Tag Archive: Keith Fenner


By Keith Fennersenior vice president for sales at Sage ERP Africa.

Companies need to be efficient, save time and costs, when it comes to the production and distribution of documents, such as invoices, remittances, statements, quotes and order confirmations

Sage ERP Africa’s electronic document distribution solution, Spindle Professional, now makes being efficient as a business so much easier because it enables business users to improve their practices and to streamline and automate all communications. It also helps the organisation to reduce their carbon footprint by going paperless.

The Spindle Professional software helps the small and medium sized business to instantly distribute multiple documents via email and to automatically print, fax and archive it as PDF documents. It is versatile, can be utilised by a number of departments across an organisation including Accounts, Sales, Marketing and Customer Service functions and it integrates with accounting, CRM and other systems. The software also enables organisations to create professional-looking documents, including the company’s logo and branding.”

How does it work? – A practical example:

Angela raises a sales order and prints it to Spindle Professional. John (the customer) gets an order confirmation as a PDF, via email. It includes corporate branding, terms and conditions and special offers, as well as a digital signature to assure its validity. Steve (in the sales department) also gets the order confirmation and checks it against quotations. At the same time a copy is saved in CRM, giving a single location for all communications and documents.

In the accounts department, Susan’s local printer prints a copy for filing with Terms and Conditions. A copy is also created and indexed into Microsoft SharePoint for easy access by multiple teams. Angela’s sales order is at the same time printed directly to the warehouse printer with bar codes added for easy item picking. A copy gets emailed to Bob in the warehouse, in case a reprint of the paperwork is required.

Key Features

·         Email – The most cost effective way to send documents. Complete with company branding and messages, finished documents are sent as PDF files.

  • Print – When an organisation simply can’t email or fax. Copies can be printed on different stationery Prints to multiple printers simultaneously

·         Barcode Generation – Create and insert barcodes to documents.

·         CRM – Automatically links outgoing documents with a customer or company and saves a record of the communication for reference.

·         Fax – Quick document delivery from one business to another.

·         PDF Digital signatures – Digitally signing documents gives you improved security and protects against invoice fraud.

Key Benefits

·         Reduce costs – documents are automatically delivered via email and fax and remove the need for pre-printed stationery.

·         Reduce environmental impact - sending documents by email and fax dramatically reduces the amount of paper used by a business and can help reduce environmental impact.

·         Automated Archiving – Spindle Professional automatically archives all documents as PDF files to a predefined location.

·         Intelligent Delivery – Spindle knows which documents to print, email or fax based on client and supplier preferences.

·         Intelligent documents - Terms and Conditions or promotional offers are automatically attached to relevant documents.

·         Seamless Integration – Spindle professional integrates with existing systems e.g. Sage 300 ERP (formerly Accpac), Sage ERP X3 and Sage CRM.

Spindle Professional is a document distribution solution that many of our Sage 300 ERP and Sage ERP X3 users in Africa have been looking for. It has been developed in partnership with Draycir International and offers us a real opportunity to deliver greater business value to our distributors and offer even more functionality from our Sage platforms.

By Jeremy Waterman, the Managing Director of Sage ERP

Jeremy Waterman

Jeremy Waterman

The Sage Insights 2013 Conference was a resounding success and a true celebration of the mobile revolution and the challenges it poses for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  More than 250 Sage ERP Africa’s business partners attended, which included 32 partners from East and West Africa.

The opening address focused on the mobile revolution and the challenges it holds for software vendors. It is not really the concept of mobility that is revolutionary, but more the reality of the delivery mechanism that has undergone an evolution.

Himanshu Palsule, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Strategy at Sage Group said in his keynote address that in going forward all Sage products will be built with a mobile and cloud strategy in mind. This is not a trend with an end in sight; it is a new way of life.

Benoit Gruber, Vice President of Product and Alliances Sage ERP X3, Product Marketing Europe and Sage mid-market, spoke about the road ahead for Sage ERP X3 and the planned release for version 7.0. This new technology update will make native thin client access to Sage ERP X3 a reality from any device, desktop or mobile.

Sean Mooney, the Head of Research and Development at Sage CRM assured partners that Sage CRM will remain at the heart of integrated business.

A strategic sales summary was delivered by Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President for Sales at Sage ERP Africa. He spoke about the Group’s extraordinary year and said that the success of Sage ERP x3 in Africa continued with triple growth digit growth in 2012. It is an ideal fit for many of the larger companies in Africa.

Another highlight of the conference was the announcement of Parity Software as the winner of the Sage National Solution Provider award for 2012. This is the highest recognition awarded by Sage for excellence in development, sales and technical expertise.

Parity’s managing director, Warren Williams said they are extremely pleased by the fact that after 30 years in business they continue to receive the highest industry accolades and that they still plan to provide top quality business solutions for Sage and other business partners.

By Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President of Sales for Africa at Sage ERP Africa.

Keith Fenner

Keith Fenner

The continued pursuit of mobility will fuel the uptake of Cloud solutions and requests for software on a subscription basis in 2013.

The sales of our solutions in the cloud have doubled in the last year, and I believe it is mostly attributable to the decline in bandwidth costs.  This trend has underscored the uptake of cloud in the last year.  A cloud solution can be tailored to meet the needs and pockets of the user, which makes it adaptable to suit the needs of the organisation.

A trend that will certainly continue to stamp its presence into 2013 is the demand for connected services, especially around service, sales and stock.  The days of spending hours to compile data and to debug excel formulas, are numbered.  Clients want to know what their key performance indicators (KPIs) are at the touch of a button and with a host of cloud enabled Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions you literally need an internet connection and a laptop, tablet, PC or smart phone to review your performance.  Slick and easy to use is the name of the game and that is why the uptake of applications for mobility has mushroomed.

