Leading UAE industrial supplier implements Epicor ERP as platform for growth
Location: Dubai, UAE
Zaker Trading is a one-stop-shop for specialised products and accessories in welding, lifting, safety, power tools, abrasives, and other engineering-related products. Since its establishment in 1987, it has become a major contributor to the recent and ongoing developments in oil and gas and infrastructural set-up in the UAE and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. By combining experience, knowledge of local industrial requirements, practices, and appreciation from its customer base, Zaker Trading believes it services their customers in the best possible way.
Today, Zaker Trading and its associated companies deliver state-of-the-art products and consumables to various Middle East-based industrial customers through its network of offices, showrooms, and multiple warehouses in the UAE and across the GCC region.
Old system inhibits growth
In business for over 25 years, Zaker Trading had what can best be described as an archaic accounting system. Firstly, the existing system did not provide visibility across functional areas, and as such, most departments functioned in silos with minimal integration and exchange of information. Secondly, the system was very basic and required a lot of manual steps, as evidenced in the quotation process. What should have taken just a few clicks was a cumbersome, manual, and time-consuming process for the sales engineers.
With the old system, the sales engineers first had to generate the quote, then take it over to their managers for approval before sending to the customer. As the company expanded its operations and grew exponentially, it became painfully obvious to the directors of the company, that the incumbent system would not afford them the flexibility or scalability that the business demanded. To this end, the directors initiated the process of changing to an effective ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.
As Charles Jesudason, group general manager explains, “At Zaker Trading, we have a small team and a limited product offering, and so our success hinges on us efficiently managing our physical and human resources. Having integration and visibility across the various functional areas, offering exceptional customer service, smart inventory management and capacity planning, and ensuring short delivery times, are critical success factors in our business, particularly in this economic climate with depressed oil prices. With the growth we have experienced over the recent past, not only was our incumbent system not keeping up with the business requirements, but it also began to be a barrier to our growth.”
Finding the right support structure
For Jesudason and the team at Zaker Trading, one of the primary requirements was partnering with a vendor that understood the challenges, pain points and opportunities within the industries that it operated, and offered a solution that was proven in the region and tailor-made for their requirements with minimal configuration.
Finding a platform capable of supporting Zaker Trading’s growth plans was another important criterion. Jesudason says, “We needed the new ERP system to be the backbone of the business and meet not only our current business requirements, but also serve as a platform for the next ten to fifteen years as we expand our operations and grow. It was therefore essential that the solution was built with next generation technology, as well as flexible and scalable.”
In parallel, Jesudason was also keen for a solution that required minimal IT oversight and management. With just a two-man IT team for the entire organisation, they could not afford to have these valuable resources spend a significant portion of their time maintaining the new system or responding to user queries, like they were doing with the incumbent system. They needed the new ERP solution to be easy to deploy, easy to use, and most importantly require very little maintenance.
After several months of due diligence and a rigorous request for proposal (RFP) process that included all tier 1 ERP solution vendors, Zaker Trading selected Epicor Software. The Epicor ERP solution included key modules such as financial management, supply chain management, and inventory management and was deployed across all Zaker Group companies in the region—bringing the siloed business units onto a single platform.
A firm platform for growth
It wasn’t long after the Epicor ERP solution was deployed across Zaker Group that it began to reap the benefits. Firstly, the supply chain management and inventory management modules have significantly improved visibility and transparency across their operations. Aided with real-time and accurate data on all inhouse inventories, Zaker Group has been able to better manage its capacity and reduce delivery times to customers.
Another benefit of the Epicor ERP solution is the built-in dashboards and reporting tools. Not only has this meant that Zaker Group has not had to invest in any third-party plugins or business analytics solutions, but more importantly, users have the ability to easily generate customised reports. Citing one specific example of how the real time reporting tools have helped users be proactive and make better decisions, Jesudason says, “The majority of our customers are in the oil and gas industry, and although last year was tough for our industry, we were able to improve our accounts receivable by more than 30% in 2015! I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Epicor ERP was a big reason we were able to achieve this.”
Confident that Epicor ERP will now serve as the backbone of the business for years to come, Jesudason and the management team have been able to turn their focus to improving the business, setting them on a growth trajectory. “We are a growing company, and for us to continue to grow and evolve, adoption of industry best practices and best-in-class processes are critical. Thanks to Epicor ERP, we have been able to streamline and automate several processes; have better visibility, transparency, and information exchange across the organisation; and have been able to execute on our organisational change management strategy,”
“By rolling out Epicor ERP at the group level and bringing all the entities within the group under the same ERP umbrella, we have better control of our business and can better plan for the future. In fact, Epicor ERP is at the heart of our growth strategy. Since the deployment, we have been able to roll out our expansion plans, not just in terms of our geographical reach but also in terms of our product portfolio—an advantagefor both us and our loyal customers,” concludes Jesudason.