Technobar Corp. imports and markets stainless steel and carbon steel raw materials and fabricated products. Technobar is family-run but is hardly a family business. Headquartered in Rishon le’Tzion, the company has 90 employees in three branches and annual revenue exceeding $22 million. The company’s customers include some of Israel’s most powerful companies, including Israel Electric and Mekorot, which are the state-controlled electricity and water distributor respectively, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, a world leader in generic drugs. For fast-growing Technobar, finding a first-class business-management solution was mission-critical.
“In every sector in which we operate, we aim to achieve complete certainty and stability,” says Roy Bartal, who is responsible for IT at Technobar. “In most cases, stability is a function of environmental dictates, competitors’ actions, and other conditions. But where we can control events, we aim to minimize uncertainty, and we do this partly by working through an optimal solution for managing business processes.”
Technobar’s traditional business management system sufficed to a point but eventually became a hindrance. “We relied on a computer system that was based on Magic-DOS and a database that was difficult to maintain,” Bartal says. “In some ways, the information flow within the organization was impossibly complicated and delayed decisions. Even more critical for us was the necessity to rapidly and most efficiently respond to our customers’ needs. We searched for a local Israeli solution that was adaptable to Hebrew and would be implemented and supported locally. In addition, we needed a flexible system. In Israel, as in every country, specific issues come up and specific forms are required, and we did not want to have to break our budget with unnecessary customization expense.”
From solution to implementation
Technobar reviewed several leading local applications, each of which presented potential solutions. But the decision came down to SAP Business One. “We wanted a proven product with a strong track record,” Bartal says. In April 2003, RELS, a business and integration partner for SAP Manage, began implementing SAP Business One. Before the system went live, all Technobar personnel were thoroughly trained at SAP Manage’s building and received guided exercises at Technobar’s offices.
Bartal was impressed with the professionalism exhibited by the RELS staff, who completed the implementation within Technobar’s branches in just five days. “I believe strongly in working with integrators, and RELS reminded me why I do,” Bartal says. “Small to medium-size customers don’t need full ERP solutions, but at the same time, such businesses always have special requirements for which an integrator can customize a solution. For example, before implementation, we couldn’t continue using Access to manage all the information contained in 120,000 quality certificates. RELS built a complete module based on SAP for managing those certificates.”
In just three weeks, procedures were put in place and the first run of tools was executed. During the next three weeks, the system was adapted to improve the efficiency of work processes that were not part of the original implementation. SAP’s open environment enabled Technobar to rapidly set up an application for entering all critical accounting, inventory control, and purchasing information into a single database, giving management and staff tight control over data and information flows. “With nearly $8 million of inventory, you don’t want any mistakes,” says Bartal.
Adopting SAP Business One required no structural, organizational or engineering changes at Technobar. “On the contrary,” says Bartal. “Previously, we were using three separate systems. Today, using a central SAP-based server, we have control over 40 computer points within the network in all our branches. Each software update is installed in all workstations, and the data is nationwide – not just at branch level. This is a huge saving, considering that the alternative was to upgrade all the workstations. In addition, computer crashes have been reduced to almost zero.”
“Without a doubt we made a great decision,” Bartal says. “Using SAP Business One’s internal mail to identify details or information about each customer enables two important things. First is the ability to assign people to the field with the time that our simpler business processes have created. Second is the provision of fast and efficient solutions for our customers. This is all possible because SAP Business One is simple to operate yet extremely powerful.”
Technobar recently adopted SAP’s Customer Relationship Management system as well. “SAP Manage’s substantial investments in the development of the software made clear to us that SAP is backed by people who will be there when we need them,” Bartal says. “When you work with a name like SAP, you’re not going to get stranded.”