Hi Mark sports new K3 ERP solution
K3 customer Hi Mark Group is a leader in the sports and leisure equipment market. Its manufacturing base in China and design and trading headquarters in Taiwan are supported by a global distribution network. The company owns many internationally famous brands, such as Hi Mark, Body Sculpture, Solex, L.A. Sports, L.A. Golf, L.A. Trekking and L.A. Garden. Here in the UK, you will find many of its brands available to consumers through retailers and catalogue companies such as Argos, Littlewoods, Amazon, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Freeman Grattans, Next, Ocado, Powerhouse Fitness and JD Williams.
Hi Mark International’s 25,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Bradford stocks an extensive range of product lines, shipping large volumes of items each week to its customers. Their extensive stockholding compensates for the lead times required to import goods from the Far East.
Powering up the enterprise
Prior to engaging K3 as its business software partner, Hi Mark used Sage Line 500. This has been replaced by Microsoft® Dynamics NAV 2013, a powerful and fully functional enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that utilises the latest Microsoft software technology.
Hi Mark selected Microsoft Dynamics NAV following an extensive review of other SME relevant ERP systems, including SAP Business One.
“We looked at a number of ERP systems, including the upgrades available from Sage as well as SAP Business One. We spoke to existing users of the different systems to find out how they were using the software and developing it. We also queried them about the quality of service and support they had from the various vendors,” says Ian McCallum, Financial Controller, Hi Mark International.
“We chose Dynamics NAV because it offered the flexibility we were looking for and it provided close integration with our Microsoft® Office software. Also with Dynamics NAV 2013 being available to us within a shortt time of signing our contract with K3, we decided that this was the best solution for us.”
K3 installed the system under a rapid Implementation programme and in accordance to Microsoft’s Sure Step implementation methodology. Unlike proprietary strategies established on a company’s own experiences only, Sure Step is based on data gathered from a range of experienced Microsoft Dynamics partners that ensures best practices are used to provide the smoothest possible implementation.
|“We chose Dynamics NAV because it offered the flexibility we were looking for and it provided close integration with our Microsoft® Office software.”|
Changing from an old system to a new one can be a painful experience even when you are applying a robust implementation methodology such as Sure Step and a highly experienced software partner like K3.
With Dynamics NAV replacing Hi Mark’s legacy Sage Line 500 system the company was moving from what was largely an accounting system approach into the realm of ERP. Fortunately, the K3 implementation and support teams were able to coach the company through the implementation, start up and beyond. As the saying goes no gain without pain and the company can now look forward to having the full benefit of a flexible, modern ERP system supporting its business.
“The K3 team led by Tim Barker provided the resources and motivation needed to get the system up and running within the planned time. Tim’s contribution to the project was invaluable as he pulled everyone together and made sure we stayed focussed on the project even when other business issues needed our attention,” says Ian McCallum.
“Switching over to Dynamics NAV made us rethink how we operate and we find it is much easier to get to the information we need in a much timelier manner.”
Features, functionality and benefits
Hi Mark uses a range of Dynamics NAV features and functions, including Pricing and Inventory, Sales Orders, Reporting and General Ledger. It is also a transaction-based ERP system; therefore the information held in the database is updated in real-time. The system runs on a standard SQL platform which makes it easier to develop detailed reports.
“Switching over to Dynamics NAV made us rethink how we operate and we find it is much easier to get to the information we need in a much timelier manner. The range of reports available in the system is extensive and we can use Jet Reports and Excel queries too if we need to. We also have the potential to develop our custom reports directly out of Dynamics NAV,” says Ian McCallum.
Hi Mark is happily benefiting from the system and future plans include utilising the Warehouse Management module to automate stock, picking and despatch operations. This will allow the company to use handheld terminals and barcode scanning to reduce warehouse administration, making the operation electronic and eliminating a mountain of paperwork.
|“We have features ready in the system that will allow us to extend its use as our business needs change.”|
“We have features ready in the system that will allow us to extend its use as our business needs change. One of these will be the ability to introduce wireless data capture into the warehouse with barcoding. This next phase of development is already well under way and in the near future we also plan to integrate the system with our online store.”
Hi Mark also benefits from K3 software support services. This is particularly important to companies that don’t have their own internal IT resources and ensures that queries are dealt with swiftly and satisfactorily and that problems are resolved before they become real issues for the customer.
Hi Mark concluded “The support we have received from K3 since going live has been excellent. The software support team is very responsive to our needs and they demonstrate a great knowledge of the system and fully understand our business. We find all of them helpful, resolving our various issues and queries. In particular, Francis Bray, with his accountancy background and ability to speak our language as well as having a deep understanding of the software, has been especially helpful.”