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Technology

Firms reap big from management information systems

Bidco CEO Vimal Shah (left) with Michael Kaniu, head of ecosystems and channels at SAP Eastern Africa. The oil firm has implemented the software, enabling it increase efficiency in service and product delivery. Photo/DIANA NGILA
Bidco CEO Vimal Shah (left) with Michael Kaniu, head of ecosystems and channels at SAP Eastern Africa. The oil firm has implemented the software, enabling it increase efficiency in service and product delivery. Photo/DIANA NGILA 

Big and small enterprises are turning to management information systems to improve their productivity and meet market demands.

The trend shows that from manufacturing firms to media houses and enterprises dealing in furniture, businesses are now adopting management information system from vendors such as SAP, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.

Bidco, Nation Media Group, Kenafrica and Antarc are just some of the firms that have deployed the systems, which they say have enabled them have better financial control, production planning, plant maintenance, sales and distribution, quality, material payroll management and helped them gain business intelligence foresight.

This has also allowed top management to focus on the core area of the business enabling expansion.

Vimal Shah, Bidco CEO, says the oil refineries uses SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution to drive its mission-critical business operations and has created consistent and transparent availability of information across the organisation for on-line reporting at various levels.

“Definitely we have seen improved bottom lines — we have become a lean organisation, technologically savvy, customer satisfaction ratio has improved exponentially, supply chain management has become more efficient, human resources management has become much easier to handle with zero errors,” Mr Shah said.

The oil manufacturer said the automation has also enabled it to be online in real time and to reduce waste from the business processes, making it more efficient.

The firm based in Kenya is a major player in the East and Central African manufacturing industry, with more than 30 brands — including Super Brands Elianto and Kimbo — available in 16 African countries.

Bidco employs more than 2,100 people.

“Bidco is a good example and role model of local enterprise obtaining value by implementing SAP in 90 days,” said Michael Kaniu, head ecosystems and channels at SAP East Africa.

“They were the first and the fastest to accomplish this momentous task. They have proved beyond doubt that African companies have come of age and that it is possible for African companies to walk shoulder to shoulder with the best of enterprises across the world and be world class,” he said.

The adoption of such a management information system has also enabled, Antarc, a firm that deals in furniture, to double its turnover and grow five fold.

“Since the implementation of SAP B1, Antarc has managed to grow five fold, 50 per cent turnover growth annually and managed to introduce four different product lines and also open two fully fledged branches,” Neha Malde, Antarc finance manager said.

“Cash flow analysis and the predictions have assisted us to improve our cash management taking our overdraft situation down by 30 per cent.”

Ms Malde said the system has assisted the firm to have better inventory and internal management and control systems, allowing top management to focus on the core area of the business thus enabling expansion.

“The better management and control systems lead to a shorter time in external audits hence giving us credibility and better integrity. It used to take our external auditors one month to complete audits. After SAP B1 it has reduced to two days only,” she added.

Both Bidco and Antarc have also incorporated new dashboard reporting that they say will give top management a quicker and clearer image of the daily happenings at a glance as opposed to reading and analysing detailed numeric reports, which were causing delays in decision making.

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