20th April 2020 | 4 min read

Sage X3 offers long-term solution for leading soap business

Stephenson Group is a 5th generation family-owned business making predominantly personal care products and soaps. We spoke to Chief Operating Officer Rob Carr and Project Manager Lucy Bilbrough about migrating to a new system and what it means for their business.

Stephenson Group develops and supplies products for large blue chip brands to small and medium sized craft businesses. Based in Leeds but operating globally, Stephenson Group understands the need to continually innovate to keep ahead of the curve.

  • Moving on and moving up

It was clear to Rob that they needed to move on from the aging Sage Line 500 solution toward a scalable, highly functional platform that can support them into the future. “We didn't want to be left with an unsupported system, however until recently we didn’t have the skill set within the business to change to a new one.”

Keen to make the right choice they embarked on their research, looking at six potential systems over a few months. The criteria was clear, it needed to simplify their processes, provide rigorous reporting and be adaptable to changes.

Following a selection process, the team narrowed their search down to three different solutions, looking for something that would integrate well to their other applications, taking a ‘best of breed’ to their technology strategy.

  • A lasting relationship with Datel

After looking at the pros and cons of various different systems, the team decided on Sage X3. As Lucy adds “we settled on Sage X3 because it could integrate easily and provide the finance modules we needed. It ticked the most boxes.”

Stephenson Group has worked with Datel since 2004 as their Sage Line 500 partner and so turned to the Datel team to implement the new ERP platform. They set out with ambitious plans, pushing to get the system live in six months. To deliver the project successfully, Lucy enrolled a member from each department to form an implementation team. After some tough challenges - not least to deliver four system integrations within the first phase, Sage X3 is live and is being used by the business since August 2019.

On the experience of implementing the solution, Lucy comments, “Having a top down focus within the business and a team from across the departments enabled us to stay focused and not let the project slip. We worked closely with the Datel team to actually deliver the solution in seven months, just one month over our initial target.”

Now the system has been in place for a while it's clear to Rob and his team that it has made a real difference to the organisation.

“It’s driving the business changes that we wanted it to. Already we’re experiencing benefits around reporting and access to data and we’re only really just scratching the surface of what Sage X3 is capable of.”
  • Looking to the future

The future is now full of possibilities and Lucy is open to new technologies as they come in. For instance the team is discussing with Datel how drones could carry out stock checks in their warehouses.

“We have a true partnership with Datel. We’ve challenged each other but the relationship is now stronger. Now we have a great solution that will last for some time.”