SYSPRO Africa provides unique ERP solutions to ensure its clients enjoy optimal future-ready functionality

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) has an interesting history. Although in use since the late 1960s, it only emerged as a revolutionary system in the 1990s when manufacturers began to integrate finance and accounting structures with HR and equipment maintenance. So effective was ERP that today there is a proliferation of systems in the market. However, not all are created equal, which makes the choice of service provider very dependent on innumerable factors, including capability, functionality, user-requirements, user-friendliness and, of course, the ability to adapt to technological advances.

Likely the biggest consideration is how well a provider understands and responds to a customer’s operations and unique needs, which ultimately creates a strong and enduring reputation. These are factors that have driven SYSPRO Africa into the spotlight – not only because it niched into the manufacturing and distribution sector, but because its global presence and successful implementations are known to remove the misunderstanding around ERP, where complexity is a major resistance factor.

Deirdre Fryer, head of solutions engineering at SYSPRO Africa, understands why this is, but counters by explaining how that very complexity reveals the true value of a SYSPRO ERP product.

‘A business has many moving parts, with functions and processes performed by multiple resources and departments. These activities do not happen in silos, and the execution of one task in one area can have an immediate impact on another part of the business,’ she says.

Fryer provides an example. ‘Changing the delivery date of a PO can cause purchasing delays, which in turn results in the delivery date of a sales order being pushed out. The result is a sales delay,’ she says. There are also many integrated services that are in play beyond a customer order and delivery, such as scheduling operations, inventory records and allied financial data.

‘What a SYSPRO ERP aims to achieve is one source of the truth through digitalisation. In other words, a virtual representation of what is physically happening throughout the core business processes. It may appear complex, but a SYSPRO ERP is designed to integrate performance management so that an enterprise can record, track, trace and analyse its operations. And, when used effectively, it provides benefits that improve efficiencies and collaborations.’

SYSPRO addresses customer needs through a focus on requirements, fit and expectations

When an ERP fails to achieve these goals it is likely because the systems and software are not matched to the business needs, or the features and functions are sub-par and require development or add-ons to achieve what is necessary. Fryer warns that companies should approach with caution the idea that one ERP system can do everything, as it will require compromise and a trade-off at some point.

‘At SYSPRO we focus on the key fundamental areas: finance; manufacturing; distribution; and sales,’ she says.

‘We believe it is better to partner with other specialists who have HR and payroll expertise and collaborate with them to ensure that their and our systems work and integrate seamlessly. This has proven to provide the best result for our customers.’

SYSPRO’s customers in manufacturing and distribution range from medium to large enterprises, and are a diverse mix – from electronics, food and beverage to fabricated metal and automotive. They all avail of the SYSPRO Cloud ERP offering that follows a subscription-based approach, whereby clients pay per user and bundles such as finance, distribution, manufacturing and so on.

‘This fee allows usage of the software as well as access to new software releases with the on-premises modular combination of user licences,’ says Fryer.

‘This exists because we are mindful that business and technology constantly changes, which is why we also encourage a continuous partnership with SYSPRO ERP consultants. This also ensures support for future projects and allows the business to gain ongoing value from our systems.’

The ongoing value is also provided by SYSPRO consultants who have business and industry knowledge outside of their SYSPRO ERP expertise, so they’re able to apply solutions to specific requirements because of their overall and comprehensive understanding of how improvements manifest in turnaround performance.

‘This has been a key value-add for our customers,’ says Fryer. Consultants are also constantly updating their knowledge, as are SYSPRO partners and customers, who can tap into the SYSPRO Learning Channel, an online portal that is regularly updated with relevant material and educational content – yet another benefit of a SYSPRO ERP installation.

There are effectively three factors that drive SYSPRO in meeting customer expectations, particularly around costs, namely requirements, fit and expectation.

‘We encourage our customers to avail of a full process-modelling project for two reasons,’ says Fryer. ‘One, it allows us to fully understand requirements and, two, the customer in turn gains an understanding of how an ERP system will expand across the organisation. With this blueprint upfront, projects can be completed within expected estimates and time frames.’

Manufacturing, distribution, finance and sales are SYSPRO’s priority areas

From a ‘fit’ perspective, Fryer acknowledges that software can be a challenge in terms of achieving original estimate and cost, but this is true of all ERP systems. ‘If there are gaps between what is needed and what software can do, additional spend may be required. This gives us more justification for recommending a full process model because we will be able to provide a more realistic estimate.’

The third factor – expectation – is more difficult to manage because, as Fryer explains, an ERP system should be adapting and improving along with changes in operations and technology. ‘Often the perception is that the long-term cost is more than expected, which could be true. But what isn’t considered is that over time the requirements and needs of the organisation will change since the introduction of the initial plan.’

With thousands of customers worldwide, and partnerships that have realised many successful ERP projects being achieved, SYSPRO is ultimately geared, very simply, towards client satisfaction and value.

‘Delivering a SYSPRO ERP system is always based on unique needs; the supply of proven methodology and established best practices; and deepening and growing functionality,’ according to Fryer. ‘Therefore, so many businesses trust us to be their partner.’

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