As one of Africa’s leading distributors of steel and related solutions, BSI Steel is a primary example of South African industry at its best.
Publicly traded on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, this unique group of companies has strong ties to leading markets on the continent and has been flourishing since its inception in 1985.
Led by a vision to become the foremost supplier of raw steel and steel goods in Sub-Saharan Africa, BSI Steel is active in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Ghana, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya.
Managing the supply and distribution of steel products in several African countries is a challenging task for any operational department. With several warehousing locations and countless unique client needs, BSI Steel’s reputation for maintaining an efficient delivery schedule is highly dependent on capable, well-situated business tools.
Although BSI Steel had implemented Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 and several other proprietary solutions to support group stock management in 2010, difficulties relating to inventory costing customization had begun to emerge as product complexity increased.
While Dynamics AX 2009 had proven effective in the past, additional third party tools had begun to impact BSI Steel’s ability to effectively manage inventory in several locations, streamline the supply chain process and account for warehousing capacity.
To rectify the situation, the group began searching for a qualified and experienced Dynamics AX partner to remove unnecessary customizations from the production environment and restructure its stock management system.
In January 2011, BSI Steel made contact with Mazik Global – a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and highly capable Dynamics AX specialist, to offer assistance in the following areas:
- Development of a new inventory system
- Restructuring BSI Steel’s existing warehousing solution
- Removal of third party inventory solutions from the production environment
- Rectification of BSI Steel customisations within the supply chain environment
- Development of miscellaneous customisations within purchasing and inventory
Following a thorough analysis that included testing proposed customisation at the application level to ensure operational efficiency, Mazik Global embarked on a two-month implementation process that saw BSI Steel transfer daily activity to the new system in mid April 2011.
Combining a strong competency for development within the Dynamics AX environment and best practice application, Mazik Global rectified deviations within BSI Steel’s production environment whilst allowing for vital customisable product categories. Furthermore, the costing solution associated with the group’s stock management infrastructure was simplified considerably, enabling greater ease of use, streamlined configuration and maintenance.
Finally, Mazik Global reformed BSI Steel’s warehouse structure by eliminating virtual warehouses that had traditionally clogged up the system. This has enabled the group’s staff to make firmer commitments to customers when fulfilling orders that would not have been possible previously.
According to Andrew Wood, BSI Steel Group IT Manager, the partnership with Mazik Global was vital to realising success in the AX environment.
“It was great working with Mazik on this project. We now feel that we are getting some value out of AX. The issues are finally being dealt with”.
“Overall, we found Mazik different from other software vendors in that they were easy to communicate with and truly took the time to understand our challenges. Mazik saved our failed implementation”.
Thus far, BSI Steel’s partnership with Mazik Global within its Dynamix AX environment has yielded several benefits:
Simplified inventory costing – No more inventory ledger adjustments
BSI Steel relies heavily on a readily available physical costing of the items it distributes. With this in mind, the group required a stock management system that would carry this cost forward into the financial department and charge the difference to an expense account.
During implementation, Mazik Global ensured that these requirements were included in accordance with international accounting standards.
Reduced Warehouse Count
With multiple business units operating beneath the BSI Steel banner, warehouse management and stock allocation can often be a demanding administrative undertaking. To accomplish this, BSI Steel had employed a combination of virtual sites and physical warehouses to ensure that inventory remains available to these respective divisions.
As business demand expanded, so did complexity. By late 2010 the system had become unmanageable – resulting in incorrect stock allocation and unnecessary confusion.
Mazik Global proposed a new solution that ultimately eliminated the use of virtual warehouses and streamlined the process by means of Microsoft Dynamic AX.
Increased system performance
Well written, documented code considering best practice, design standards, coding patterns and guidelines led to a more secure and better optimized platform that is now affordable and simple to maintain and upgrade.