environmental and safety regulations
"We do deep serial and lot number tracking at all component levels," explains Maritz. "Our equipment operates in hazardous environments so quality control is critical!" Embrace quality management provides full traceability of all parts throughout the world. Equipment has to be manufactured to exact standards and when a product or component needs to be recalled, they need to know exactly where it is. "Embrace keeps track of that for us, making it very easy to recall faulty components and that, for us, is vitally important," adds Maritz.
Efficient service, repair and warranty control
Job cards for all repairs and maintenance are opened and tracked through every stage of the repair process on Embrace. Parts, warranty work, outwork and labour are recorded against each service job, enabling DLM to accurately measure the profitability of each job. In addition, the system's numerous query screens have helped the customer service team to experience a dramatic increase in efficiency, while also delivering a highly efficient service to their customers. DLM invoicing is quite technical, especially their job and WIP (work in progress) invoicing. Embrace caters for these complex requirements, helping to ensure customers are invoiced accurately and timeously. "The effective use of our ERP system is a key focus for us to meet our objectives for ongoing improvement and high efficiency," adds Morais.
"Embrace is extremely user-friendly. The system is logical, intuitive and very easy to work with. When new staff join, it is easy to teach and show them how to use Embrace and perform their job function quickly and efficiently," explains Sheryl Herring, Financial Manager. All menus and screens have the same look and feel throughout the system, so even though a user may not have been trained in a particular module or job function, they are able to help out in different departments, where and when necessary.
Powerful financials, general ledger and cashbook
The Embrace General Ledger and integrated Cash Book are really powerful and have increased the speed and efficiency of bank reconciliations. All cash, both inbound and outbound, is recorded in one central location and provides the company with a clear, real-time picture of cash status.
"The ability to import large journals directly into to the general ledger has made a huge impact and saved hours of time. What's more, training us on how to do this took all of five minutes!" adds Herring, and goes on to explain that, more recently, the changing of VAT from 14% to 15% was easy, literally just the flick of a switch.
Embrace's aged debtor functionality enables DLM to keep track of overdue accounts and send out statements to customers, which is key to efficient cash flow management. The centralised credit management system can be viewed across the company, and helps prevent customers from exceeding their credit limit without authorisation.
Producing month-end and financial reports is quick and easy.
Embrace has made the management reporting process simpler and faster. Reports used to be printed, but now, with Embrace, they are imported and e-mailed to the relevant parties, which has helped save a lot of time, paper and money.
Embrace meets all DLM's reporting requirements and caters for the financial accounts and statements of the different companies, divisions and branches. These can be viewed and reported on separately or consolidated.
Month-end takes one-and-a-half days to run and management is able to have the reports ready for the shareholders within four days. Financial year-end is no different! The information is extracted into a CSV file format and imported into Excel for further analysis and reporting. "When there are any queries or discrepancies, we go back to Embrace. We trust Embrace and that is always our reference!" explains Morais, adding that "because of the integrity and depth of data, Embrace has enabled us to make informed strategic business decisions".
Embrace customer service is a key differentiator!
Embrace is a good system and DLM has not had many issues and, where there are issues, they are very quickly addressed and resolved. "We, as with any business, need good support from our service providers, they are critical to our success," explains Walton. "ACS-Embrace is our one service provider who excels in this area!" Status meetings are held every three months, where issues, proposed changes and ideas are discussed and thrashed out. All changes are completed and implemented timeously.
Walton concludes: "Over the years, we have developed a fantastic relationship with ACS-Embrace. The team consists solely of qualified Embrace consultants and we know that every time we speak to a team member, we're going to receive expert advice that we know we can trust 100%. Embrace excellent customer service is a key differentiator!"