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Allied Mobile

Epicor ERP Becomes the Backbone for African Expansion

 

Company Facts

  • Location: South Africa
  • Industry: Telecommunications products and services distributor
  • Website: www.allied-mobile.com

 

Allied Mobile is the dominant cellular product distributor and third-party logistics provider to the mobile telecommunications industry in Africa. The company’s total addressable market comprises 38 countries across the continent and a population of over 700 million.

Founded in 2003, Allied Mobile was the first to offer world-class and fully integrated procurement, stock control, delivery, and logistics systems to operators, service providers, and retailers in Africa. Leveraging its leadership position in South Africa and other existing markets, the company has since expanded its presence with recent sales volumes growing between 15–20 percent annually.

Growth across multiple African markets

This accomplishment has been achieved through the services of dedicated customer support staff and partnerships with market leaders—like Nokia, Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, and Ericsson—to distribute the latest mobile phones and cellular-related mobile technologies. The Epicor enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution was implemented to centrally manage Allied Mobile’s business operations based in multiple countries and geographic locations. Over the past decade, the Epicor ERP solution has been credited with streamlining the financial management, procurement, and inventory management activities of the entire company.

End-to-end process standardisation

“The Epicor ERP system essentially runs the company,” says Ewan McCulloch, general manager IT, Allied Mobile. “Business operations like ours are incredibly complex and intricate. Working within countries across the continent requires meeting varying governmental compliance regulations and transacting seamlessly with all our partners and operations—despite dealing with differing languages and currencies.

“Epicor ERP gives us end-to-end standardisation. It tracks everything through our entire system and gives us an extremely accurate picture of nearly every business process, procedure, and transaction in real time. Plus, it’s so easy to use, making it simple for new users to get up to speed—while instilling an intense comfort in our business decisions based on the depth and efficiency of the analytics provided. This is very important in an industry where the work on the ground is so dynamic and profitability is often measured in the ability to minimise downtime and keep things running at lightning speed—without the bumps that often accompany diverse, sales-driven operations.”

Evolving to meet new market opportunities

According to McCulloch, as the backbone of the organisation, the Epicor ERP solution has enabled Allied Mobile to rapidly evolve to meet new market opportunities across multiple demographics, expand the value chain, grow revenue, and drive efficiencies directly to the bottom line. It has also facilitated operations from start to finish with full financials, supply chain management (SCM), sales order management, storefront, customer portals, and point of sale (POS).

Another benefit is the ability to track the status of more than 2 million products in stock across Africa. This includes knowing the exact location of every serialised item—no matter the country—at a moment’s notice.

“Epicor ERP is a very efficient and flexible mid-market management tool,” explains Alex Thomson, finance director, Allied Mobile. “There’s little room for error since every item is scanned into the system. This has allowed us to track the status of cartons, shipments, and sales down to the purchase of a handset sold to a buyer in Zambia. Human error has been virtually eliminated at almost every level.”

“As result, the system provides us with highly accurate analytical data highlighting everything from inventory validations and cash flow to the gross profit margins of products sold from a specific bin located at a particular retailer. At the end of each month, we then accumulate this information to develop reports and comparative studies detailing the performance of every outlet selling our products. This feature alone has allowed us to move forward with a very aggressive growth plan that readily identifies new buying trends, market opportunities, or even sales and profitability issues in a given region. Epicor ERP is the life blood of everything we do.”

Planting roots in every African country

Most recently, Allied Mobile began the expansion of these capabilities by upgrading to the latest version of Epicor ERP. Designed as a standardised, scalable method for mining data and seamlessly centralising operational functions, the newly updated system was developed to address real-world scenarios in a global economy for the segments Epicor supports. This includes improved performance and simplicity while enabling smoother, more responsive operation. It also uses a new mobile framework that provides “anytime, anywhere” information access to virtually any mobile device.

“Epicor gives us great visibility into our entire organisation through one core system,” adds McCulloch. “The solution has been replicated across all regions companywide, and Epicor ERP has been an essential part of establishing an Allied Mobile company in every African country. As for the upgrade, it’s all easily being done in-house, which lowered our consulting costs and helped us to focus on tasks that contribute to the growth of our business rather than the growth of our IT systems.”



Success Highlights:

Challenges

  • Centralising business and financial operations from multiple African countries

Solution

  • Epicor® ERP

Benefits

  • Evolves to meet new market opportunities, expands the value chain, and drives bottomline efficiencies
  • Tracks the status of more than 2 million products in stock across Africa
  • Virtually eliminates human error from the reporting and tracking system
  • Identifies new buying trends, market opportunities, sales, and profitability issues

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