“I am not a technical person and I never get into details. In fact, the technical details are important to me only to the extent when everything works perfectly and the information we need is permanently available.”
Who is VitaCare, what is its position in the market, which are the strategic objectives of the company?
Vitacare is aninternational manufacturer and distributor of food supplements, complex vitamins and minerals, herbal extracts, essential oils. We are a company with Romanian capital. In terms of turnover, this year we will reach over 2 million euros and thus enter the top 10 players in this great industry.
We began operations in parafarmaceutics in 2002. Until then the company, founded in 99, worked as a firm that offered consultancy in the pharmaceutical industry. Our market share is currently at the 1%, but in the next 2 years we want to reach at least 3.5% market share. The market for supplements in the past 3 years had an annual increase of around 25%, and we, even if the last three years we grew 9 times turnover, can only now say that we have reached our true potential. We have enough experience in a market and continuous development; we know what to do to achieve our objectives.
What was the situation before the implementation of an ERP and which were the current issues?
Before starting this partnership with Senior Software, we had contact and I worked for a year and a half with another type of ERP software and I can say that I stopped working with that company because of the lack of adaptation and limitation of the software in regards to our requirements and the laws, lack of service, etc.. The most important aspect and reason for our decision to change it was the fact that the collaboration itself was missing. The moment I decide on an ERP implementation, I consider it as a partnership, as I trust someone to basically manage my company.
Very important was the transfer of trust between providers of ERP and new users of this software. I personally know what I wanted from this software, I spoke with the providers, but people working in the company know it more in-depth, and I just received some very detailed reports and indicators, and in this way benefit from the practical implementation. The software was not updated before, I had many months where we had nothing to do with them, the application used previously gave pink, no longer work, let me unlock it sitting a week. When I was a request to them, I had to send an email for anything, email which remained without any feedback.
What were the main benefits of the implementation?
One of the things I was very interested in and I am convinced that I have it now, was for the management to be up to date. We report analytical and personalized, we have dedicated service and support, we had a representative from Senior Software that practically moved in in the first two, three months after implementation. I appreciated that very much because, after those 2 months, everyone of us knew the software by heart. I needed customization, because I started to offer basic skeleton application and I came to implementation that fits our needs perfectly.
What were the main problems in implementation and how were they solved?
As with any implementation, there was a period of accommodation with the application. There is a specific stream of activities to be respected. Fortunately, we enjoyed the people who were totally dedicated and they understood our needs, which allowed us to work much faster and easier with the application.
There were no major problems. I knew what to expect, given that I went through an ERP implementation, but one which wasn’t successful. Maybe one of the problems was people regain confidence in the use of such applications. The application that we had before was no longer used in the company, given that it didn’t help, even became a risk for us, given that we couldn’t rely on it. Otherwise, any minor issues related to customization of the application for ourspecific flows our work was done quickly on the way.
What advantages (or disadvantages) an ERP implementation brings to a company?
In terms of management, the ERP is the support for decisions. I base my forecasts on data I get from the ERP. I can do reports based on them. We can control the various streams, we can forecast different needs. We can balance any tensions between internal departments, such as between sales and logistics. Sellers want to sell the entire stock in a day. But besides that, there are certain limitations like discount, promotional offers and terms of payment that must be taken into account, there are a multitude of logistics problems.
The acquisition of an ERP is a difficult problem. Purchasing a solution that does not match and makes a lot of mistakes can jeopardize the smooth functioning of labor and even burden people. When you buy a solution able to give you something solid in the first place in terms of data safety and then that is fits your needs, so we transform the business completely.
What are the criteria that you had in mind in the selection of the ERP?
First, it is important to you choose a company about which you can find different things: for how long is has been on the market, with what results, who are its clients, if you are willing to provide that reference, you can check the things that everyone can “sell” at a presentation. To see who leads the company that will work and how he does it. For further references have mattered so much in the choice of the application, that came from people who had great faith and knew the application developed by Senior Software.
