What’s really new about Sage ERP X3 version 7?

At its annual global convention in Lisbon last week, business software innovator Sage announced the overhaul of its popular mid-market ERP solution, Sage ERP X3, to produce the next generation of enterprise resource planning – Sage ERP X3 version 7.

The natural question many have been asking since is: what’s really new in version 7? What does this latest version of the software have that its predecessors didn’t?

Firstly, it’s been said that it will feature a completely new web interface based on HTML5 and will offer mobile access, web apps, MS Office integration and a powerful search functionality.

Also on the side of design, version 7 will feature a dashboard with insights and intelligence on demand.

The major highlights of X3 v7 are:

  • Extended traceability: quote to cash, order to payment.
  • Sales document personalisation (delivery & returns)
  • Flexible definition of sales kits (options and variants)
  • Additional purchasing costs: import tracking
  • Flexible settings per legislation
  • Increased control over inter-company transactions
  • Flexible management of warehouse locations
  • Enhanced automation (recurring invoices)

For detailed specifications on version 7, click here.

Businesses with better data grow 35% faster year-on-year…

Recent research undertaken by IDG Research on midsized companies in a number of countries shows that businesses with accurate and actionable data consistently outperform enterprises without sufficient or usable business intelligence. This is a result of the better decision-making ability that intelligence gives decision-makers, and the effect that these more informed decisions on business outcomes. Click on the infographic above to see the findings of the research.

Are you ready for a business boom?

E-commerce is fast becoming a standard requirement for retailers worldwide as they bustle to harness markets that are increasingly online. From electronic goods to clothing and gifts, it’s now possible to order just about anything online. In the US, the trend has coupled with a growing manufacturing market to result in an unprecedented expansion of the logistics sector. To get a sense of the actual figures involved, one needs only take a look at Fortune’s recent report that states that domestic logistics delivers roughly 48 million tonnes of freight worth nearly $48 billion on a daily basis and employs roughly 6 million people. This accounts for approximately 8.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product and comes up to a value of $1.3 trillion.

The rise of manufacturing in Africa

A quiet boom in manufacturing is also taking place in Africa. While farming and services are still dominant, backed by the export of commodities, new industries are now emerging in many African countries. Manufacturing’s share of GDP in sub-Saharan Africa has held steady at 10-14% in recent years. Industrial output in what is now the world’s fastest-growing continent is expanding as quickly as the rest of the economy. The evidence, big and small, is everywhere.

As South Africa’s National Infrastructure Plan enters the delivery phase of transport and roads infrastructure throughout the country, the hope is that this will stimulate the economy with manufacturing and logistics as direct beneficiaries. Already, Seemhale Telecoms of South Africa is planning to make cheap mobile phones for the African market. Angola says it is to build its own arms industry, with help from Brazil. Craftsmen across the continent are also making inroads in fashion.

The growing need for Business Intelligence

Manufacturing on the whole is one of the world’s largest industries and the economic demand for manufacturing is on a steady rise, especially in Africa. And while it may be easy to keep an eye on a manufacturing operation when it is still small or medium-sized, what happens when a boom in the industry forces growth of double or triple your capacity?

Across several different sectors, supply chain enterprises are beginning to implement the latest and most advanced technologies in order to keep pace with rising consumer demand. There are business intelligence tools that are robust solutions for manufacturers looking to increase output and maximise productivity in the hope of creating a better customer experience overall.

In both an e-commerce or a normal setting, consumers are generally unaware of what takes place between the point of purchase and the point of delivery at their doorsteps. Most consumers actually imagine supply chain warehouses as men driving forklifts – an image that is quickly becoming a thing of the past as newer technologies begin to infiltrate the market.

Retailers are now promising quicker delivery times in response to market demands, which has resulted in manufacturers and supply chain companies needing to keep pace.

