Logistics and supply chain solutions provider Suttons Transport Group has chosen Datel to implement a Sage ERP X3 solution to support its domestic and international operations. The solution is improving management reporting across the business, automating group consolidation activities, and providing greater management control and visibility.
The company has four divisions: Suttons Tankers, Suttons International, Suttons Drumming and Suttons Distribution, with a strong presence in Europe, North America and the Far East. The search for new technology began in 2012 when the company identified the need for additional functionality from its existing systems, such as separate purchasing software, workflow, electronic document management and alerting tools, to meet changing requirements.
Following significant testing and trials of a number of software packages, Suttons Transport Group selected the Sage ERP X3 solution. The package now in place provides a single integrated solution to cover all of the business processes Suttons Transport Group required.
A system that moulds to the business
From the company's Widnes office, Chris Orger, Group Financial Controller, recalls the decision to migrate to a new solution: "We were looking for a best-in-class solution that could help us to maintain tight management control of our growth, both in the UK and internationally. We scrutinised some of the really big players on the market and found Sage ERP X3 perfectly met our requirements. Sage ERP X3 also offers great flexibility to align with our business as it evolves, which was an essential consideration during our selection process."
Commenting on the choice of Datel to implement and support the solution, Chris says: "Datel showed a very good understanding of our business requirements and goals, and offered a modern, flexible solution with a pragmatic approach to implementation. The Datel team held a series of workshops to guide us in defining our precise requirements for the structure and layout of the solution. We're always looking for ways to streamline and standardise our business processes and Datel are helping to identify where there might be a simpler, sharper way of working."
A staged implementation
The implementation of Sage ERP X3 is part of the company's investment in a £1 million-plus infrastructure upgrade project across all of its domestic and international operations.
The first phase of the project, covering core financials and reporting, went live in July 2013. Chris highlights some of the key benefits: "We now have greater flexibility with Sage ERP X3 in drilling down and analysing financial data, and more control of sales and purchase invoices. It's also quicker and easier to view all the transactions within a General Ledger account. Accounting 'pyramids' let us carry out a cross-analysis of aggregated data, with the ability to dynamically change the groupings. Similarly, analytical pyramids allow us to group selected dimensions together to analyse key data, such as the performance of different regions or divisions – even down to individual asset level."
He adds, "We've gained greater flexibility in being able to report on the same business in different ways. We're also planning to give depot and country managers greater access to business information to analyse their own performance. For example, they'll be able to drill through their wages bill or electricity bill to the underlying detail. This will make them less reliant on the central finance function for the information they need to manage their profit responsibilities."
Chris sums up, "Put simply, Sage ERP X3 makes it easier to slice and dice our data in different ways to gain an in-depth understanding of business-wide performance."
Suttons Transport Group is about to embark on the implementation of procurement and electronic document management, before ultimately integrating Sage ERP X3 with its transport operational system.
Outlining the advantages of implementing electronic document management, Chris says: "We want greater visibility of our processes and to give employees on the move access to documents. Electronic document management will support mobile working by automating routine but important processes, such as authorising purchase orders. The in-built workflow within Sage ERP X3 will ensure that the right processes are consistently followed wherever the employee is located."
A solution for today's business environment
Reviewing some of the improvements that Suttons Transport Group has already experienced, Chris says, "In contrast to our previous system, Sage ERP X3 is built specifically for the web. It has a fantastic look and feel and is very user friendly. It's an integrated system, with fully embedded workflow, business alerts and electronic document management; to achieve this functionality in our previous system would have required numerous third-party add-on products."
For Datel, Sales and Marketing Director Jo Fulton comments: "We were delighted when Suttons Transport Group chose Datel to support their move to a more powerful and integrated system. It represents a significant step forward. It's a large-scale implementation and we continue to work closely with Suttons Transport Group to customise Sage ERP X3 to the precise requirements of the business and to establish a firm foundation to support future growth."