SMD Group

About SMD Group

The SMD Group was originally founded in 1987 in Lancashire UK. They design and manufacture fabulous interior textiles with an emphasis on making it easy for customers to select and buy fabrics.

Over 30 years later, The SMD Group is now one of the UK’s leading interior textile businesses, selling their product lines to over 40 countries worldwide and manufacturing across Europe and the Far East.

As a business, SMD is striving ahead and is always looking to the future to ensure that they remain one step ahead of the competition.

Desired business goals and outcomes

In order to achieve their future goals and aspirations, they needed the support and expertise of a robust ERP solution.

The following areas were integral to SMD in order to achieve business growth

•Create a trade website.
•Future proofing the business.
•Increase transparency and efficiency

Elmira Roberts, IT Manager at SMD explains “We were using a proprietary software that was specifically designed for the textile industry and was used by most of our competitors. Any effort we were putting in to developing new processes would eventually be adopted by our competition.”

SMD wanted ultimately to move away from this traditional software as it did not have the capability to achieve the desired business goals and outcomes, and more importantly they wanted to strengthen their competitive advantage.

The company arrived at the decision that a new ERP system was integral to achieving the above goals. The new ERP system would provide a more transparent and more agile software to support their operations, and a solution that could be adapted and built around the organisation and would essentially future proof the business.

Right now, businesses are operating in an increasingly data driven market place, compelling organisations to look at their internal processes as well as look at the quality of data that is produced.

Elmira explains “For SMD it is so important that ERP software is visionary, cutting edge and heavily driven in research and development. The ERP software that we choose must reflect us as a business.”

A challenging start

SMD originally went on board with another supplier to embark on their overall ERP project. The implementation sadly didn’t go to plan however, which dampened the overall project and go live experience.

Richard Hargreaves, Financial Director at SMD explains “We had a lot of issues with the support that we got from the original supplier. The idea was for them to develop the system as well as provide the customisation that was needed, but we felt that it wasn’t managed effectively. This created a lot of problems in terms of missing project deadlines, which had a detrimental effect on the actual delivery of the project, making us question whether or not this company was actually the right fit for us.”

As a result of this, after finally going live with the ERP implementation, SMD needed additional resource support and this is where CBO stepped in to do a recovery project.

Future proofing SMD with Clear Business Outcome

Richard Hargreaves explains “We went through a due diligence process, inviting potential partner companies to tender for our support contracts. One of these was CBO and that was when we first met Damien Sullivan – Managing Director at CBO”

CBO advises that all customers and potential prospects of the importance of doing your homework and investigating who and what type of ERP partner is right for your business – and above all, whether they will help you achieve your long-term objectives and business outcomes.

The core focus of an ERP partner like Clear Business Outcome is to work with the customer and by understanding their specific business needs, objectives and long terms outcomes, to be able to add value by customising the software to suit.

Elmira comments “CBO was our ERP partner of choice because of their very strong development credentials as well as their overall experience and knowledge in the UK market. They really provide an extensive support to the SMD team and are a good fit to the wider business.”

Recent achievements

CBO has made SMD more transparent, more efficient and more user driven.

An example of this would be SMD’s Fabric Stock Take Process. Working alongside CBO’s Senior Consultants Ross Brumwell and Simon Graham, SMD has simplified their stock taking processes and eliminated duplications of data entry by introducing a new dashboard. This is supported by new handheld functionality allowing their entire stock taking to be processed on a handheld without the need to run multiple reports, adjustments and reconciliations.

The simplification of the process has increased efficiency, thus enabling a full physical stock count of fabric in the Preston Warehouse to be performed in 3 weeks by a single operator. This has led to significant time saving and a higher degree of accuracy of stock records.

Elmira comments “One of my long-term objectives is to ensure that SMD has the ability to develop software internally and not relying on external parties. Using BAQs and using dashboard functionalities within the business for example, means that now we are designing processes ourselves based on what we have done previously. Working alongside CBO has taught us a lot, so we can apply that knowledge to SMD.”

Why Clear Business Outcome

For both Richard and Elmira, the strengths of Clear Business Outcome are clear:

CBO is very responsive – they have come in, identified and solved some of our issues that were outstanding with the other supplier.” Richard Hargreaves, Financial Director at SMD.

“CBO has a high level of expertise in a number of areas, from both a consultant and development point of view. I’m quite impressed with the calibre of specialists that Clear Business Outcome has which makes them stand out as a business.”  Elmira Roberts, IT Manager at SMD