Modern-day enterprise resource planning software enables these businesses to keep track of increased order volumes to improve output so that consumers can open their packages sooner than expected. A study of the US market shows that rises in the use of e-commerce and increases in manufacturing are followed by a high demand for jobs. In that market, logistics businesses will be looking to fill about 1.4 million jobs by 2018, which translates to roughly 270,000 jobs per year. This growing need for personnel within an industry most likely leads to an increased desire by supply chain managers to invest in robust ERP systems that enable enterprises to increase both visibility and output on a regular basis.

The Changing Face of Supply Chain Management

As production, processing, distribution, retail and online technologies continue to advance aggressively and redefine the very meaning of operational efficiency, we are constantly seeing the very nature and structure of Supply Chain Management (SCM) as an operational function also having to change in order to place enterprises in a good stead competitively. Looking around, one can see that SCM actually seems to be gaining increasing interest as a competitive tool to gain market share, as indicated by spending and activity in the area.

Supply chain excellence is becoming more widely accepted as an element of overall business strategy.

In actual fact, the technology and process upgrades that can be seen taking place at forward-thinking companies shows that supply chain excellence is becoming more widely accepted as an element of overall business strategy and that increasing value to customers is not just management’s, but everyone’s business.
The nature of the present day business environment and the changing expectations of clients have forced many CIOs to take a deeper look at how they view and manage their supply chains, with an emphasis being placed on specific areas and drivers of change.

Six Key Trends Driving Change

According to research done in food and beverage, consumer products, high tech and industrial manufacturing companies, there are six key trends causing significant impact and change to supply chain design and performance:
1.    Demand planning
2.    Globalisation
3.    Increased competition and price pressures
4.    Outsourcing
5.    Shortened and more complex product life cycles
6.    Closer integration and collaboration with suppliers

2 Questions You Should Ask Yourself:

  • Does leadership at your organisation view your supply chain as a strategic competitive advantage?                                                                If not, are you considering outsourcing your supply chain management?
  • Are the capacity strengths of your supply chain commonly known and understood by leadership of the company?                                     If so, how do they impact growth, profitability and customer service?

For more information on how Mucheki Consulting can help make your Supply Chain Management more efficient and competitive, contact us.

Sage ERP breaks into East African mining sector

Kenyan mineral exploration company Mayfox Mining recently announced its adoption of Sage ERP X3 to become the first East African mining company to adopt Sage’s dedicated resource planning solution. The timing of the move to implement the software couldn’t have been better timed as the company prepares to list on the Nairobi Stock Exchange’s ‘Growth Enterprise Market Segment’ (GEMS) by the end of the year.

“We are excited to have clinched this important deal with our first mining customer in East Africa,” said Keith Fenner, senior vice president sales for Sage ERP X3 AAMEA (Africa, Australia, the Middle East and Asia).

In a statement, Sage said: “The solution demonstrates Mayfox’s commitment to accountability and tight cost control to future shareholders and investors. It will also provide management with critical real-time information for fast and responsive decision-making,” says the Sage statement.

What to look out for at the 2014 Sage ERP X3 Global Convention

Sage ERP X3 recently announced its annual global convention to be held in Portugal from the 12-15th May 2014 at the Conrinthia Hotel in Lisbon. The global event attracts droves of people from the worldwide Sage network every year and is this year expected to draw well over 700 attendants.

The conference is designed to support business development and knowledge sharing, and to give customers, prospects and business partners the opportunity to learn and share through keynote speeches, workshops and breakout sessions. But what can delegates specifically expect from this year’s event?

According to Sage ERP X3 CEO, Christophe Letellier, “The 2014 conference is especially exciting as I will be making a major announcement about the next generation of Sage ERP X3…which will be a key ‘moment in time’ for Sage. We would like to invite all our customers, prospects and business partners from around the world to join us in Lisbon to be the first to find out about this exciting news and be part of the action.”

