Datel's Sage ERP X3 solution to provide Hargreaves Services plc with platform for international expansion

Hargreaves Services plc has chosen Datel, its incumbent technology partner, to support its transition to a new business software platform, Sage ERP X3. Among the drivers for the move were the increasing number of system users - the user base had grown from 20 to 92 in just a few years - and greater support for inter-company trading, which accounts for around 40% of transactions. Hargreaves wanted to achieve a more automated process than they currently have in Sage Line 500 for these transactions.

The Hargreaves group of companies sources, produces, processes, handles and transports a wide range of bulk materials throughout the UK and across Europe. The company is a long-standing Sage user, having moved up through the range from Sage Line 100 to Sage Line 500. Hargreaves originally sought a new system primarily to support its expansion into continental territories such as Poland, Belgium and Germany. From the company's head office in Durham, Group IT & Projects Manager Marcus Spence says, "Over the months, we looked at Microsoft Dynamics AX and SAP, but with its multi-currency, multi-language and multi-fiscal functionality Sage ERP X3 seemed ideally suited to companies that operate across national borders. The more we considered Sage ERP X3, the more we realised its potential for consolidating all our operations, in Europe and the UK, onto the same powerful platform."

The Group's activities are managed through four divisions: Production, Energy & Commodities, Transport and Industrial Services. At the time, there were five different deployments of Sage Line 500 across the business, so consolidation onto a standardised platform would bring measurable benefits in terms of improving visibility and control through greater integration of financial management.

Providing responsive customer service has been instrumental in Hargreaves' commercial success. Post-implementation, the company expects to gain greater visibility of trading with both customers and suppliers at divisional and group level. Marcus says, "We'll be much better equipped to spot trends and respond in a timely, streamlined way to give our customers the best possible service. We'll be able to share best practice across the group in this and other areas."

Other significant business benefits set to be derived from implementing Sage ERP X3 are; improved reporting on budgets versus actuals, VAT and Intrastat, easier, quicker month end processing, and the ability to share resources.

Having a company-wide system should also assist future business expansion. Marcus explains, "Our intention is not only to expand within Europe but also to extend our reach into new markets such as Asia. Having a standardised, scalable platform will help in bringing new companies on board more quickly and consistently."

For Datel, Andrew Pritchard, Account Development Director, comments, "The move to Sage ERP X3 represents a major step for Hargreaves and we are delighted that they have chosen to stay within the Sage range and with Datel. The project is about to take off in earnest and the first phase will be a series of workshops with the different divisions to define their requirements and objectives precisely, so that we can tailor the solution to meet them exactly."

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