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Based in Darwen in the North of England, Heatmiser is the preferred choice among many electrical contractors and original heating equipment manufacturers. With a turnover of £1.7m, and sixteen employees, Heatmiser’s success is based on its ability to handle small quantities and respond quickly to customer requirements.
Like many small and medium companies, having an online store has been a major contributor to Heatmiser’s success and growth. Individuals, and organisations large and small, use Heatmiser’s web store to buy the products they want.
However, during 2006, it became clear that the systems Heatmiser was using behind its store were less than efficient. “When customers placed orders with us, they were first of all keyed into the sales order system,” says Martyn Kay, Director, Heatmiser. “They then had to be re-keyed into the invoice system. That gave us a high potential for inaccuracies to creep in. In addition, the way the systems worked made it almost impossible to understand our customers’ buying behaviour.”
Two of the key reasons for selecting SAP Business One were the Material Requirements Planning (MRP) module, which included forecasting, and the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) aspects of the system. The third was the drill down capability. “Without searching, you can drill down from anywhere in the software to lower levels,” explains Martyn. “We could immediately see how useful that would be, enabling people on the phone to the customer to have all the information they needed available to them. By comparison, the other system looked clunky.”
So impressed were Heatmiser with SAP Business One that they had placed their order within a week of the demonstration, at the beginning of February. On 1st March it went live.
Heatmiser has already seen major benefits from SAP Business One, aside from the streamlined processes the business was hoping to achieve by having an integrated system.
Previously it just wasn’t possible to gain an accurate picture of what each customer was purchasing. Today, Heatmiser can – easily. That’s helping them increase sales. “Now that we know what customers are buying, we can target them based on their needs,” says Martyn. “We can pull all the information we need from SAP Business One and link it to Microsoft Word, to easily print letters and envelopes and create mailshots. We can also do the same for e-mails. I don’t have hard evidence that it is increasing sales at the moment, but I am sure it is.”
A further benefit is the increased visibility of customers’ credit status. “Previously the invoice wasn’t matched at the time of despatch,” says Martyn. “Now we can see if a customer is on stop before we ship the goods. We could never have done that with disjointed systems.”
“I always thought SAP was for big companies,” says Martyn, summing up. “But my attitude has changed completely. I am convinced we made the right choice in selecting SAP Business One and Signum Solutions, and I would definitely recommend them both to other companies who want to improve their business.”
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