Letellier explains that Sage believes in providing users with solutions that put them in control of their business. “If your people can access and share the information they need easily and effectively, they can start to dramatically impact the company’s ability to win new customers and grow a profitable business,” he says. Today’s mid-market business is faced with two major challenges in the current, competitive market: growing sales and eliminating inefficiencies.

The Sage ERP X3 Global Convention allows current and prospective clients the opportunity to share their challenges and expectations from the ERP for future development consideration. This year’s event will also feature a full exhibition area that will provide delegates with an ideal platform for face-to-face international networking.

For more information on the conference, you may visit http://convention.sageerpx3.com

"Be disruptive or be disrupted"

The recent Sage Insights 2014 conference held at the Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg and attended by more than 250 Sage ERP Africa business partners – including numerous partners from Southern, East, West Africa and the Middle East, has injected new inspiration to Sage partners across Africa.

“The key to being a successful business player in the ERP sector is realising the existence of major disruptive trends and ensuring solutions adapt accordingly. Whether you are a business owner, software developer, or a sales person, disruptive technologies, such as cloud, mobile and connected services are a reality and applying its principles will make you one step ahead of the competition. You need to find a way to be disruptive or you will be disrupted.” This was the opening address given by Jeremy Waterman, Managing Director of Sage ERP Africa and the Middle East.

Sage becomes the brand leader

Waterman noted that 2013 had been a very busy year during which Sage had rebranded from Softline and established itself as the brand leader in the supply of effective business solutions to small and medium size businesses throughout the African continent. Their presence in East Africa is on the increase and they have established a significant foothold in West Africa with the opening of a Sage office in Lagos, Nigeria. Further to this, Sage ERP Africa has also assumed the management of the Middle East region during 2013.

The arrival of new disruptions

Himanshu Palsule, Chief Technology Officer at Sage North America, focused in his keynote address on the impact of mobility and cloud as disruptive forces to the Sage 300 ERP product and highlighted the exciting new roadmap that customers can expect. “Our markets are transforming, the web and social media has disrupted the value chain and we need to react responsibly to the disruption by investing in purposeful innovation. We need to give customers flexibility and choice and therefore our roadmap for the future will include a total reimagining of the product, focusing not only on mobility and cloud but also modernising the user interface for an improved customer experience. Sage ERP 300 has been chosen as one of four small to medium business (SMB) products worldwide that Sage is investing in to effectively position it as a competitive force in the cloud.”

In the keynote delivered by Amanda Jobbins, Chief Marketing Officer for Sage, highlights of Sage’s Global Brand strategy, were shared. “At Sage we are on a new and exciting journey with the development of our brand in the minds of customers. We want to ensure consistency in our visual identity and ensure that customers recognise us a global leader and a partner that will give them the freedom and confidence to succeed.

Keynotes were also delivered by Christophe Vanackere, Director of international operations at Sage ERP X3, on the seven exciting new strategies for Sage ERP X3 V7 to be released June 2014 and Tom Nolan, Head of Sage CRM, focused on the road ahead for Sage CRM and the integration with Sage 300 ERP as well as Sage ERP X3.

A strategic sales summary was delivered by Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President for Sales at Sage ERP Africa and Middle East. “Our excellent growth figures show that as a company we are disruptive and contribute in building the economy in Africa by being innovation partners for businesses. In going forward and ensuring that we keep a customer for life, it will be important to accelerate disruption by ensuring the development of relevant and modern solutions.”

Waterman concluded by saying, “Sage Insights 2014 was the most exciting conference in many years because it focussed on what was actually being delivered now. The conference in 2013 defined the way forward for our three core products – Sage 300 ERP, Sage ERP X3 and Sage CRM in terms of meeting the challenges of cloud and mobility. This year it was all about the actual execution of these strategies. There are particularly exciting times lying ahead for us, our business partners and Industry Solution Vendors (ISV’s) as we work together to deliver disruptive solutions to the customer. The conference was an excellent opportunity for us to network, share information and very importantly, have some fun.”