Lombard Tyres Implements Acumatica - Success Story
Lombard Tyres is one of the biggest independent tyre & other auto fitment-related dealers in South Africa with stores in Gauteng, North-West and Limpopo provinces. Following a successful migration from SAP & Sage 200 Evolution, to Acumatica, the Brilliant Cloud team sat down with Sean Kruger (Managing Director at Lombard Tyres) to discuss his view of how Acumatica has impacted the business.
What would you say makes Lombard Tyres as a business different from its competitors?
It has to be our values. Mr Lombard started the business with a vision to offer a superior customer experience. To achieve this, he has always re-invested the profits back into the company and the people. This led to amazing growth with multiple branches countrywide. Unlike many businesses that battled during COVID, having had reserves and savings accumulated over the years allowed us to weather the storm and come out stronger on the other side.
One thing that we at Lombard Tyres have always maintained is delivering the best customer service, and offering the best product at the best price. Our business is built off the loyalty of customers. As markets become more competitive, price no longer plays the biggest role. It’s that experience that customers enjoy when they interact with your business that gives businesses an edge. Your service, how you treat them, and how they feel about your brand is more important.
As a business with 46 branches countrywide, changing ERP software can’t be an easy decision. What are the boxes that you feel your ERP solution needs to tick?
Our business is divided into three segments. Namely, our retail segment, a wholesale segment, and our commercial segment. Looking for an ERP system is a bit more complicated for us as we require a solution that can cater to all three segments of our business. We need something that can integrate retail, wholesale, and manufacturing. At the same time, the system has to be simple enough for each of the different businesses to use.
In 2012, around the same time, I was getting engaged, I went to buy a ring at a jewellery store and the gentlemen at the counter said, “Sorry sir, the system is slow.” They were using SAP and funny enough, we had also just moved over to SAP. User experience is a crucial factor. Having a system that works well all the time, especially when you’re servicing a client. The ease of use and speed of the system will translate into the kind of service you deliver to your customers.
Stock holding and moving stock is a large portion of our daily operations. It’s important for us to have tight control. We purchase locally and also import, so we need a solution that can handle the landed costs.
Lombard Tyres moved from SAP to Sage Evolution, and now you’re currently using Acumatica. Why did you change systems?
SAP Business One was a great product, however, as our business evolved and grew, the licensing fees started to shoot out the roof. It proved to be quite an expensive solution. We loved the Acumatica pricing model as it caters to our needs now and we are able to scale it as we grow. SAP Business One didn’t have a Point of Sale system which was something we needed. They developed a 3rd party application but we needed a system that had it all in one.
We were on SAP for 6 years and eventually felt that it wasn’t doing everything that we needed it to do. We then moved over to Sage Evolution which didn’t seem to be the best fit for us.
What was the first thing that caught your eye when you switched to Acumatica?
To be honest, we all know that salespeople are salespeople. Everyone promises the best from the solutions they offer. But one of the things that stood out with Acumatica, that SAP and Sage Evolution didn’t have, was the ability to pull a historical stock valuation. It sounds like something quite simple, but this was something we couldn’t do before that we can do quite easily. This has quite an impact on our audits. Most accounting packages cater to a single business sector and a system that caters to all our retail, wholesale, and manufacturing needs is a definite win for us. Acumatica offers quite a range of capabilities, some that we needed and others that we didn’t. It was great that Brilliant Cloud ensured that we could tailor the solution to our needs. If there were any additional requirements that fell outside of the capabilities of the software, their in-house team developed a solution into the program for us.
Changing a business management system is a big task. How has your team adapted to Acumatica?
Nobody likes change, but everyone loves doing things better and more efficiently. Acumatica, being a web-based solution, allows us to simply drag and drop documents. Before, we’d have to print out invoices and statements for creditors reconciliations, but now, as the team books in new stock, they can just drag and drop the invoice there and access it easily at the end of the month.
Our audits have also become pain-free since we can simply share login details with our auditors and they can access the information they need at a click of a button.
Branch accounting is a crucial factor in our business and being able to give users specific access to see what is relevant to them is great. We’ve reduced the need to phone up and down between branches, reducing our admin and boosting our efficiency.
As a business that handles a lot of stock, how has the system simplified the way you track and manage your stock?
One of the challenges we’ve always had was tracking the movement of our stock between our bonded warehouses and the retail shops. There is a lot of stock in transit at any given point. Before moving to Acumatica, it was cumbersome to get an accurate report on the stock in transit. Now, we’re able to put together a stock report that balances back exactly to the general ledger and trial balance. And, also being able to run a live report on our WIP or stock in transit numbers even at a branch level.
We even have a custom report where we can see what stock is available for specific brands and products throughout the whole group which can be filtered by tyre size, or tyre manufacturer.
Reporting is a crucial part of decision-making. In a world where businesses are growing more and more digital, how has Acumatica helped boost your decision-making processes?
One thing I like to do is get into the weeds of things. What I’ve found, which is something I really like, is Acumatica’s native reporting dashboards. We used to use Power BI and CLickView for many of our reports. Now, we are able to write our own reports within the system. The way Acumatica is set up is quite simple and allows us to tailor our reports to support our decision-making requirements. Having all the information we need in a single interface is amazing. We no longer need a secondary program to support our reporting. Our branches are all able to see what their sales and margins look like at any given moment. You are only limited by your own imagination.
Software, is software, is software. How has Brilliant Cloud, as a business partner, been throughout the scoping, project planning, implementation, and go-live process?
The software can be as good as it can be, but if it’s not implemented correctly, the entire process could be a disaster. We have had such a great experience knowing that we are dealing with the right business partner. We were immediately assured by the fact that the team has standardised processes, tick boxes that need to be completed, and ensures that our needs are of utmost priority throughout. We had the comfort of seeing the roadmap of what will be done so every party involved knows where we are going and how we’ll be getting there.
Stef Fourie, the director at Brilliant Cloud was very hands-on and we appreciated that. Even when we had a few teething issues, in the beginning, he personally went into one of our branches to investigate and solve the challenges. Accounting software isn’t something you want to change every 3 years, so we are really glad to have a system that we can truly grow with.