Cape Union Mart Group is based in Cape Town and currently houses 5 major local brands - Cape Union Mart, South Africa’s favourite outdoor store and the group’s flagship brand; K-Way, an extremely popular technical range of outdoor clothing and gear; Old Khaki, a casual fashion brand available in over a dozen stand-alone stores; Sparks and Ellis, a uniform company and the latest addition Poetry, an eclectic lifestyle concept store for women. Stocking everything one needs for outdoor pursuits since 1933, Cape Union Mart has over 100 stores across South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
In 2011 Cape Union Mart embarked on a massive project, revamping their entire financial and POS systems.
“One of the key elements we needed to review was our budgeting and reporting systems. We had been carrying out our budgeting in Excel which became a time-consuming and labour-intensive exercise that was often complicated further by mistakes caused by human error or poor version control,” says Evan Torrance, IT Director of Cape Union Mart.
“We wanted a solution that streamlined the process, increasing efficiency and reducing errors by maintaining a single real-time version of the truth,” says Torrance. “We considered a number of options and very quickly decided that idu-Concept was the ideal business tool for us and that there was a culture fit between idu Software and Cape Union Mart. Cost is also always an important consideration for us, as well as local representation for support, both of which were met by idu.”
Cape Union Mart considers idu Software’s flexibility as a key differentiator of the company. There was a degree of complexity involved in the roll-out and on-going support required because of an ERP roll-out that was taking place at a similar point in time. “The idu team was always pleasant, professional and accommodating, and approached any and all additional support with a can-do attitude,” says Torrance.
“idu-Concept made it possible to do our budget against the new system’s chart of accounts with actuals from the old system’s set of accounts, making the move from one ERP system to another manageable,” says Torrance. “In this respect idu’s role in the migration of ERP systems should not be underestimated; in fact despite initial reluctance to undertake this project whilst tackling an ERP implementation, this decision proved with hindsight to be truly inspired.”
Cape Union Mart began using three idu-Concept modules – Budgeting, Reporting & Analytics – in late 2011. They were instantly impressed by the accuracy, real-time transparency and the control it provided. Users of the systems include everyone from the Financial Director, financial managers, department heads, area managers and selected departmental users and the feedback has been consistently that they are easy to use and make the work faster and simpler to do.
The idu Concept Financial Budgeting Module made the process of loading budgets on an annual basis far smoother and more efficient. Previously there were issues with multiple versions of the budget across different departments and they were often poorly consolidated or late for the new financial year. The simplicity and accuracy of a real time system has eliminated all of these concerns.
“It’s a great budgeting tool that requires limited input,” says Torrance. “It completely changed the budgeting process for us and supports our approach to budgeting. An additional and unexpected benefit of the module was that the percentage reallocations have made intercompany and intergroup changes automatic.”
The idu-Concept Financial Reporting Module makes the process of reviewing monthly actuals against budgets for department heads a lot easier and provides the ability to review them in a timely and accurate manner. “It is a self-explanatory system, making it easy to run reports,” adds Torrance, “It also allows us to drill down to the lowest transactional level and it works well with excel.”
The idu-Concept Analytics module has streamlined the monthly reporting process and makes analysing data faster, easier and more accurate. The fact that is reads data from the idu modules and the ERP systems makes reporting of varied and complex data easy.
“idu-Concept is an affordable, functionally-robust solution that offers visibility across our entire business,” says Torrance. “We would recommend idu for all its exceptional qualities, as well as their team of professional and passionate staff who fitted very naturally into our working environment for the duration of the project.”