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Skins compression garments have room to grow with SAP

Supplier: Evolution Future Solutions
11 February, 2011

With global expansion on the cards and its financial system bulging at the seams, specialised garment manufacturer turns to SAP Business One to stitch up its back end and open new channels.

Like many homegrown success stories, Skins Compression Garments had started small, with information systems to match. Its range of products includes specially designed gradient compression garments that use the company’s BioAcceleration Technology to manage circulation, minimise muscle fatigue and reduce recovery time after intense exercise.

The company’s success begat a larger product range, with six primary product lines tailor-made for women, general sport, snow, travel, youth and outdoor activities. Over time, the company found itself experiencing rapid sales growth, a rapidly expanding product inventory and the administrative burden of taking the business overseas.

Although Skins’ business had grown up, its information systems had not. The company’s accounting software, which had been expanded over time to provide a form of inventory tracking as well as financial functions, had grown to encompass a 680MB database and frequently took up to 15 minutes to churn out simple management reports.

“With the massive growth path the company was on, particularly with distribution virtually global and expansion with subsidiary companies to the US and UK, we were facing a situation where the previous solution was reaching its absolute maximum capabilities," said Ron McKellar, Finance Director, Skins.

"We didn’t have the capacity to do many critical queries, and had to use add-on products to get the information we required out of the system. It was a nightmare to get meaningful reports out. And, in terms of the number of SKUs (stock keeping units) we carried, the volume of transactions, and the need to integrate with online sales, there were a range of reasons the package had reached the end of its useful life."

Planning the Move

Because the previous platform’s imminent demise was clear early on, Skins had enough time to carefully plan its new application platform before the system ran out of steam completely.

Evaluation of a number of alternative accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems led Skins to SAP Business One. Positive feedback from existing users, as well as SAP’s established reputation and global support footprint, eventually led Skins to select the platform as the basis for its new business application environment. After speaking with various integrators, Skins selected SAP Evolution Software Services as its implementation partner.

One requirement for Skins’ new system was the creation of a more efficient way of handling its extensive inventory. This was necessary because while Skins only had six main product lines - variations in style, colour and size mean the company is handling more than 3000 individual SKUs. Keeping track of these SKUs was a laborious task, and the sheer number of variations made reporting complex and time-consuming.

Skins and Evolution eventually identified a suitable option in the form of CitiXsys Technologies, an Evolution partner that was in the process of developing a custom 'inventory matrix' application for SAP Business One. Skins signed on as an early implementer of the tool, which would allow the company to manage its various inventory lines by category instead of by individual SKU number – significantly improving its ability to track sales, forecasting and other operational information.

Planning the move proved to be a complex process, since Skins was fundamentally changing both its core systems and many of its processes as well. Gavin Jones, Financial Advisor, Progue worked with Skins through six months of planning, designing, refining and redesigning that final, clear action plan to make the shift to SAP Business One.

By the time the go-live date came around, the project team had identified a clear process for determining cutover figures for debtor, creditor, orders, general ledger and other accounts. Through teamwork, careful planning and painstaking execution, the migration of data into SAP Business One went smoothly over the first weekend of the new financial year.

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