Garrard, the exclusive jeweller, has become one of the UK’s first organisations to implement SAP ERP version 6.
“We are a big brand, with big expansion plans and we needed a world class solution,” said Harry Patel, finance director of Garrard, who also has responsibility for IT.
Garrard, which was founded in 1735, was spun out of A&G UK, which also owned luxury good maker Asprey, last March.
The former parent company provided IT services for six months after the demerger, but the jeweller had to build an IT infrastructure from scratch.
The former parent company had used SAP, which gave the German software giant an advantage, but Patel said, “We considered SAP, Coda and Microsoft Great Plains." Garrard chose SAP because Patel felt none of the other systems offered the functionality he required and could be installed in the right timescale.
The jeweller initially went live with just 15 users, and has added another 15 users following an acquisition.
Explaining the decision to deploy what has traditionally been regarded as an ERP system aimed at larger companies, Patel said, “We have all the complications of a large company, but on a smaller scale.
Garrard used systems integrator Morse to build its retail, franchising and wholesale business models into SAP’s merchandising module and get the systems up and running in just six weeks. Morse also provided networking and hosting to the jeweller.
Patel dismissed suggestions that SAP solutions were expensive to install and run. “People talk about SAP as being high maintenance. It is not, not the way we have done it,” he said, describing the implementation as 99.99% standard.
Picking up on themes from the Glyn Lowth, chair of the SAP user group and Steve Rogers, managing director of SAP UK, Patel said Morse was able to provide him with considerably cheaper SAP licences than the software company itself.
He was also cautious about SAP's plans to move into the software-as-a-service market. “It is interesting to see SAP starting to do what their partners are doing,” said Patel.
The Garrard FD said would want to see real evidence of how SAP delivers services for customers, before considering using them as a SaaS provider. The company had not been flexible or supportive enough to the former parent company A&G UK, he said.
While delighted with his SAP implementation and its performance, Patel was also critical of some of the reporting tools. “Some standard SAP reports are not user friendly,” he said.
Whatever issues Patel has with SAP, he is looking forward to rolling out new functionality. The next project is to deliver SAP functionality to field workers’ mobile devices and SAP ERP 6 will be at the heart of Garrard’s global expansion.