Situated in the Free State town of Welkom, Buildmat has been a local supplier of hardware products and solutions for over 21 years. Its extensive offering includes everything from conventional building materials, plumbing and sanitary products, sand, stone and glass all the way through to home improvement loans for customers. Although a moderately competitive market, Buildmat’s strong focus on customer service, together with its price competitiveness, has seen it evolve into one of the industry’s more dominant local players.
Building on this success, four years ago brought with it new ownership and a change in management. “This provided the perfect opportunity to rethink exactly what the vision and future strategy needed to be,” says Lesego Tlhomelang, CEO and part of the new management structure. A thorough market analysis, and review of the business, saw Buildmat begin to put in place growth and expansion plans. It’s goal, to expand from a single branch operation to multiple branches within the next few years together with the inclusion of an online shopping facility.
To cope with both future and current business demands, it also became clear that a complete overhaul of its current technology infrastructure was required. “The existing legacy system was presenting enormous challenges, having a massive impact on daily operational requirements throughout the business,” continues Tlhomelang. This included everything from receiving and deliveries through to Point of Sale (POS) and the actual financial controls of the business, key to a sustainable and efficient operation.
Of further concern, was the need for extensive manual capturing. Apart from the propensity for human error, it was having a negative impact on Buildmat’s ability to accurately and efficiently manage its stock control process, heightening the risk of fraud and loss.
“As CEO, I need to be able to rely on the data I’m presented with,” stresses Tlhomelang. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with a simple review of the income statement yielding more questions than answers. Simply put, there was a lack of sufficient controls within the business.
After a detailed review of available offerings, Buildmat settled on SAP Business One from 4most, a leading supplier and implementer of SAP Business One and ERP software technology, as solution of choice. “I come from a strong SAP background,” says Tlhomelang. “However, our assessment of various offerings clearly indicated that none of the other solutions could come close to providing what SAP Business One is able to give our business.”
“It was clear that Buildmat was needing more structure as a business, with the relevant controls and processes put in place,” says Marius Fabian, MD, 4most. “SAP Business One is a perfect fit, both for where it is now and to assist with future growth plans.”
With ‘go live’ scheduled for 1 July this year, Tlhomelang remains confident in Buildmat’s choice of solution and vendor, having no doubt that both SAP Business One and 4most will continue to grow with Buildmat over the coming years. “To date, we have been impressed with the service received and believe 4most to be a very good fit for our business.”
“We engage with our customers for the long term, building relationships and partnerships that span many years,” continues Fabian. “To be part of Buildmat’s present and future is exciting. We look forward to working with them, maximising the value SAP Business One provides as Buildmat begins to implement on its growth strategy.”
When talking to the future, Tlhomelang is as excited by what awaits. Previously, should a customer have been unable to transport an entire order, a manual note would be handwritten on the invoice. This opened Buildmat up to a host of risks ranging from human error through to stock control issues and even potential fraud or theft. SAP Business One will allow these ‘notes’ to be inputted on the actual system itself, eliminating any room for error.
And this, is but just one example! Improved controls across the entire business including receiving and deliveries, stock control, POS and finance is set to streamline operations and improve efficiencies whilst providing one accurate and real-time view of the business.
“Our customers too stand to benefit,” continues Tlhomelang. With customer service one of Buildmat’s key differentiators, a vastly improved and quicker POS process will enable it to continue improving its customer’s experience. And, as the business grows and begins to fulfil on its vision of multiple branches and an online shopping portal, complete integration enabled by SAP Business One will ensure a holistic and accurate view of stock and performance across all the various entities.
“SAP Business One is going to provide me with one, integrated, view of the business,” says Tlhomelang. “The business, in general, is going to improve vastly from where it currently is as we continue to move forward. And, as the CEO, I’m sure to sleep a little easier at night.”