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SAP Business One from 4most: keeping Namibia's railway in motion

SAP Business One from 4most: keeping Namibia's railway in motion

Since its humble beginnings in 1994, D&M Rail has taken care of Namibia's railway infrastructure. Responsible for the maintenance and rebuilding of both new and existing lines, this privately-owned company keeps Namibia's railway in motion.

"While the last few years have not seen much competition, apart from a few South African companies, we are expecting this to change in the near future with much more serious competition anticipated from even as far afield as China," says Louis Greeff, Financial Manager, D&M Rail. Further, poised for significant imminent growth, D&M Rail found itself needing an entire review of its existing infrastructure to cope with this changing marketplace.

"A lack of integration and automation of essential business processes was beginning to hamper the smooth running of our daily operations," continues Greeff. This was particularly relevant in the procurement environment. "The secure and efficient processing of documentation was a serious problem." While invoices were processed in the system, the capturing of orders was a manual process. Not only was this time-intensive, but the propensity for human error was hampering data integrity. In addition, without proper traceability, invoices, although captured in the system, were getting ‘lost', having a serious impact on the flow of financial information.

"Working on remote sites was also creating additional challenges," continues Greeff. With work often taking place as far afield as 200km to 300km, the need for a single, automated and integrated platform was essential. "We needed to ensure that all relevant areas and divisions within our business were functioning solidly and securely," says Greeff. Not only is this important for the smooth running of daily operations within any business, but, for D&M Rail, it was compounded by expected future growth and an increase in competition.

"To enable D&M to remain competitive, it was essential to ensure that our house is in order," stresses Greeff. After extensive research, D&M Rail settled on two vendors which it felt could provide the right solution for its requirements. While it was confident that both vendors could provide the capability required, 4most stood head-and-shoulders above the other vendor in terms of how it presented itself. "Changing one's technology infrastructure is a big investment," says Greeff. "Not only with regards to cost and time, but it's the foundation on which your business will either succeed or fail moving forward."

To this end, it was critical for D&M Rail to find not only the right solution, but the right partner – one with which it feels comfortable and confident in moving forward. "4most's quick response times and attention to detail, from the outset, left us feeling secure and in no doubt that it would be a true partnership moving forward," adds Greeff.

"Relationships are key and an integral part of our methodology and business approach," says Marius Fabian, MD, 4most, a leading supplier and implementer of SAP Business One and ERP software and technology. "We respect and understand that technology is the wheel on which a business turns and it is imperative to us that our customers feel confident and secure." To this end, one of 4most's key delivery areas focuses on working alongside its customers, hand-in-hand, from initial contact right through to implementation and maintenance and support thereafter.

"I spent a number of days onsite at D&M Rail," continues Fabian. "This was essential, not only to ensure a detailed scope of requirements, but to get a sense of the business and its day-to-day operations." Thereafter, a detailed project plan, outlining each phase moving forward, was submitted. A dedicated 4most consultant was assigned to ensure the project's smooth running and quick response times to any queries or issues in the lead-up to implementation.

As ‘go-live' took place at the end of April 2015, D&M Rail is feeling confident with its chosen solution. "We are currently in training and, while change management and user uptake can often be challenging, we are encouraged to see both commitment to and enthusiasm for the new system already present among our users," says Greeff.

Moving forward, D&M Rail can expect to enjoy all the benefits and operational efficiencies afforded by a single automated and integrated platform. "While previously the procurement function was a huge cause for concern, the way it has now been set up completely supports our business and provides us with the functionality and capability to be in control of this essential function," continues Greeff. In addition, being able to easily track and trace relevant invoices will not only save valuable time, but ensure greater financial efficiencies.

D&M Rail looks forward to enjoying a holistic view of the business, complete with a seamless flow of information, real-time access to data and greater reporting functionality. "The benefits of a single automated and integrated platform cannot be over-emphasised," continues Greeff. "We are confident that not only will SAP Business One, from 4most, provide us with a solid infrastructure on which to continue building our business, but one that will also stand us in good stead to remain competitive in the face of a changing marketplace."

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