Bahrain-based Havelock AHI, an interior manufacturer and fit-out contractor, recently signed a partnership with Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, to implement the next-generation Epicor ERP solution across its six locations in the GCC.
Aiman Mahmoud, Senior IT Manager explains: “In our business, agility flexibility, and on-time-delivery (OTD) are critical success factors. Being able to offer our customers a completely customised offering and deliver it in a timely manner is what sets us apart from the competition. This requires tight integration of all processes from tendering and order entry, to engineering and purchasing and manufacturing and delivery.”
Up until the late 2000s, Havelock AHI relied on a home-grown solution to run their business which specialises in interior fit-outs and manufacturing of furniture, joinery and shop fittings catering to the hospitality, retail and corporate sectors. While the solution was effective, it was far from efficient, in part because of the system architecture. The existing solution was essentially two disparate systems—one of which was used to manage the manufacturing and contracting portion of the business (e.g., order entry, manufacturing work orders, etc.) and the second for accounting and finance. For an organisation whose value proposition is offering customers bespoke solutions, the old system raised several challenges.
“Working with two separate systems meant that we lacked critical visibility and transparency across departments, which translated to lost productivity and efficiency—and potentially lost business. If that wasn’t bad enough, the system was still very manual, a problem that made each month-end closing a marathon process as a result of having to move all operational data from the manufacturing system to the accounting system and then navigate the several layers of validation to make sure there were no errors,” says Mahmoud.
Faced with these challenges, the team at Havelock AHI realised that replacing their home-grown solution with a modern, third party ERP solution would allow the organisation to have visibility and transparency across all departments and streamline and automate processes. They recognised a new solution was key to business growth.
When compiling the list of “must-haves” for the new ERP solution, top on the list was the need for the system to be industry-specific and have a high degree of customisation, right out of the box. Aiman says: “We needed a system that could be customised to meet the needs of both the manufacturing and contracting pieces of our business without incurring significant costs or long implementation delays. We also wanted a solution that could be scaled easily to meet the demands of our growing business.”
Using Epicor, the company began to pay dividends right from the implementation stage. “The Epicor ERP solution architecture is extremely user friendly and requires very little technical knowledge. So unlike most other IT implementations that require the involvement of the vendor and partners, we managed the entire implementation in-house. The only module that we did consult with the Epicor team on was accounting, since this is one of the critical modules that ties everything else together.”
With anywhere between 75–80 users accessing the system across the six Havelock locations in the GCC at any time, one of the biggest benefits has been the improved visibility and transparency across all departments. Citing a recent example of an order of cashier counters for Mothercare, Aiman explains: “The sales cycle of every single customer from tender to fulfilment is unique. Flawless execution hinges on tight integration and coordination between our associates in sales, engineering, purchasing, manufacturing, shipping, and accounting. Deploying Epicor ERP has allowed us to rely on systems rather than manual processes, improve communication between departments, streamline operations, and ultimately ensure that we deliver the highest quality product and service to our customers.”
With the Epicor ERP system now serving as the backbone of their business, Aiman and his team are beginning to benefit from its rich functionality—specifically its reporting features—to improve business operations and aid management decision making. “We are currently working on building customised reports for each department. For example, our associates in purchasing now have granular visibility of purchase orders which ultimately contributes to an improved OTD, arguably one of the most important manufacturing metrics. In addition to departmental reports, we are also working on developing data rich reports and dashboards for our senior management team that will give them a clear snapshot of the health of the business and allow them to make more informed business decisions.”