It is important for the application to be a high technological level, to be in step with what’s happening, to have new technology, scalable. I do not want to change my technology platforms over a year, if you buy a product based on old technology. I do not want to change software, purchase licenses, change servers, for us it would mean spending more. Also we had to guarantee that technically everything worked perfectly. I am not a technical person and I never get into details. In fact, the technical details are important to me only to the extent when everything works perfectly and the information we need is permanently available
Until now we couldn’t provide a centralization of all information, different gaps appears, they were no longer updated. In addition, use of data by certain departments of life was broken because of the application errors generated by the previous application. Currently we managed to create a solid basis of information which can be used by each department according to needs, and generate reports and orders in real time, thanks to the latest technology.
How we got to collaborate with Senior Software? Through a recommendation. We know clearly that at least among serious people, recommendation matters very much, and in our case it came from a person of confidence for me, who has worked with Senior Software team in other projects and he presented them as a team of young professionals who work with the latest generation software, which discuss first and then come with the solution, as I also have found out.
Are there changes in the organizational culture following the ERP implementation and at what levels?
First, this was observed immediately, we improved information flow in processes. In terms of management, we needed accurate information about what is happening in the company. We provide reports based on the information in the application, which supports various business decisions. At the managerial level we have information that we need.
Are there indicators that business has increased after the ERP implementation?
I immediately think of the speed and volume of billing. We can do this much easier and faster in SeniorERP. We do more things faster, with greater control, more efficiently.
How did SeniorERP support the following processes?
Management of customers and cash flow: Thanks to the implementation of theSeniorERP application, our clients enjoy regular bills automatically issued, a permanent record of orders to preserve the history of transactions and deliveries. In this way, errors in inventory management and billing are eliminated. Together with the sales department, we can effectively pursue the collection and balances which help to control and manage the cash-flow.
Automation of accounting activities:
If before the application, accounting was separated from the ERP, we now have the opportunity to work integrated with the rest of the application. We therefore not only have updated information, but also greater speed of work. Accounting is fully automated. In the first months of transition to the use of SeniorERP, I checked the figures and number of applications, just to be absolutely sure they are good. We believe that everything was fine in the application, and now we use exclusively SeniorERP for accounting and things are going on OK.
Why did you choose the SeniorERP solution?
I was very much interested in reporting and reliability of data extracted, because we’ve got problems due to stock, even incorrectness of previous data and reporting inventories was not very fair. Imports of goods automatically passed through several phases and we realized that there were problems. In inventory I didn’t have the stock, which was on the field with what was reported (even in real simulations). Actually the reason for a new software acquisition comes, among others, from the need for very strict management.
You must choose what you need. Before choosing a solution from Senior Softwarewe saw several solutions in the market and we compared. I chose to take a solution that serves our needs, without purchasing solutions at prices that offer great features that we do not need, or are not customized for our field.
Can SeniorERP be considered a support for growth in the company and if yes how can it do that?
For sure, the old application stopped our development. We could not make plans, I could not control the information. Of course you can not grow without knowing what you rely on. All our forecast sites are now based on information from SeniorERP. When you provide information, you can think about the next steps. We rely sour srategy on valuable information given by the application.
When I chose SeniorERP I wanted more than a provider and an application. We looked primarily for a partnership. People with we can understand, who understand our needs and we grow with them. SeniorERP helped us customize the application to our needs, to learn how to use it and last but not least, we have shared from their experience. Our needs for growth, the forecast are met gradually, as our growth.
Would you recommend SeniorERP to a company in your field of business? What would be the arguments? What advice would you give a company that wants to implement an ERP?
Of course an ERP is very useful. But you must have an application that fits and it must meet some conditions. If I had to think abou,t what I can tell a company that wants to implement an ERP, is what I know from my experience: I was in a situation to have an ERP and needed to implement another one, I know what it means not to have the application that you need, without any support and without having the necessary data when you need them and, last but not least, I know what it means to have the solution, helping you to develop your business. When we chose a ERP solution, basically, we trudted the business in the hands of these people. It is a responsibility that you can not defer to anyone. You have to be sure about the quality and experience of people who will enter the privacy of your business.