Decorative loose-fill products made from scented and colored sand, decorative gravel, pellets, glass, and ceramic adorn many living rooms. But most people don’t know that EuroSand makes most of the products. Founded in 1999 with 10 employees, the company has grown dramatically. The midsize company now has 125 employees at its production facility in Weiden, Germany and offers about 15,000 items. Its market presence in Germany is broad; it distributes 1.5 million items to 90 countries around the world. The company now exports 40 percent of its products, and that percentage is increasing.
Growth too rapid for IT
Until recently, EuroSand managed its processes with a Microsoft Access database and Microsoft Excel workbooks. The software was repeatedly tailored to changes in the company, but, “given the company’s rapid growth, it was reaching its limits,” says Stefan Hammer, director of IT at EuroSand. Informative reporting and a completely integrated view of individual processes in the company were missing. “Transparent, comprehensive, and process-oriented workflows were possible only to a limited extent,” says Hammer. That’s why company management decided in the fall of 2004 to implement new business software and compared the products of several suppliers.
init consulting AG, an SAP partner based in Ingolstadt, Germany, introduced SAP Business One during the selection procedure. The solution won over the EuroSand evaluation team partly because of its comprehensive reporting and opportunities for customer management. The final decision to go with SAP Business One was made in mid-March 2005 because the company wanted to undertake a series of structural changes along with implementation of the new software.
One customer, huge amounts of specific information
Once the decision to go with SAP Business One was made, things moved quickly. By the end of March 2005, the consultants from init consulting had analyzed EuroSand’s actual business processes. Working with the project team from EuroSand, the consultants then defined the basic settings in SAP Business One – the chart of accounts and currencies, for example. They then worked on formatting, cleansing, and transferring the item and customer master data. An individual bill of materials (BOM) had to be generated for each of the more than 15,000 items.
The transfer of the existing customer data was another important point on the list. The user-defined fields in SAP Business One proved helpful here. With the fields, “we were able to transfer all the information on customer-specific requirements, such as customer EAN codes (European item numbers), stored in the legacy system without any problems,” says Stefan Hammer. EuroSand currently uses 80 additional fields to store and manage typical information for varied business activities with its customers.
After comprehensive tests and user training, the new software went into operation as planned at the beginning of August 2005. “The consultants implemented our requirements to the letter and were on site quickly when we had questions,” emphasizes Hammer of the collaboration with init consulting during the project.
Finding answers at a mouse click
The new solution simplifies work for the employees in the service department. They now manage all customer information with the customer relationship management (CRM) functions of SAP Business One. In addition to general contact information, their screens display the contact history and reports on customer sales, such as the last order, open items, or payment behavior. “Thanks to the intuitive Drag&Relate feature, our ability to provide information and thus our customer service has improved significantly,” notes Hammer. “Users find the correct information quickly and comfortably, so they can answer inquiries about orders rapidly.” Approximately 18 users currently work with SAP Business One.
During the implementation of SAP Business One, the company also revitalized its IT infrastructure and quadrupled its warehouse capacity with a modern high-bay warehouse. With SAP Business One, users at EuroSand can call up all relevant data with a mouse click. The forecasting functions of material requirements planning (MRP) indicate when and how many decorative items should be produced to have a supply on hand. The company thus avoids both under- and oversupply. “We can always deliver quickly to our customers,” says Hammer.
The move to a standard solution from SAP also paid off for company management. Reporting delivers detailed analyses and information on all areas of the company. Today, management makes important decisions based upon informative reports and analysis of revenue, customer trends, cash flow, and current warehouse stocks.
More Time for Innovation
In general, the business processes at EuroSand work much more effectively with SAP standard software. That saves valuable time that can be used to develop new products. The company’s future plans call for the company to connect its external sales force to the SAP software over a virtual private network (VPN). In addition, an archiving solution added on to SAP Business One will store tax-related data and documents in a manner that will pass an audit. In the future, EuroSand wants to process the exchange of documents, receipts, and invoices with customers and vendors electronically – especially with those in Asia. “With SAP Business One, we have the right foundation for extending our business with sand and to strengthen our competitiveness continuously,” Stefan Hammer is convinced.