22 Nov


By: Madeline Tenkrooden BUSINESS ESSENTIALS

Wednesday 20 November 2013

With a presence in over 125 countries and an extensive offering, G4S is the largest international provider of security solutions.  Ranging from on-site manned security and cash processing solutions to cash in transit and ATM security, their services ensure that wherever the protection of assets is important G4S is able to provide the solution.

A series of mergers and acquisitions in the Zambian market left the local office with a legacy infrastructure falling short of current requirements.  Incompatibilities between this legacy system and the G4S globally accepted SAP platform had led to a lack of data integrity in international reporting creating governance and transparency issues, coupled with inefficiencies in local business processes.

Within any international organisation, the need for accurate regional and global head office reporting is paramount.  With G4S no exception, the Zambian office was finding themselves challenged to deliver on this requirement. Partly solved through additional internal processes, it still required a degree of manual manipulation to convert data from the legacy system into the required format.  Further complicated by consolidation issues with the local accounting system, G4S Zambia found themselves plagued with continued inaccuracies leading to queries at group level.

“Security and integrity of data across all areas of its organisation is critical for G4S,” says Eugene Olivier, business development director at 4most, a leading supplier and implementer of ERP software and technology.  “After a detailed scope of their requirements, we were confident recommending SAP Business One as the best solution moving forward.”

The initial implementation involved the core financial databases, allowing for generation of ledgers and profit and loss statements. Whilst this gave G4S Zambia the required transparency and integrity in their reporting process, it was merely a replication of what had previously been possible with access to sufficient detail across various business processes still lacking.  To solve this, 4most streamlined their chart of accounts into a non-segmented structure creating multi-dimensional views for various cost centres where previously there had been only one.  The added dimensions allowed for greater transparency and more accurate reporting both internationally and within the local operation.

Dawda Bobb, G4S Zambia’s Finance Director originally of the G4S UK operation, knew what was possible from an international best practices perspective. “Whilst the initial implementation allowed us to enjoy at least 95% of what we wanted, a slight customisation of the existing infrastructure gave us the extra functionality we required for reporting and improved efficiencies between different business systems,” says Bobb.

Additional functionality includes automation of the procurement, payroll, fixed assets and recurring billing functions.  With each module seamlessly integrated into the SAP platform, further business process efficiencies have been enabled leading to enhanced detail across local and international reporting.  And a 20% reduction in time, significantly increasing company productivity.  Although their financial return has not yet been determined, the Zambian office conservatively estimates a minimum cost reduction of 5% due to time saved and the elimination of human error.

Moving forward, G4S Zambia is looking at an automated Accounts Payable module, allowing for the integration of creditors’ payments with their local bank.  “There appears no end to what 4most is able to provide, with every request for enhancement or customisation met with an absolute commitment to meet our need and provide a solution,” says Bobb.

The new infrastructure has also enjoyed widespread user acceptance and uptake.  The general feedback received rates the SAP system as a lot easier to navigate and understand, together with increased user-friendliness.
“SAP Business One has provided us with clarity,” continues Bobb.  “We are now able to drill down into detail previously not possible, providing us with the visibility and ability to really see what is happening in certain parts of our business.”

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