South Africa based Allied Mobile is a cellular product distributor and third-party logistics provider for the mobile telecommunications industry in Africa. Founded in 2003, the company’s total addressable market covers 38 countries across the continent and a population of over 700 million. This has been achieved with mobile vendors like Nokia, Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, and Ericsson.
Epicor ERP was implemented to centrally manage Allied Mobile’s business operations based in multiple countries and geographic locations. Allied Mobile began expansion of these capabilities by upgrading to the latest version of Epicor ERP. Designed as a standardised, scalable method for mining data and centralising operational functions, the newly updated system was developed to address real-world scenarios. It also uses a new mobile framework that provides information to virtually any mobile device.
Objectives and implementation
Prior to starting an ERP implementation, a vendor such as Epicor will engage with the end-user through a detailed workshop to understand business challenges, their vision, and where they want to be. This includes a gap analysis, where the vendor solution will fit in, and the risk. Based on this discussion the vendor identifies the solution and the road map.
“With Allied Mobile, we have gone through that process and one of the key solutions that was implemented was the analytics part. This was to allow them to look into different aspects of their business from stock availability, replenishment, replenishment time, promotions, timeframe for transactions,” explains Monzer Tohme, Regional Vice President Sales, Middle East and Africa, Epicor.
The other requirements from Allied Mobile according to Tohme, included the need for smart decisions by key managers by reducing the delays in reporting, business process improvement, usage of IoT devices for real-time tracking, and integration with vendor procurement systems. “Today we have full integration with these vendors in terms of placing purchase orders. Allied Mobile’s customers can place direct purchases with them and accordingly track their purchases.”
The project implementation of Epicor ERP at Allied Mobile was broken down into phases and milestones were linked to specific business challenges and business achievements. Tohme explains that an ERP implementation is a joint effort between the vendor and the end-user. If the end-user is not ready and does not have the right people in place, the project cannot move fast enough to achieve the vision of the end-user.
“Allied Mobile had a very strong team in place. They know where they want to be, and where they want to go. They have a clear vision. And with that vision they have the proper internal support. Between their expertise and our expertise we were able to go through the implementation smoothly,” says Tohme.
According to Ewan McCulloch, General Manager IT at Allied Mobile, a key benefit is the ability to track the status of more than 2 million products in stock across Africa. This includes knowing the exact location of every serialised item, no matter the country.
“The Epicor ERP system essentially runs the company,” says McCulloch. “Business operations like ours are incredibly complex and intricate. Working within countries across the continent requires meeting varying governmental compliance regulations and transacting seamlessly with partners and operations, despite dealing with differing languages and currencies.”
Epicor ERP gives end-to-end standardisation. It tracks everything through the entire system and gives an extremely accurate picture of nearly every business process, procedure, and transaction in real time. It is easy to use, making it simple for new users to get up to speed, while instilling comfort in business decisions based on the depth and efficiency of the analytics provided. This is very important in an industry where the work on the ground is dynamic and profitability is measured in the ability to minimise downtime and keep things running at speed, without the bumps that often accompany diverse, sales-driven operations.
“Epicor ERP is a very efficient and flexible mid-market management tool,” explains Alex Thomson, Finance Director at Allied Mobile. “There is little room for error since every item is scanned into the system. This has allowed us to track the status of cartons, shipments, and sales down to the purchase of a handset sold to a buyer in Zambia. Human error has been virtually eliminated at almost every level.”
Epicor ERP provides accurate analytical data highlighting everything from inventory validations and cash flow to the gross profit margins of products sold from a specific bin located at a particular retailer. The solution has been replicated across all countries and is an essential part of establishing an Allied Mobile company in every African country.