A Moving Experience

Harrow Green leads its service sector, and is recognized as a pioneer in reshaping its industry profile from a “blue collar” removal company to a “white collar” service provider – matching the professional development of its clients. The group employs over 300 staff and, in 2003, experienced a growth rate of some 18 percent. Harrow Green’s forward-thinking, collaborative approach has earned much independent recognition, with five prestigious partnership awards since 1997, including one for its innovative training center.
In 2004, Harrow Green’s interiors division won a substantial contract from the Metropolitan Police to deliver furniture and ancillary services. In fact, within the first three months of the signing of the contract, the volume actually exceeded initial forecasts for the entire year. This new contract generated order volumes far in excess of the initial estimates.
The management team quickly realized that if it wasn’t managed correctly such a large increase in the volume of activity could impact their ability to deliver quality customer services. So they brought forward a review of existing logistics systems and processes. Another key driver for the review was to address the issues of an inadequate control infrastructure and lack of actionable management information – both of which were causing difficulties in expanding the business profitably.

Paving the way for change

The management team appointed Shankar Pillai, an independent consultant specializing in business software solutions, to help Harrow Green determine the best course of action for choosing a new business management solution. The first task for Pillai was to undertake a detailed assessment of the business.
This assessment enabled Pillai to produce a comprehensive business case to communicate the business needs to Harrow Green’s senior management team. Pillai comments: “Before embarking on a project of this nature, it is absolutely essential to have a good appreciation of the business as a whole. Conducting this assessment gave us a holistic understanding of the business, which meant we could highlight any areas of weakness, gain a good understanding of what processes the solution should accommodate and ensure that we stayed focused on the key elements of what the project needed to deliver.”
After a thorough review of proposals from 15 solution providers, the Harrow Green management team concluded unanimously that SAP Business One would provide the best fit for the business. Pillai explains, “The breadth of functionality with SAP Business One far exceeded that of any other products reviewed. Despite an extensive search, we found that only SAP Business One was able to deliver the fully integrated functionality at a price point suitable for our business.”
Several other factors influenced their decision. Harrow Green likes the pedigree of the SAP name. They are secure in knowing that SAP will deliver Business One for the long term. They also have confidence in the supplier of choice, Sapphire Systems. Not only could Sapphire deliver the solution, it could offer IT expertise and support on an ongoing basis to ensure smooth day-to-day running and optimal performance of the system.

The rollout

With 20 users on SAP Business One, Harrow Green’s interiors division currently uses the following SAP Business One application areas:

  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Inventory Management
  • Sales Order Processing
  • Purchase Order Processing
  • Financials

Pillai observes, “The data migration from our legacy systems was relatively straightforward and we used the SAP Data Warehouse Transfer Tool to perform this task. During the implementation cycle we also undertook a system upgrade project and we moved offices! We would estimate that the entire process, including the implementation, migration, systems design, training and testing, took us some 30 days to complete.”

Benefits realized

Without any formal training, Harrow Green’s customer service agents began using the system on February 14, 2005.
“Our post-implementation experience so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” comments Pillai. “With the advent of SAP Business One, the average number of orders we can process increased three-fold within the first week of going live, even with new and inexperienced staff! Long term, we believe that SAP Business One will allow us to increase this metric ten-fold (and possibly much more) within a very short period of time. The organization is now in a position to be absolutely confident that it can manage many substantial facilities management contracts simultaneously. This is, to put it simply, a remarkable turnaround.”
Harrow Green is realizing many other major benefits, including:

  • Improved staff morale, through the reduction in data duplication and subsequent elimination of errors
  • The capacity to expand the business with complete confidence that they have the infrastructure to bring in substantial new business
  • The provision of invaluable management information to aid decision making and help run the business
  • Increased time for employees to perform more value-added activities

In summary, Pillai concludes, “The interiors team are already seeing the benefits that an integrated business system can deliver and, even at this early stage, we can envisage SAP Business One being rolled out to Harrow Green’s other service areas, helping the business increase profitability and driving new revenue opportunities.”
For more information about Harrow Green, go to: http://www.harrowgreen.com/.
Find out more about Sapphire at: http://www.sapphiresystems.co.uk/index.htm.
For more about SAP Business One solutions, link to:

Christine Macfarlane
Christine Macfarlane