With multiple locations across the UK, DM Tea needed an easier way to access data and communicate between the teams. Upgrading to Sage 200 enabled them to build a far more agile business with complete control over their manufacturing, planning and delivery processes, saving time and improving productivity.

Sage 200 Manufacturing enabled DM Tea (International) Ltd to:

  • Migrate data from another Sage solution seamlessly, with zero downtime
  • Quickly and accurately share data amongst multiple locations
  • Streamline a highly labour intensive business
  • Meet deadlines and enhance customer relationships
  • Benefit from UK‐based technical support

Streamlining complex processes

Finance Manager, Valerie Kelly, was responsible for the Sage 200 Manufacturing software which DM Tea (International) installed in August 2008.

“DM Tea is a fairly new company,” she explains. “We’ve been operating since December 07 when we purchased another tea business. As well as inheriting all the experience of the parent company, ACL, we also inherited Sage Pastel, their South African‐based accounting and payroll software.

“This of course meant that all the technical help was also located in South Africa. So whenever we had any technical problems it could be up to two days before anyone got back to us. Also, the Pastel system wasn’t really equipped to handle multiple locations. Here in the UK we have two offices: one in Bedford and another in London plus numerous warehouses up and down the country. We need to be able to quickly and accurately share data between all of these locations, so sourcing software that could do this for us was vital.”

But it wasn’t simply about the need to share data, as Valerie explains. “Tea is a highly labour intensive product which makes planning and timing a very intricate process especially as at least one of our products has a tight six to eight week lead time.

“Many of our products are imported from India or Sri Lanka while others come from China and Hong Kong. So we needed a solution that would enable us to plan in our lead times and ensure that everything came through in time in order to hit the specified delivery dates.”

Early in 2008 the search began to find a new software solution that would “assist in producing the accurate figures and data we needed, not just for the board of directors here in England but for the auditors over in India”.

Sage 200 seemed to fit the bill. “It appeared to do everything we needed it to do. Plus it’s fairly similar to a product which is used by our people in India,” Valerie adds.

Seamless installation

Once the decision had been made to go with Sage 200, Valerie and her team contacted a number of UK‐based Sage resellers.

“You see, it wasn’t just crucial to get the product itself right; we also needed first‐rate support, here in the UK, and Xperience Group impressed us from the start.”

She explains how they received “fantastic help” with the installation and throughout the transition period from the old system to the new.

“Sage 200 went live in August 2008 without a hitch and Xperience were absolutely brilliant. They came in for two or three weeks to help us prepare the programmes, transfer the data and train staff which meant we went live on time, with zero downtime, and everything’s been running smoothly ever since.”

Valerie was also impressed with the way they could “transfer much of the data live, cutting down on manual input which resulted in huge labour savings. Plus we were able to ensure that all the information we transferred was accurate”.

She is keen to emphasise that “good, UK‐based technical support featured high on our agenda and we contact Xperience regularly. Their guy has been absolutely marvellous. Any issues have been rectified virtually immediately; it really is an excellent service and exactly what we had in mind. And Northampton is a little closer to home than Johannesburg!”

Effective control over manufacturing processes

So Sage 200 was obviously a sound investment for DM Tea, but has it paid for itself yet? “It only went live last August, so it’s still early days,” Valerie points out. “But I think in another three months or so it will certainly have paid for itself. What I will say is that it was definitely the right decision. When we started looking at Sage 200 last February although there were hints of the coming economic downturn it was by no means as severe as it was to get over the coming months. I am so pleased we installed this excellent tool when we did.”

Valerie adds that, although “many businesses are at the mercy of the current climate, we’re very fortunate in that we haven’t been severely affected. Over the past few months Sage 200 has enabled us to very quickly build a far more agile business and control our manufacturing, planning and delivery processes, saving time and helping us to stay on track. It’s just made the whole company much more responsive, efficient and competitive.”

She concludes: “The Pastel solution which we inherited is really aimed at smaller businesses and, looking back, there is no way it would have been able to cope with the way we needed to grow.”

“Plus there was the issue of the technical help being so far away in South Africa. We simply wouldn’t have been able to react to the market place as quickly and responsively as we have done so I’d say that, yes, installing Sage 200 when we did was probably one of the best business decisions we made in 2008!”

About DM Tea

DM Tea International Ltd is specialist in Tea sourcing, blending, flavouring and packing. We are the discreet supplier and packer behind many Tea brands across the UK.