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Who We Work With

Autosmart International Ltd.

ERP System Selection

Client Overview

Established in the UK in 1979, Autosmart is a leading global supplier of vehicle cleaning products to trade clients, with an annual turnover of >£40m and over 200 employees.

Autosmart develops and manufactures all of its own products in the UK, and distributes them through an international network of franchisees, national accounts and international partners.

Key Challenges

Autosmart has ambitious growth plans which was likely to increase the already busy workloads of resources within the business. There was a need to review existing systems and processes to streamline working practices and real time business intelligence and reporting to improve access to key performance metrics. These changes would enable the business to become more agile so that aggressive growth targets could be achieved without exponentially increasing the workforce.

Over the years, Autosmart had implemented numerous IT systems including:

  • Sage 500 which was then upgraded to Sage 1000
  • ACT! CRM
  • Defacto WMS
  • People HR
  • Customer and franchisee ordering portals

The business had also developed numerous in-house Microsoft Access databases to address specific functional gaps in the above systems. These were dependent on key personnel to maintain, posing a managed but significant risk to the business.  There was a lack of integration between all these systems and a reliance of Microsoft Office based technologies for reporting, all adding to the risk and consumption of key resources which provided a historic view of the business performance but with limited functionality to support planning ahead.

Autosmart enjoys a very high staff retention rate, with a significant proportion of the team members having worked within the business for more than 10 years.  The implementation of an ERP would be a major challenge for the business, pushing experienced team members to think and operate quite differently.  The previous experiences of less than successful system implementations within the business only increased the challenge of implementing an ERP.

The Support Provided

We (AHC) were approached by Autosmart’s recently appointed IT Director, Shaun Devey, to put forward a proposal to provide independent, external support to help Autosmart:

  • Review its existing business processes and identifying a “TO BE” vision for how these can be streamlined and operate more effectively in the future
  • Engage with the newly created Business Change team to define its requirements from a new ERP system to support this vision
  • Identify potential ERP system / vendor options
  • Support the evaluation and selection of the best solution/system partner for Autosmart
  • Engage the business, at all levels, supporting the Business Change team in securing buy-in to the change involved and benefits it would bring
Shaun Devey
Shaun Devey from Autosmart

We presented our approach to the Autosmart owner and senior Directors and following on from this were engaged to provide the above support.

Working closely with Shaun and his internal Business Change team, we guided the business through our proven approach; starting with a 1 month review and documentation of all processes.

Recognising the already busy workloads of those required for this, we worked around their diaries and scheduled short focussed sessions to minimise the disruption to the day to day running of the business.

Once this review was complete, we presented our findings to the Autosmart board to ensure they were full engaged throughout the project.

We then managed a tender process to obtain proposals from potential ERP vendors, 3 of which were short-listed and invited to undertake a series of detailed demonstrations of their systems against an agreed agenda focussing on the key requirements for Autosmart. During this phase of the project, COVID restrictions required us to move to move to web-based demos which presented additional challenges in ensuring that participants remained engaged in the evaluation of potential systems from various remote locations.

Following numerous sessions over several weeks, Autosmart identified IFS Applications as its preferred ERP system and Anthesis as its implementation partner. AHC worked closely with Autosmart and Anthesis through the due diligence and contract negotiation stages to ensure that both parties were clear on expectations and deliverables and that a mutually agreeable contract was confirmed.