Many vendors with modern architecture have easily adapted to the new challenges of mobility, but not all software is architected to allow for a rapid response to changing market conditions and that is something that the industry will need to work on in 2013.

Mobility will continue to gain traction well into 2013, in addition to the uptake of solutions in the cloud from both a consumer and enterprise point of view.  Devices, applications and social media are revolutionising the way that we communicate and it will have far-reaching effects on the South African IT industry going forward.

By Keith Fenner
Senior Vice President of Sales for Africa at Softline Accpac, part of the Sage Group plc.

Keith Fenner

Keith Fenner

Supply Chain Management (SCM) involves the supply of goods or services required by a customer.  The process involves many connected parties that are involved in the goods or services reaching their final destination. APICS defines it as the design, planning, execution, control and monitoring of supply chain activities.

The supply chain management cycle in Africa is vital for our customers to remain competitive with the ability to measure and monitor performance globally.  Planning and visibility is the key requirement in any successful SCM module from a logistical point of view and pre-costing from a financial point of view.  This visibility must extend to your suppliers and all the connected parties in that process in order to land goods at the right time and the right cost.  The visibility will lead to a lower stock holding which in turn will free up working capital to use elsewhere in the business.

How does SCM fit into Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?

Many ERP solutions only cater for a product once landed and costed but this is the first time the costs are known and stock is visible which does limit planning and cash-flow.  Typically goods can end up in stock and then additional costs are apportioned afterwards from a financial costing perspective based on weight, volume or value.  This is a very basic option and can lead to discrepancies when reviewing the gross profit on item level as these additional costs typically alloy across many stock items in a container.  A true SCM solution has a dedicated module where shipping routes, tariff codes, manage rules such as FOB and additional cost categories can be created and used to manage the true costing of goods in detail.  A module like this allows businesses to plan the costings and apply provisionally to stock before the additional cost invoices arrive, as often the stock has already been sold which causes further discrepancies. Once the final costs are known, the module will reverse the provision and add the correct apportioned costs to stock.  Moreover, in a modern web based ERP with SCM, you can simply give access to parts of the module to your suppliers to complete data relevant for shipping again improving collaboration.

When does is the right time to consider an SCM system?

Typically when importing starts to become a major problem in costing is the time to consider this solution.  When the frequency and volumes increase as well as the costs of warehousing, this is the time to review a proper integrated SCM and ERP.  It will massively reduce costs and deliver a better experience and service to their customers.

Advice

The best advice we can give is that SCM is not simple.  A distinction needs to be made between apportioning costs to landed stock which is the most basic requirement for a small business and what an importer looks for in order to better manage costs, improve service and delivery collaboration across the supply chain.  The key to the latter topic is a fully integrated SCM with ERP that has touch points across purchasing, suppliers, stock, warehousing, customers, customer service and costing that also talks directly to the supplier and customer with web based portals.  Luckily Sage ERP solutions have a scalable set of solutions for all sizes of businesses.

 

By Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President of Sales for Africa at Softline Accpac, part of the Sage Group plc.

Keith Fenner

Keith Fenner

Labour issues recently made headlines as one of the major challenges facing the South African mining landscape.  Rising labour costs as well as increasing electricity costs are just some of the obstacles facing the sector.

Many operators in the industry are currently focusing their efforts internally to stabilise the business, with a very strong emphasis on cost.  Effective cost management can however create opportunities for growth when armed with tried and tested business processes and a business software solution such as Sage ERP X3.

During 2011 Deloitte embarked on a partnership with Sage ERP X3 that was aimed at the delivery of a cost efficient Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution to its Mining Shared Services Division.  Sage ERP X3 effectively forms part of a Deloitte service delivery model that allows mining companies to co-source and/or outsource transactional and knowledge processes and take advantage of the cost benefits offered by consolidating and streamlining back office processes.  Deloitte’s mining industry expertise coupled with Sage ERP X3’s sector specific software capabilities are the two core ingredients to a winning recipe.

Organisations within the mining sector utilise ERP solutions for a diverse number of reasons.  Smaller companies may only utilise an ERP solution to manage its finance and purchasing, whereas bigger operators need to structure their business solutions around a more complex collection of needs.  A scalable ERP solution is therefore essential to adapt to the business’ needs however they may expand or change.

Sage ERP X3 was designed with the mid-to-upper end business in mind, which makes it a great match for the mining industry, among others.  The ERP solution excels at streamlining all operating and processing aspects of single or multiple business operations.

The product is essentially a complete web-based integrated management suite that covers all operational needs in terms of production management, distribution, logistics, asset maintenance, finance and human resources.  It is a multi-legislative, multi-lingual and multi-currency solution that can be seamlessly integrated on both a national and international level.

One of Deloitte’s first major clients recently went live on Sage ERP X3 with a further three mines showing satisfactory results being very comfortable with the product.  Sage ERP X3 does not come with the hefty price tag that some of its bigger counterparts presents, which makes it the ideal solution in a tough economy.

Cost of ownership is a focal point and with that in mind Deloitte introduced a software finance plan option, to stagger the initial implementation cost.  The return on investment makes the implementation of a Deloitte Mining Shared Services offering well worth it. The package comprises of an ERP solution, financial co-and outsourcing services in addition to information technology outsourcing services.

The ability of Deloitte’s Mining Shared Services Division to drive the back office productivity levels of its clients, delivers tangible results.  It is not just a system, but a comprehensive solution that leverages the industry expertise provided by Deloitte and the robust applications delivered through Sage ERP X3.