Industry:Workwear, Health & Safety Gear
I can be at home, or on holiday, and I can always log on to DEAR and see what's going on. I can check my sales for the day without having to do fancy reports, the dashboard gives it to me as I need it
After a false start with a traditional ERP, DEAR gives this safety gear company the visibility they need
Visibility is critical on a construction worksite — and it’s just as important in your inventory operations.
Much like in the world of safety equipment, while aesthetics play a part, functionality is the most important thing when it comes to inventory management. On this, DEAR does exactly what it needs to do.
“From a sales point of view, it’s nice, it’s quick, it’s easy,” Dylan says.
A large benefit is that more staff are now able to benefit from access to information that previously would have been partitioned off for the management team. DEAR’s built in authorization workflows mean that staff actions can easily be signed off by managers. “We’re able to get our people to do functions that we would’ve had to do ourselves as a management team,” Dylan says. “They can do it, we can check it, and then authorize it.” Everyone gains from better visibility and automated workflows.
The ERP False Start That Brought More Challenges
In 2014, Dylan Dupreez joined the business his father started. Sensing a need for a fresh approach, the business rebranded to About Workwear, and opened their first brick-and-mortar retail space to complement their existing wholesale (B2B) operations. The business formerly known as Vernon Dupreez Agencies was founded in 1992, and over the next 30 years it grew to become one of the leading suppliers of branded work and safety wear in South Africa.
About Workwear then did what a lot of businesses do: they decided to implement a traditional ERP system, with an onsite server. But with the improvements offered by Sage Evolution came a host of new challenges. Servers needed servicing, remote connection became an issue, it was slow, and there was always a lag between inputting and processing information.
It wasn’t the modern solution Dylan had in mind, and now the ERP’s inherent lack of operational transparency, born of fragmented and hard-to-access systems, was holding the business back.The ERP decision became the problem, and the problem now became finding the right system to replace it.
“No one had access to information,” Dylan says. “Basically, there was just one computer that ran accounting and inventory software, and I felt that we needed to be able to have a bit more transparency and see what was going on with the business — not just at work, but away from work.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic, things came to a head. “We took the view that we needed something that was more accessible,” Dylan says. “We wanted to move to something that was always online, that we can access from anywhere.”
And so began the hunt, which –- after painstaking research and frustrating trial and error with other systems — ended with the implementation of DEAR Systems in April, 2021. With the effects of the pandemic still reverberating through the global economy, Dylan needed DEAR to have an immediate, positive effect on the business.
“With DEAR, It’s nice, it’s quick, it’s easy”
Fortunately, once DEAR was in place, it gave About Workwear exactly what they’d been lacking before — operational visibility, available anytime, to anyone in the business, with just a few clicks.
“DEAR gives us a clear view of where our products are in the order life cycle,” Dylan says. Having all their inventory recorded in DEAR makes stock, shipping status, and back orders instantly available. “One of the big benefits is the big pack and ship that we’ve done. We can see what stock has come in, and what stock hasn’t arrived, and what’s packed, so we’ve got a better view of where our inventory and our orders are.”
Despite only being on DEAR for a few months, Dylan says there’s a noticeable difference in the ease of day-to-day running of the business, compared to their Sage implementation. Previously, searching for the kind of information DEAR easily yields up would have to be manually typed, in a specific order, while hoping servers wouldn’t crash with all information lost.
Inventory information for anyone who needs it, anywhere
Now that About Workwear has DEAR implemented, staff can access information from anywhere, without needing to be physically on-premises, or arduously connect to a slow and unreliable remote server. In a world wracked by COVID-19, lockdowns, quarantines, and work-from-home requirements, this has been a life-saver.
“It’s helped a lot with staff having to work from home when they’ve become sick or been in contact with someone that was sick,” Dylan says. “And it’s definitely saved me time.” Previously, Dylan might have struggled to log in to a remote server on a phone or tablet, but now it’s simple. “I can be at home or on holiday, and I can always log on and just see what’s going on. I can check my sales for the day without having to do fancy reports, the dashboard gives it to me as I need it.”
About Workwear is also using Xero for accounting, and they’ve found that integrating DEAR has benefited the smooth running of back-office systems, including expenses and customer accounts. But there’s also been a huge benefit at the coal-face, on the shop floor. About Workwear sales staff are using DEAR’s Point of Sale module, and there have been clear benefits for pure retail transactions. “It’s great where there’s a direct sale, and for receiving payments.
Another key benefit is clarity. Much like in the world of safety equipment, while aesthetics play a part, functionality is the most important thing when it comes to inventory management. On this, DEAR does exactly what it needs to do.
Seeing the effects of greater visibility
With DEAR now used daily in the business, About Workwear says the main benefits are easy to quantify: time saved, and visibility gained.
And freeing up time is vital, when you have big aspirations for the future.
“The goal of the business at the moment is to grow, to get a few extra people involved in the business,” Dylan says. DEAR is helping create space for that growth, thanks to efficient and accurate inventory management.
“I can be at a client’s and see exactly what’s happening on their order if they have a question. I can do a quotation while I’m at a client, I can record stuff on the system straight away,” he says.
Despite the clear wins they’ve experienced so far, Dylan reckons that DEAR is not yet being used to its full potential. Looking ahead, he’s excited about the effect that implementing DEAR’s warehouse management capabilities will have on the bottom line.
“The big saving is going to come,” he says. “If my store man can receive goods using the app and it’s already marked as received on the purchase order, that’s going to take away hours from our time, in terms of one person capturing it on paper and another person converting it electronically.”
About Workwear is also looking to add DEAR’s ability to scan barcodes straight from any smartphone or mobile device to their retail repertoire, which will save hours of work time. “They [will be able to] do a sale on the move rather than sit behind the counter and wait for the goods to pile up,” he says. “That’s the next thing — we’re going to test now and see if that helps the guys in the shop to record sales quicker.”
But that’s all yet to come. For now, About Workwear has found that even a few months on DEAR can bring quantifiable benefits to your business: they now have true operational visibility to match their high-viz product set
“From our side, DEAR’s given us a good overview, a good bird’s eye view of our process; our orders; our sales; and to track where what’s happening in the business and the movement of our stock,” Dylan says.
“We can see our sales, we can see where each sale is in the process, we can see if anything’s missing from each order. It’s all electronic, scan-and-go. DEAR’s definitely made it a lot simpler for us to see what’s going on.”
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