IT Distribution Company Speeds Up Order Processing By 300 Percent


“…With Microsoft Dynamics NAV, we have significantly shortened our order processing processes from pick list generation to invoicing. We now process 60 sales orders per day, up from the previous 20 – a significant three-fold improvement.”
-- Mr Vishal Attal, Director, Kaira Technologies Pte Ltd

Situation
Established since 2004, Kaira Technologies Pte Ltd (Kaira) is a regional distributor of computer components, peripherals, accessories and networking products. Besides a breadth of product offerings made up of premium brands, Kaira also value-adds to its customers through in-depth product knowledge and responsive customer service. Headquartered in Singapore, Kaira employs 110 staff in its distribution offices spanning Malaysia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

To compete effectively in the high-volume, low-margin IT distribution market, Kaira is constantly flattening its channel and standardising its business processes to support a broadening customer base and fulfil more invoices in the shortest time possible. As the business grew across the region and became more complex in its product mix and customer breadth, Kaira saw that its existing system was inhibiting its future growth. Besides difficulties in tracking sales and purchase orders with the required efficiency, it was increasingly tedious to track product serial numbers effectively for accurate inventory control and cost management. Unable to scale with the increased number of users, the system limited management visibility across its overseas subsidiaries. Kaira also needed a holistic view to better manage its Return Merchandise Authorisation (RMA) process − a key component of its after-sales service.

Kaira wanted an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to support its growth strategy. “When looking at technology investments, we are always looking for solutions that can support our growth. We look at where we want to go two to three years down the road and look for the technology that will accelerate our journey there,” said Mr Vishal Attal, Director, Kaira Technologies Pte Ltd.

Solution
After an extensive evaluation, Kaira decided to implement Microsoft Dynamics NAV. “Microsoft Dynamics gives us the scalability to sustain continued growth. Its ability to run on a thin client model for remote regional site integration on a single platform extends our management reach and visibility across our regional subsidiaries. Being extremely flexible, it can be easily customised to meet our unique needs,” said Mr Vishal.

Kaira chose Winspire Solutions Pte Ltd (Winspire), a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, to ensure a seamless implementation. “We are pleased with the Winspire team’s domain knowledge, which ensures that best practices were employed during the implementation. Their responsiveness is also commendable,” explained Mr Vishal.

With Winspire’s help, Kaira implemented Microsoft Dynamics NAV and also the Winspire Distribution Vertical Solution, which provided add-ons to enhance item scanning in Kaira’s warehouses. These include: creating a common pick list containing items from multiple pick lists; enabling the scanning of inventory items regardless of its sequence in the pick list; enabling item identification by different EAN, UPC or product codes, and informing users about items requiring special attention via audio form instead of pop-up screens for better convenience during scanning. Other customisations were made to include French interface for Mauritius, streamline RMA management and enhance trade financing management processes. The system went live in January 2011.


Benefits
The biggest benefit Kaira gained with Microsoft Dynamics, is the increased management visibility across its subsidiaries. Other benefits include streamlining inventory management which successfully speeds up order processing by 300 percent and enhancing RMA management which shaved 80 percent off service processing time.

Streamlined Inventory Management Speeds Up Order Processing by 300 Percent
With an inventory of approximately 4,000 SKUs worth more than S$5 million, effective inventory management is critical to Kaira. By integrating Microsoft Dynamics NAV with a barcoding system, Kaira’s warehouse staff can now scan multiple orders at the same time. “In our business, it all boils down to the number of orders you can handle daily. With Microsoft Dynamics NAV, we have significantly shortened order processing processes from pick list generation to invoicing. We now process 60 sales orders per day, up from the previous 20 – a significant three-fold improvement,” said Mr Vishal.

To Mr Vishal, it is a boon to have its warehouse staff in remote offices such as South Africa, use Microsoft Dynamics NAV to process its orders. He explained, “Technology investment is only beneficial when your users are willing to use them in their daily work. In countries like South Africa, there is usually some locally-developed software that is the de facto standard used by most businesses. We are pleased that our staff have found Microsoft Dynamics user-friendly and easy to use.”

Enhanced Order Processing Efficiencies with Rich Features
The implementation of exception and workflow management, where only sales orders with exceptions were reviewed, while the rest flowed through to the warehouse, also helped to enhance order processing. This empowered Kaira to react faster to changing market conditions and go-to-market much quicker.

Enhanced RMA Management Cuts Turnaround Time by 80 Percent
According to Mr Vishal, RMAs can be sizeable in the IT distribution business, amounting up to two percent of one’s overall revenue. Effective RMA management is important to ensure that one’s inventory is not ‘sacrificed’ to replace faulty stocks. Previously, whenever a customer sent in a product for servicing, it was tedious trying to verify the item’s serial number, warranty system and cost against the system. With no integrated system, the cost of servicing was manually tracked.

Using Microsoft Dynamics NAV, once the returned product is scanned, all its related information is registered immediately. Depending on the type of service required, the servicing cost is also accurately captured. “With Microsoft Dynamics NAV, we have cut the turnaround time for each service request by 80 percent from ten to two minutes. This has enhanced our customer service levels – a key competitive advantage in our business. A happy customer is one that will stay with us and even provide word-of-mouth marketing that will enhance our credibility in the marketplace,” said Mr Vishal.

More importantly, effective RMA management has enabled Kaira to capture historical information of the rate of return by brands, down to specific product models. “Effective RMA management allows us to feedback to our suppliers on their product quality. It also enhances our negotiation power for a win-win arrangement, as some suppliers provide a straight RMA rebate, which may not be sufficient to cover their actual RMA. Without proper management, we may potentially have to make up for any shortfall from our stock,” explained Mr Vishal.

Extended Management Visibility Across Geographical Boundaries
To Mr Vishal, the biggest benefit gained is the enhanced management visibility across its subsidiaries. He shared, “Even when travelling in a remote country with slow bandwidth, I can now easily monitor our business performance and switch quickly between our different subsidiaries with a few key strokes. Besides speeding up decision-making, decisions are now made based on actual business data. There is no guesswork involved − everything is based on scientific data.”

Looking Ahead
To Mr Vishal, Microsoft Dynamics NAV’s seamless multi-site support and capability to speed up transactions are reasons why he would recommend it to other businesses. He added, “The roadmap is key − as we cannot afford to reinvent the wheel every three to five years. With Microsoft Dynamics NAV, we are freed to focus on our business, knowing that it will scale as we grow. Being powerful and extremely flexible, we can easily customise new functionalities in the future.”

For more information on Microsoft Dynamics, visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/default.aspx or email: mbsasia@microsoft.com .

For more information about Winspire Solutions Pte Ltd call +65 6443 2117 or visit http://www.winspiresolutions.com/ .

For more information about Kaira Technologies Pte Ltd call +65 6494 4887 or visit http://www.kairaglobal.com .

All rights reserved. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published June 2012.

Customer Size: Medium Organization
Industry: Wholesale Distribution
Country or Region: Singapore
Solutions:
Organization Profile: Setup in 2004, Kaira Technologies Pte Ltd is a regional distributor of computer components, peripherals, accessories and networking products. Headquartered in Singapore, Kaira employs 110 staff across its offices in Malaysia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
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