Independently owned logistics company Bakers S.A. Limited serves all southern African countries, boasting more than 1,500 employees. But with growth and expansion came challenges.
The company is a fully-equipped logistics partner for clients requiring value-added distribution channels within South Africa and neighbouring counties.
It has a comprehensive infrastructure catering to line-haul operations and local distributors and high-volume Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) packaging products and White & Brown goods – as well as containerised and warehousing services.
Challenging business environment
The company had been gaining considerable market share and expanding over the past 10 years, signing key international clients. But the business was not as joined up between the front – and back-office functions as it needed to be.
In addition, slowing demand, cost pressures for sustainability and tough trading conditions meant that a continued programme of growth would depend on the company’s ability to process high volumes of transactions with clear visibility and accuracy. In addition to this, South Africa is a major crime centre and the company needed to get greater visibility and control of stock management to minimise fraud.
Making decisions for growth
Bakers S.A. Limited turned to its local IT partner – New ERA Solutions Pty (Ltd) – for advice. They worked together to review relevant enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and concluded that the latest version of Epicor ERP would not only solve the business challenges faced today but would also enable future growth.
“We moved to Epicor ERP due to the growth of the business and the consequent requirement for improved reporting directly from our ERP system,” said Abdool Kader Tayob, Chief Executive, Bakers S.A. Limited.
“We needed a competitively priced, dynamic business intelligence tool that provided the performance monitoring, reports and analytics that enabled better decision making for the business. We had direct involvement from the senior team at Epicor as well as professional local support from reseller New ERA Solutions.”
Epicor ERP is used for ordering, sales and debtor management, cash management, and analytical reporting. It also integrates with the company’s payroll and vehicle scheduling solutions.
According to Kader Tayob, minimising fraud and error through system security and maintaining data integrity through system controls were essential for regulatory and statutory compliance – as well as controlling costs.
“Epicor ERP has helped us minimise fraud by enabling forensic analysis of all transactions and stock control,” he said.
“It allows our managers to spot suspicious behaviour and ensures there is always a trail for audit purposes. It has afforded us much more procedural transparency and reporting.”
Ruvesh Remduth, Finance Manager, Bakers S.A. Limited, added: “Fraud mitigation is possible due to management controls.
“Validation for transactions being processed takes place against predefined criteria set via vehicle listings, inventory parts, cost centres, serial numbers for tyres and prices. If an identified item is not validated, the system will require senior management intervention before the transaction can proceed.
“If an unrecognised validation occurs, then Epicor reporting and auditing tools are used alongside supporting documentation. This eliminates the need to involve extensive back and forth between company stakeholders, as all the information needed can be extracted within the system to solve any mysteries.”
Immediate benefits and future plans
Remduth added that Epicor ERP is already providing the firm with cost savings through seamless workflows and integrated business processes.
“Customer service levels have gone up and we have been able to reduce wait times,” he said.
“Employee productivity has also increased as a result of automated back office functions yielding increased revenue per employee.
“Feedback from our users and customers has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re delighted to have been awarded winner of the Rapid Time to Value award in the Epicor Customer Excellence Awards. The Epicor interface is easy to use, has streamlined processes and improved the access to-and flow of-information across the organisation and its partners. Overall, Epicor ERP has really boosted our competitive advantage.”
Bakers S.A. Limited is now entering a second phase of its growth plan and is setting up a division focused on analysing and reaping the rewards of the business intelligence that they get from Epicor ERP.