“Help, I Need a New Business Management System Straightaway…”

Heggen Grosshandel is a wholesale supplier of hygiene and building cleaning materials which was founded in Dortmund-Eving in the early 1950s and today is owned by Hanns-Holger Heggen, the third generation of this family run business comprising a total of seven staff. Its suppliers include Ecolab, Van Houtum bv, Vileda Professional, Nilco Reinigungsmaschinen, Kiehl, Vermop and Alto Deutschland. Its customers are made up of providers of building cleaning services, industrial enterprises and SMBs. This typical family business has four employees who work alongside the three family members.
Hanns-Holger Heggen has mixed feelings when he thinks back to March 3, 2003: “It was a really special day from me, since this was the day when my daughter was born”. But this special day also had its downside. While he was still at the hospital, he received a call from the company about massive software problems it was experiencing. “Virtually everything had come to a standstill”, states Heggen, “and even worse, we were unable to write any invoices. For a small wholesaler like us”, he explains, “this was a situation that could have even threatened our very existence”.

Fast, faster, fastest

The company had already experienced frequent problems with the software, which had been specifically adapted and extended to meet Heggen’s requirements. Even worse, the manufacturer had since gone bankrupt and was unable to provide any further support. Heggen had therefore had to deal with any necessary “repairs” himself. While studying business economics, he had done considerable work on databases and implementing SAP R/3. However, Heggen was completely baffled by this total software failure. What he therefore needed was a fast solution that also represented a secure investment.
“When we received the call from Mr. Heggen late in the afternoon, explaining that the system he had been using up until that point had gone down”, states Thomas Bürmann, Sales Manager at W-Concept GmbH responsible for the Heggen Grosshandel project, “we immediately took on the job, well knowing that we were facing a race against time”. W-Concept first had to compile the project requirements in a special catalog, a type of mini performance specification. “With SAP’s help, we were able to meet these requirements by the evening”, explains Jürgen Wrede, CEO at W-Concept. “Towards noon of the next day, we received the release for the project from SAP”, adds Jürgen Wrede, “and we got the licenses we needed by the afternoon”.
As early as the next day, W-Concept’s engineers had already installed SAP Business One, set up the necessary clients for three users, loaded the software, performed the necessary settings and explained to the CEO the procedure for creating and managing master data. This meant that Heggen was able to load its key customers and articles into its database as early as the following weekend. Over the two days, W-Concept’s consultants then trained Mr. Heggen and his three staff in how to use SAP Business One. The company was then once again ready for operation. “Nevertheless, the fact that our old system had failed meant that we still had to enter around 500 invoices in SAP Business One. This caused some significant delays in receiving payment and involved financial losses for our company”, something that annoys Heggen even today. Nevertheless “we were still able to rescue some of our old database by exporting the data to Excel and then loading it into SAP Business One”, adds Jürgen Wrede with a smile, “this saving significant time for the company and making everyone’s work much easier”. As part of the project, W-Concept also installed a new Fujitsu Siemens Primergy Server at Heggen Grosshandel.

Early contact paid off

One of the key reasons for the speedy service was the fact that the two companies had already begun talking to each other back in February 2003. Hanns-Holger Heggen: had read about SAP Business One on the Internet and become interested in the software. He sent off an e-mail to SAP who forwarded his details to W-Concept. “Because our previous supplier had become insolvent, we wanted a solution that represented a safer investment and would replace our existing system at the end of 2003”, states Heggen, explaining his reasons for the changeover.
Heggen soon became convinced of the software’s capabilities when he had consultations with W-Concept at the end of February 2003. He was particularly impressed by the functions offered by SAP Business One that were already being used by his company, including KPIs such as sales analyses, balance sheet, profit and loss account, and cash flow functions. He was also enthusiastic about the Drag&Relate functions in SAP Business One which made easy work of business management queries and the possibilities it offered for adding product descriptions created in Microsoft Word to the stock of available articles. “Be that as it may”, explains Heggen, “the failure of our database really threw our original plans into complete disarray. We had to get a fully functional ERP system in place as soon as possible”.

Customization made easy

The Iserlohn software company and Heggen Grosshandel remained in close contact in the months following the introduction of SAP Business One. During this period, any issues that were still unresolved in working with the system could be clarified easily by calling a special hotline. “We also undertook various design customizations. We were able to perform this customization work quickly and easily using the Application Programming Interface (API) included in SAP Business One”. SAP Business One also had to be changed over to the discounting system that Heggen had been using for several years. Heggen now uses SAP Business One to monitor all aspects of day-to-day business and to manage well over 1000 products and service articles. Sales alone has already recorded some 4000 transactions. Working in a purely Windows environment with familiar and standard user interfaces and functions ensures that users quickly come to terms with the system.
Does Hanns-Holger Heggen believe he made the right choice in installing the software? “Our cloud certainly had a silver lining, since W-Concept turned out to be a truly professional and reliable partner,” he concludes. “SAP Business One has made our workflows faster and more efficient”. Heggen is also impressed by the fast, uncomplicated and professional way in which W-Concept and SAP do business. He is currently considering whether to buy new workstations or a server-based computer system. The latter would certainly give Heggen the added advantage of being able to access applications, data and programs at any time, irrespective of the platform used. “In any event, we would be looking to join forces again with SAP Business Partner W-Concept in implementing this project,” states Heggen.

Dr. Andreas Schaffry
Dr. Andreas Schaffry