7th August 2020

Time for change

A user-friendly solution for business insight

We spoke to Bill Jackson, Finance Manager for Hydrokem Aerosols about the process of selecting a new ERP system and moving from a 25-year old system to Sage 200.

Hydrokem Aerosols specialises in the manufacture of aerosol and bag on valve products. In February 2018 it was bought by Clinimed (Holdings) Ltd, a privately owned company specialising mainly in the healthcare sector.

  • Modernising for the future 

The change in ownership and management has had a significant impact on operations, reporting and the business culture for Hydrokem Aerosols. Their old data processing system was outdated with limited functions, which meant that the company couldn’t optimise its performance and report efficiently on results.

“The old system is 25 years old and green screen, menu-driven, without mouse control. There’s no intuition behind it so unless you know where something is, there’s no way you can look at the screen and work out where you need to go.”

Whilst the system had been customised in parts by Hydrokem Aerosols, there were a lot of things it wasn’t able to do and it was not easy to get support as the technology was so old.

When Clinimed (Holdings) Ltd took over the management of operations at Hydrokem, they started asking for sales analysis information that the team were unable to provide. The system just didn’t have the capacity to deliver modern reporting functionality.

  • Making change

It was clear the old system was working to its absolute maximum capacity and that this put the company at a disadvantage. They needed to improve operations efficiency and reporting, so Hydrokem decided to look for a new ERP system that was more user-friendly and would provide reports and information they needed.

A major consideration was how to manage the change and introduction of a new system. Buy-in at Hydrokem has been high as it turned out all of the team wanted something better.

Hydrokem Aerosols put a steering group in place comprising the people who use the system most. The group selected Sage 200 as their preferred choice of ERP system, and then set out to find a partner to deliver and support the solution. It was an important decision for them and they felt that Datel inspired confidence and would be the long term partnership required.

  • Improving business performance

Sage 200 and the partnership with Datel will not only provide Hydrokem Aerosols with greater insight management, but also manufacturing efficiencies and subsequently improve business performance. Once the new system is in place, business efficiency will be far greater in terms of stock management, as well as reducing manual and paper-based processes.

The original start date for the project was May 2020 however this was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting UK lockdown, but not for long. In fact, the selection process only ran one month behind schedule as the business recognised this was a key project for them to come out of the crisis stronger as a company.

  • Going forward

Implementation of Sage 200 with Datel is now underway and going well. The early stages of the project have been delivered via online meetings, utilising Microsoft Teams for scoping the system with the steering group. This has worked well and the online delivery is having less impact on the day-to-day running of the business. People can now attend the relevant discussions rather than traditional entire day or half day sessions, plus travel.

“Our Datel consultant is happy that he’s getting the information he needs from the Hydrokem team so the process is working well for all.”