“Frontline’s involvement led us to realise all the things that we could do with our business processes and the potential of SAP Business One.” Vicky Williams, Senior Sales Executive, Apollo Scientific
Apollo Scientific Ltd
Apollo Scientific was established in 1993, its head office is located in Stockport in the North West. The company employs 65 people and predicted revenue for this year is around £16 million.
Apollo’s main niche market is high quality fluorochemicals and precursors for pharmaceutical products approved for use as antibiotic, anti-cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-viral and anti-cancer drugs.
Reduced productivity and lost data – the risks of a disconnected business management system
Since 2002 Apollo had been using a mid-market Sage application for accounting alongside a separate system for their extensive chemicals database. Alongside these existing systems which needed to be replaced, the company had experienced rapid growth with the number of employees growing from 16 to 65. They now needed a single system across the business that could cope with the increased size of the organisation. Equally important was the requirement to have a solution that could grow with the business as it developed further.
As the business grew, the existing Sage system became increasingly problematic. Vicky Williams, Senior Sales Executive, Apollo Scientific recalls, “The system was badly structured and would freeze or crash frequently. In the worst instances the system could be down for up to 2 hours and in many cases this resulted in lost data and time as sales and purchase orders had to be re-entered.”
In addition, as data was stored in more than one system, staff were forced to switch constantly to locate the required information, costing the business hundreds of man hours per year.
In summary, Apollo was in need of a centralised system to streamline its business.
Moving the business along with a centralised management system
When it became clear that Apollo had outgrown their current Sage solution, the IT department initially looked at the possibility of moving to another Sage product. This was quickly discounted as the software didn’t have the desired flexibility and couldn’t offer enough integration between the two systems.
Apollo’s accountant recommended Frontline Consultancy and a preliminary meeting took place. The solution arrived at was SAP Business One; an affordable, complete business management system geared towards the needs of small and growing businesses.
Vicky Williams commented, “I was very impressed with the meetings and subsequent demonstrations (from Frontline). This led us to realise all the things that we could do with our business processes and the potential of SAP Business One.”
Following on from the demonstration, several workshops took place with Frontline to brainstorm ideas and Vicky found it very useful to get Frontline’s perspective on their existing business processes. Apollo’s management team began to realise that they could move the business along with better IT systems in place.
Apollo were reassured by Frontline’s accreditations from SAP and being a Gold Partner further added to Frontline’s credibility in delivering the proposed solution.
This was further bolstered by Frontline’s commitment to following industry recognised service methodologies such as ITIL, combined with Frontline’s in-house expertise – a unique mixture of expertise that Frontline call their ‘Connected Delivery’ service methodology.
“The implementation process ran very smoothly – the pilot system was installed 3 to 4 months before the go-live date and the pilot and training ran in parallel to the day-to- day running of the business so there was no disruption,” commented Vicky.
SAP Business One went live over a weekend so that Apollo employees could go into work on Monday morning and start using SAP straight away. After the go live date, Apollo were finding their feet for the first few days, but there was no significant downtime; and any initial issues were ironed out with the help of the experienced SAP team at Frontline.
Vicky believes that the smooth transition to the new system was assisted by the fact that one of Frontline’s SAP implementation team remained on site for the first week. “This proved very beneficial as he was spot on with resolving any problems as he had extensive knowledge of the system.” Furthermore Vicky stated, “The run up to the go live was particularly good. We received a lot of help from Frontline and their SAP team provided a lot of input into the pilot stage helping us get the best solution.”
“The implementation process ran very smoothly – the pilot system was installed 3 to 4 months before the go-live date and the pilot and training ran in parallel to the day-to-day running of the business so there was no disruption.”
Senior Sales Executive, Apollo Scientific
Room for growth – a business now set for the future
As the implementation was so successful Apollo has had little need to use the Frontline Helpdesk. On the occasions that they have, the service has been quick and Apollo has always been kept informed of progress.
SAP Business One has saved Apollo a lot of time by eliminating duplication and management can now see a complete picture of their business. Extracting data is also significantly easier, and the team can quickly run reports to get turnover and margin analysis by salesperson and customer; a task that used to take hours of preparation.
One particular development which is very important in the chemicals industry is detailed batch information. With SAP Business One, Apollo now has full traceability of batches, from supplier to customer.
As a result of the new solution, Apollo is now processing more orders and SAP Business One is not only coping with the increase, but most importantly there is room for further growth and the capability for the platform to develop and grow with the business.
Why Frontline for SAP Business One?
Frontline was chosen due to our credibility in delivering SAP Business One solutions and our commitment to achieving a Return on Integration for our clients. Following on from our recommendation to Apollo, our SAP accreditations and Gold Partner status assured Apollo that Frontline Consultancy was the right IT partner for their business. We differentiated ourselves by demonstrating our ability to deliver returns through aligning business needs with IT solutions.