Not unlike large businesses, small service and production companies – with a headcount from under 20 to fewer than 100 – also need IT solutions. However, companies that expect more than an efficient finance/accounting system are not catered to by providers of integrated solutions, who prefer to target the market of larger companies.
Ready-made “out of the box” solutions, with rigidly defined functionalities for a given area cannot be applied in more specific business processes. Applications developed from scratch, on the other hand, have numerous flaws. The biggest challenges include issues with efficiency that emerge as a company grows, lack of maintenance support, and problems integrating with other applications.
An ERP solution addressing small enterprises is SAP Business One. It is a high-class solution offering an integrated management of the processes of production and sales, logistics and purchasing, warehousing, as well as relationships with clients using the embedded CRM module.
Unlike other solutions available in the market, SAP Business One is a coherent application, which eliminates the need for performing separate installations and complicated integrations of multiple modules. This ready-made software, with embedded model processes prepared in line with best business practices, may also be suited to the specific requirements of any company.
New technologies – A New System
Aquila Yachts is a small but ambitious company, specialising in designing and building yachts. Its latest “baby” is a luxury sail yacht based on modern technologies, whose construction project was subsidised under the European Union’s Innovative Economy programme.
Innovative technologies applied in the design and production phase will be supported by an integrated ERP-class IT system for managing the enterprise. Aquila Yachts has been using SAP Business One since May 2013 – after the implementation project, which took only four months. The implementation was performed by 7milowy (since 2018 SNP Poland), an SAP partner, specialising in SAP solutions for small and medium enterprises.
The system implementation for Aquila Yachts covered the full scope of functionalities: finance and accounting, materials management, purchasing, warehouse and production management, sales and customer service, and reporting. The solution is operated by 10 users, including accounting, the production manager (project manager), the head of sales and the person responsible for purchasing.
Finance and Accounting
In finance and accounting, SAP Business One allows for the comprehensive management of the general ledger, receivables and payables, as well as budgeting, settling projects and settlements by cost centres. The module enables performing any types of financial and banking transactions in multiple currencies.
Embedded standard reports (including turnover list and balances, balance sheet, profit and loss account, cash flows, receivables and payables aging) enable control of the company’s entire finance and accounting area. The accounting events are recorded in the accounts automatically at processing the important business events, based on the defined account assignment templates.
Due to the specific character of production (building a finished yacht on a client’s order takes up to several months), for Aquila Yacht’s accounting, the function of settling production in progress and settling projects was important.
SAP enables active management of finances, and provides a full view of the company’s financial information. That purpose is served by Business Intelligence elements embedded in the solution which, through report wizards, enables the generation of various reports.
Reporting is made easy in Business Intelligence, thanks to its integration into one coherent system containing all the areas of the company’s operations – from purchasing, through to warehouse, production and sales.
In the company’s finance and accounting areas, SAP replaced the previously used application. However, in production management, logistics, and sales support, it significantly raised the quality of managing the company.
Dorota Chłopik, Finance Director and Chief Accountant in Aquila Yachts summarises: “We work in projects. We were looking for a tool that would allow us to manage production by projects and control its profitability. Thanks to the integrated functionalities available in SAP Business One, we can currently manage the entire cycle of production, sales and settlements in one coherent tool. 7milowy’s consultants adjusted the configuration of the solution to meet our needs”.
Thanks to integrated functionalities available in SAP Business One we can currently manage the entire cycle of production, sales and settlements in one, coherent tool,
The core of the operations conducted by Aquila Yachts is mainly based on developing interiors of stock yacht bodies according to the clients’ individual needs. From the perspective of organising the production, each unit is treated as an individual project, managed and settled separately.
Thanks to integration of all functions into one tool, the production manager (project manager) is able to record and settle the time of work on a project by phases, check the project status, materials issued for production, verify orders etc. This is made easier by the specially developed user interface, which is accessible from the production hall.
Managing production by projects and controlling profitability both globally and by individual stages is the main value of the SAP Business One system for Aquila Yachts.
The yachts are manufactured in the company’s shipyard in Gdańsk, but almost 90% of the elements used in production are imported. Additionally, most of Aquila Yacht’s clients are from abroad. For that reason, SAP Business One’s 26 available language versions significantly assists the contact of counterparties. The system supports automated calculation of currency exchange rates and generation of documents in a selected language. Combined with an in-built printout wizard, the functionality enables the generation of marketing, logistics and cost-related documents (invoices, orders, etc.) for the company’s clients and partners worldwide.
At Full Sail
When deciding to enter the very demanding market for building super yachts, we had to have several aces up our sleeves in order to compete with manufacturers with an established experience and reputation. We started a sort of a revolution in thinking of projects and production.
We invented a new product – yachts with modular, interchangeable interiors, allowing for maximum customisation of furnishing, both functionally and stylistically. Such a project was possible only by combining our innovative technologies with an efficient, flexible and simple tool for managing projects and production: SAP.
The structure of the interior and its furnishing consists of hundreds of elements, which must be suitably designed, catalogued and available. The options for combinations and configurations must be specified; without SAP, this would not be possible.
Not only are the designs of furniture, boarding, and floors modular, but also specific blocks of installations, both in relation to liquid installations and electrical wiring. The designers use SAP as a tool, which, at the subsequent stages of the project, brings relevant drawings, technological descriptions, material selection files, files for cutting flat elements and milling three dimensional elements in the CNC technology. We almost eliminated the need for manual processing of wood, laminate or stainless steel. Replacing multiple handicraft specialists with the following set: designer – technology specialist – CAD – SAP – warehouse – CNC machines – paint shop – assembly specialistallowed us to use modular systems, thereby significantly increasing quality and reducing costs. The production of installation modules or metal fittings is similarly operated.
SAP is also very helpful in managing the warranty service and the project throughout the yacht’s life cycle.
Without SAP, it is difficult to imagine a good management of design, work, purchases and creation of new solutions that give the company its competitive edge.
Krzysztof Maćkowiak, Management Board President, Aquila Yachts
Aquila Yachts uses SAP Business One in an outsourcing model. 7milowy’s consultants provide user support by responding to maintenance requests and error reports. The service also includes small elements of system development. SNP (the parent company of 7milowy) covers system administration. SAP Business One outsourcing services are delivered using the infrastructure of the SNP Outsourcing Centre. Requests are received, via a dedicated application, by the Service Desk Team, which is a single point of contact for the clients. Such organisation of the service provides the client with a guarantee that the request will be delivered in line with the agreed response times (SLA).
From the plan to the virgin cruise
Currently, after the launch of SAP Business One, Aquila Yachts has a central system for integrated management of the company and the entire process of yacht production – from design and organising production (planning, purchases, etc.), to sales and customer relationship management. The company is fully equipped to deliver on its vision: becoming the leader of innovative and quality production of large yachts and small sailing ships.