SDI Limited Selects SAP to Manage Export Growth

Specialist manufacturer joins growing list of SME exporters choosing SAP ERP

Sydney, AustraliaSAP has announced that specialist dental restorative materials manufacturer, SDI Limited (ASX: SDI) has selected SAP ERP enterprise software to consolidate and support the international growth of the company. SDI joins a number of rapidly expanding Australian SMEs that have recently selected SAP to support international expansion.

SDI is working with their partner, Clarity Consulting Group, to deploy SAP ERP, utilising applications including production planning, materials management, sales and distribution, financials and warehouse management which includes EDI and bar code scanning. SDI was previously operating on a Manage 2000 Unix software system, which didn’t cater for the company’s international systems requirements.

SDI’s Chief Information Officer, Nicholas Cheetham said, “We wanted a software package that would grow with our business and accommodate our international business needs. We needed elements like foreign currency, international languages and time zones for users, consolidation reporting, automatic intercompany billing, and a system that would cater for multiple taxes used around the globe. Our forms, such as invoices and delivery notes needed to be in the respective languages for each of our international offices and their customers. Our old system wasn’t able to deliver this type of flexible functionality.”

SDI develops, manufactures and distributes dental products, including restorative materials, tooth whitening systems, adhesive systems and small operative equipment. SDI has fully owned subsidiaries in Germany, USA, Japan, Ireland and Brazil, which include sales, marketing and inventory centres. All of SDI’s products are manufactured in Victoria with 95 per cent of the company’s products then exported to over 100 countries worldwide. Already live in Germany, United States and Ireland, the Melbourne-based organisation plans to complete implementations in Australia by July 2008, and Brazil and Japan later in the year bringing the total number of users globally to 106.

SDI first listed on the stock exchange in 1985. The company ended the 2007 financial year with global revenues of $48,759,000 and $15,500,000 of revenue in Australasia. In 2007 SDI recorded a market capitalisation of $56,749,627. The company currently employs over 200 people in Australia and a further 100 worldwide.

Overseas SDI staff needed to manually generate a separate intercompany invoice with the previous system, every time an invoice was input. With the SAP system, the intercompany invoices are generated automatically, saving time and money.

“Reporting used to be a problem. Global sales and inventory reports were virtually impossible to generate because all the offices were on different systems. With SAP, we will no longer have to do any manual data entry in some of our overseas offices where we will soon have electronic data interchange (EDI) capability. Customers can simply send a purchase order via the EDI system and SAP imports the data and the system converts this into an sales order,” said Mr Cheetham.

SDI considered 12 other vendors, including Oracle, Microsoft and QAD.

“It took us about 12 months to find the right software vendor. SAP was the last software package that we looked at because we always thought that it was out of our price range. In fact, it was very competitively priced and offered far more functionality than the other systems we reviewed. We wanted one solution and one vendor. SAP stood out as the vendor that would help SDI grow in functionality over the years. Half the world is using SAP, which said something to us about the quality of their software and service,” said Mr Cheetham.

“We have had a lot of positive feedback from our users in USA, Germany and Ireland, where the software rollout is complete. We have approximately seven users in each office and their feedback has been that the software is easy to use and it is simple to find specific data on the system. The inter-company billing functionality saves them a great deal of time,” added Mr. Cheetham.

SDI selected Clarity Consulting Group as their SAP Partner for a number of reasons. “It was important for the project to have a local partner based in Melbourne. Clarity has shown from the start they have dynamic consultants specialised in all areas of SAP with most having over eight years experience in their area. We can be guaranteed that if we need to implement new functionality – Clarity consultants have the experience and available resources to help us grow and make our business more efficient using SAP.”

Moving forward, SDI will implement Business Intelligence and Strategic Enterprise Management modules, which encapsulates sales and expense forecasting for financial planning and business reporting. “We spend a lot of time gathering information, but not a lot of time analysing it. We hope to be able to automatically consolidate and analyse the information required for sales forecasting in the near future,” said Mr Cheetham.