The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: May 2008

Business One cuts glass

29 May 2008

Arc Distribution, the South African distributor for Arc International, the world's largest manufacturer of glassware has chosen SAP Business One to administer its operations and align its systems with those of its parent company.
"Before I joined Arc Distribution, I had worked on a range of different systems, from some of the largest global enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to some of the smallest locally-developed accounting systems and so I knew how vastly functionality and ease of use can differ among the various options. I wanted to make sure we had the most appropriate solution for our needs. As it turned out SAP Business One came out on top anyway - on cost, flexibility, and ease of use."
Arc International, which has 89 subsidiaries around the world, is in the process of implementing SAP R/3 and has requested its subsidiaries to use SAP-related products in their local territories.
"Although we had pressure from our French head office to standardise on SAP, we did investigate alternative systems before settling on SAP Business One," says Arc Distribution managing director, Marc Duthoit.
Until July 2006, Arc Distribution had been facilitating distribution via container in South Africa and having customers invoiced directly from the Arc factories overseas. The company has now become a full-fledged subsidiary of Arc International, with nine employees, a warehouse near OR Tambo Airport in Gauteng, and an administrative office in Randburg.
"Essentially, we started from scratch again last year, by taking on the management of distribution and invoicing of customers locally," Duthoit says. "And, because we go to market through agents who also work for other organisations spread across the country, we needed a system that would allow realtime input to our back office from remote sites - at minimum cost.
"We also needed a system that would interface with other systems that we have on the distribution side of the business. SAP Business One made all that possible - along with providing us with a 90% fit with our day to day administrative requirements.
"In addition, we are growing very quickly. We have almost doubled the size of the business in the past two years and are expecting to double our staff complement in the next six months. So, we needed a package that would not only grow with us in terms of scalability but also help us manage growth."
Cornel Schoeman, managing director of Britton Solutions, Arc Distribution's implementation partner, says that it was important to tackle the implementation as part of a global rather than a standalone local solution. "Even though Arc International's SAP R/3 implementation is not complete, it made sense to set the South African subsidiary up in such a way that it could operate independently in the meantime and still take future integration with the parent system for granted.
"That was made easier because Arc Distribution was, essentially, a greenfield site, and we could help them position their business processes from the outset in such a way that linking to Arc International will be just another step in their operations. From day one they have been doing things in a way that automatically aligns them with the SAP R/3 system."
"Being able to integrate with our parent system in the longer term is going to make a lot of things easier, including the exchange of information, which can be done within the system rather than on e-mails in a different package, and the updating of product information as newly developed items are brought on stream globally," Duthoit says. "So, overall we are very happy with SAP Business One. It works."

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