I remembered being asked this question by the CEO of a steel stockist. His business was growing and sales was coming in thick and fast. He had staff with piles of documents that needed processing to make sure the inventory and supplies was keeping up with the demand. His financials were delayed because the accounting department was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of transactions. Dealing in steel also meant he had to make sure he practiced good stock management due to rising steel prices. He does not want to be caught with a stock of high cost inventory when the market hits a snag. He knew he needed a system to cut through all the paperwork and help improve the efficiency of the company’s workflow. He evaluated several systems. His budget was modest. We presented the SAP ERP solution to him. We showed him how we can enable the system to not only keep track of the inventory quantities and value, but also to identify and attach the characteristics of each sheet or roll of steel. We also configured the SAP inventory and sales system to help him make sure he matched the costs of the steel sold to selling prices so that the margins are known and maintained. He was convinced. Then he told us he needed the system ready and operational in 3 months. We were confident and asked that he put a good team in place and trust us to set it up using our experience for his benefit. But before he signed the agreement, he asked me this – “When this is done, will my staff be able to go home by 6pm every day?” My answer was “Yes, and let’s make that both yours and my target for this project”. 3 months later, the SAP system was “live” and in full production taking on the transactions as they fly in, spitting out documents as required and providing the much needed financial information for his operations. The project was successful for him as much as it was for us. His staff got to go home by 6pm and our staff went home totally satisfied over a job well done.
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