The Right Chemistry

Many chemical companies create their products in huge quantities for volume distribution. In contrast, Unicorn Chemicals’ business is highly specialized. With fifteen employees and a turnover of £1.5m, Unicorn chemicals supplies specialty lubricants and chemicals to a wide range of blue chip customers in the automotive and utilities sectors.
Customers call Unicorn Chemicals when they have a particular problem they need to solve. Unicorn Chemicals formulates solutions and delivers them in small batches. In such a business customer service is obviously of paramount importance. So too is understanding how to better capitalize on the chemical solutions it is supplying.

Fast decision-making

“In early 2004 we were aware that we needed to have a better understanding of our customers and the solutions we were providing to them,” says Tim Kilpatrick, managing director. “If we could take the information we had, and add to it, we could then generate cross-selling opportunities, which would help us to grow the business.”
With this in mind, and with an existing accounting solution that was becoming increasingly unstable, Kilpatrick set out to find a new business solution for the company. Knowing that many Unicorn Chemicals customers use SAP solutions, he contacted SAP to ask about a version sized for smaller companies.
Yuma, an SAP Business One Sales and Service Partner, called on Unicorn Chemicals and demonstrated SAP Business One business management software for small and midsize enterprises. “At the end of the demonstration I’d already made up my mind,” explains Kilpatrick. “Yuma nearly fell off their chairs when I told them. I don’t think they’ve ever sold a system that quickly.”

Fast implementation

Kilpatrick’s deadline for the implementation was just as quick as his decision to go with SAP Business One. Unicorn Chemicals’ financial year started on October 1 and he wanted the system operational by then. At that time Unicorn Chemicals was outsourcing its finance function, so the main focus was on sales and purchasing.
Three of Yuma’s specialists spent three weeks at Unicorn Chemicals’ premises in September. During that time they configured the system and migrated product and customer data. Yuma also trained the staff. On October 1 the system went live, although the company ran it in parallel with the existing system for three months to ensure it worked correctly.

Fast time to benefits

Within those three months Unicorn Chemicals cut its stock holding dramatically. “SAP Business One gave us better control and visibility of our stock holding,” says Kilpatrick. “Through tracking our sales and analyzing trends we were able to make better purchasing decisions and reduce our stock holding by 30 percent.”
By analyzing its suppliers, Unicorn has reduced its purchasing costs and it has also been able to increase revenues. “Because SAP Business One enables us to track contacts and orders, we’ve been able to identify sales opportunities we wouldn’t have seen before,” explains Kilpatrick. “We can also see which customers buy which products, so we can put together special offers on redundant stock. Before, it would have taken us hours to access that information. Now it takes three mouse clicks.”
“Having our accounts in-house, on SAP Business One, has saved money and given us far greater control of our operations. In addition we have immediate access to detailed information. The drill-down capabilities of the system are almost infinite.”
For more information about Unicorn Chemicals, go to:
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Christine Macfarlane
Christine Macfarlane