Twenty years of success: How SapphireOne ERP supports long term growth

Bordo Industrial Tools grows from regional business to international concern with SapphireOne…

Back in 1995, a small firm with big ambitions made the decision to move its business management from an accounting package to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Melbourne’s Bordo Industrial Tools, a distributor of industrial cutting tools, chose SapphireOne, a cross-platform solution which helped it solve the immediate problem of inventory management. Over two decades later, the company has grown into a multi-million dollar concern with operations in Australia and Europe – and it still relies on SapphireOne for accurate management, insights and control.

Positioning for growth

Now known as Bordo International, the company’s Manager of Finance and Information Technology James Brown recalls the decision to move to something more suitable for a substantial business. “One of the main problems we had back then was the absence of good inventory management. We looked around and settled on SapphireOne.”

The world and everything in it is considerably different in 2015; while many core ERP modules don’t require fundamental change, technology has made available an enormous range of new capabilities. Brown says across the timeframe since first implementing SapphireOne, the vendor has consistently kept abreast of developments to make sure Bordo could benefit from them.

“Our ERP solution has served a fundamental role in supporting and enabling the growth of our business. With the continuous introduction of new technology, we’ve seen SapphireOne work with us to take advantage of new developments to benefit our organisation,” he confirms. “The ERP system is the backbone of the company; in many instances, business is limited by what the IT systems can do. SapphireOne has addressed that and provided us with a lot of efficiencies which have equipped the business to scale.”

That includes the ability to expand into Europe, with multi-currency and multi-company support as well as the cross-platform capability which SapphireOne has always offered. “Other important developments include integration of payroll, asset management and customer relationship management. When we got started, these functions were outside of ERP – now they are integral.”

Mobility in the warehouse and on the road

Brown draws particular attention to direct integration with freight systems (which provides for accurate inventory and delivery management across a complex supply chain), the ability to embrace mobility, and document management which collects and collates information for ease of reference.

Today, he says, the company uses iPads for picking, packing and checking off orders, with direct integration into SapphireOne. “The integration of iPads and barcode scanners has made a huge difference to all areas of our business—from warehouse operations, to sales reps who are able to place orders quickly and receive instant sales and customer information,” Brown relates.

The iPad software used by Bordo doesn’t just allow simple data entry and reading. It’s also equipped with smarts that help warehouse workers get their work done as fast as possible. For example, if an operator needs to collect items from various locations within the warehouse, SapphireOne delivers the fastest pick-path through the warehouse to the operator by arranging the items that need to be collected by best picking efficiency.

On the road, sales teams are equipped with iPhones which directly integrate with SapphireOne. This allows access to sales information, while orders are entered on the spot, replacing a previous paper-based process. Eliminating rekeying of information and bringing immediacy to this process has substantially improved efficiency and accuracy, says Brown.
The direct relationship which Bordo enjoys with its ERP vendor also means the ability to rapidly benefit from new developments – and, in many instances, new developments are simply requested; for example, the browser app on the iPads and iPhones is customised to Bordo’s specific needs and covers everything from the integration of barcode scanners through to how the software looks.

Document management and back office

The introduction of Document Management into SapphireOne delivered a substantial efficiency and convenience boost, continues Brown. “Document Management allows you to attach scanned or emailed receipts or invoices, to any transaction. Having all the source documents right there on screen is a huge time-saver. No more searching through filing cabinets or digging through the archives,” he explains.

Staying in the back office, SapphireOne automatically handles bank reconciliations using files downloaded from Bordo’s online banking. This eliminates the tedium of ticking off hundreds of transactions on the bank statement each month.

Further efficiency improvements come from integration with Bordo’s logistics providers, which, to a large extent, automates a previously cumbersome paper-driven process. “SapphireOne works with the freight companies we use – Toll, Australian Air Express, Hunter Express, and others – printing consignment notes and electronically transmitting manifests,” says Brown.

This accelerates dispatch and eliminates re-keying of information into each freight company’s system. The consignment note number is saved with the customer’s invoice, allowing the customer service team to quickly track and trace the parcel.

Brown adds that SapphireOne makes information easily available for a wide range of tasks, while also providing the ability to automatically load data from other sources. Again, he points out that this reduces ‘finger work’, eliminating mistakes and driving efficiency.

In summary, Brown says over the remarkably long term with which Bordo has worked with SapphireOne, it has consistently benefited from a stable, reliable and secure platform which meets business requirements. “SapphireOne has continued to evolve and develop as have we. Over time, we have obviously checked the market to make sure it is still right for us – and, for good reason, it’s still here,” he concludes.