“We had very high expectations in terms of automation and improved business processes, and APH has helped us to meet them all.“
Jacques Delport, Finance Director at Newport
Jacques Delport, Finance Director at Newport
Newport Industries Limited was established in 1997 and now has offices in London, Shanghai, and Liverpool. Newport has established itself as a niche distributor of chemicals relying on supply chain management activities to enhance its services to clients and suppliers. The company supplies in excess of 250,000 MTs of chemicals per year, with over 200 products spread over ten application industries. Every product is specific to a sourcing situation, precisely monitored for quality and consistency.
Newport was experiencing a range of different challenges, but all were centred on the fact that too many operational tasks were being completed manually, outside of the company’s core IT systems. In turn, this led to unnecessary inefficiencies, duplications and even errors – which were then compounded by the company’s massive growth over recent years. The sheer volume of orders and collections each day meant that the system processes struggled to keep up.
This led to slow rates of invoicing clients, Orders were processed too slowly There was no integration with business intelligence (BI), meaning that the company was missing out on opportunities to streamline and enhance its processes in response to tangible business insights.
Newport was using SAP Business One as its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system but needed to extend this to cover all its business processes – and it sought an IT managed services provider to help develop, support and maintain the new setup.
We worked systematically with Newport’s Finance Director (FD) to unpick Newport’s existing processes, map them against new proposed business processes and identify any gaps. Where possible we encouraged the use of SAP standard functionality for ease of management. However, in many cases the specific requirements for the business meant we needed to look at developing custom functionality.
Newport was predominantly using the elements of SAP Business One which focus on wholesale and distribution: Accounts, Sales, Purchasing and Warehouse Management. We developed a custom addon to manage the job costing aspects of the business, as well as new user interface functionality through the Boyum Usability pack. Meanwhile, in order to enhance business process automation, we implemented the Codeless Platforms Business Process Automation application.
Throughout the entire project process we held a weekly project updates call to track delivery and mange any issues. Once each phase of development was completed, the users tested their new processes before deploying to the live environment.
The project did not stop there. Since re-establishing the SAP Business One support contract and the intense program of development to improve the processes, APH has been awarded three further contracts within Newport. Firstly, the company was running its entire SAP solution on dated on-premise servers. During the process we discussed the flexibility and scalability benefits of our cloud hosted platform, and Newport decided to migrate its SAP estate accordingly.
Secondly, and in conjunction with this cloud hosting, we are providing Newport with a complete cloud solution for all its desktop users. Now users can access a hosted desktop which contains all their business-critical applications through one cloud portal managed by APH.
Thirdly, in moving its core infrastructure to the cloud, it made sense for Newport to migrate its managed services contract to APH.
The combination of a complete remapping and reworking of its business processes, extensions and customisations to SAP Business One and migration to the cloud has generated huge flexibility, scalability and agility benefits for Newport.
The company immediately enjoyed a huge increase in productivity. For example, the use of Business Process Automation has helped Newport to process sales orders far quicker, whilst providing a seamless integration with its cloud-based business intelligence tool. In turn, this means Newport is achieving enhanced business intelligence for informing strategic decision-making.
Finally, the migration to Microsoft Office 365 enabled Proactive to truly future proof its IT system, with new users added quickly and easily, and all users able to access emails and data from multiple devices, wherever they are located. With APH supporting Office 365, the company’s employees enjoy reliable and robust Office 365 connectivity wherever and whenever they need it, thereby improving communication and collaboration across the organisation. Furthermore, APH drives consumption and provides best practice guidance. Data is secure, and time previously spent maintaining hardware and software can be used to move the company’s overall IT functionality forward.
In addition to providing a predictable monthly cost model, APH provides end-user Office 365 support of issues such as password resets, basic device troubleshooting, answering “how-to” questions, and proactive device monitoring and management.
The system as a whole is far more user-friendly, whilst better alignment between business processes and strategic goals means the organisation is far more future-proofed. Meanwhile, APH’s full managed services offers the peace of mind that the company’s infrastructure is proactively monitored at all times.
Jacques Delport, Finance Director at Newport said: “We had very high expectations in terms of automation and improved business processes, and APH has helped us to meet them all. The system is now far more intuitive, efficient and aligned with our business goals, enabling our IT to work in harmony with both long-term strategy and day-to-day operations. The fact that we extended the program of work in the midst of the project is a testament to how easy APH are to work with and how effective the project management is.”
Charlie Heywood at APH said: “This was a classic case of a powerful ERP system being in place, but not being properly tailored and integrated with business processes. We have been able to dramatically improve both productivity and business intelligence at Newport, which should set the company up for an even more ambitious future.”