About SMD Group
The SMD Group was originally founded in 1987 in Lancashire UK. They design and manufacture 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 continues to forge ahead and is looking to the future to ensure they remain one step ahead of the competition.
The SMD case for an ERP upgrade
As with many manufacturers, taking advantage of growing e-commerce opportunities was among the main objectives when looking to upgrade, and eventually this resulted in the move from E10 to Epicor Kinetic.
Steven Nield, SMD Group IT Manager, explained: “There were primarily two reasons for us choosing to upgrade. The first reason was that we were in the process of developing a website that would allow customers to place orders online, and Kinetic would offer better integration and compatibility with bank cards for this.
The second reason, of course, was to receive ongoing support within the newer system.”
Tobe Mekoma, IT Administrator for SMD added: “The project was initiated by SMD in September 2021 as a requirement for our new website project.
We discussed our options internally and decided it would make more business sense to carry out an upgrade since we would already have to do a full-scale testing of our customisations to ensure the site was up and running properly.
This also meant that we would be up to date with Epicor’s latest software, bringing us back into the support fold.
Another advantage was that it bought us time to slowly migrate our customisations as Epicor moves to the Kinetic platform.
When it came to choosing CBO, the decision was never really in doubt, as Tobe explained: “luckily for us, we are familiar with the CBO team and we are familiar with how they work. This was a bonus for us, as it ensured continuity.”
Benefits of working with CBO
Since the SMD team had prior experience of working with CBO, the choice of ERP partner to help deliver the project was finalised early on. Thankfully, however, the experience of working with the CBO consultants fulfilled expectations.
Steve Nield said: “I hadn’t personally worked with CBO prior to joining SMD, but I have worked with several other ERP partners in the past.
Since getting to know the CBO team I have been very impressed with the quality of consultants and the way things have turned out has been a breath of fresh air.”
Tobe Mekoma concurred, saying: “when it comes to information and communication, we can be quite demanding as a business.
With that in mind, I’m really glad about the performance of the CBO team – the proof is always in the pudding and CBO delivered.
Project-wise, I really liked how responsive the team was and Joanna (Project Manager) was brilliant in ensuring we were constantly staffed on the project.
The time given by consultants was never an issue, which can be a problem on projects of this nature.
Overall, the team did a really good job.”
Steve was particularly heartened by the adaptability of the CBO team: “we made the decision to request more feedback from the CBO team early on and the fact that CBO listened went a long way towards convincing me that the team was able to take our needs seriously and act quickly.”
“We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend CBO as an Epicor ERP partner to another business and each of the consultants and members of the project team have been excellent.”
Now that the project has formally completed, SMD are looking to derive maximum value from their investment.
Steve said: “now we’ll be carrying out some training on the user interface and then we’ll gradually roll the interface out for our end-users.
We continue to look for technical solutions and we anticipate Epicor will play a significant part with that.
IT has been tasked with ushering in a lot of improvements and the next 18 months will be a very interesting time for us.”
Many of these improvements are expected to be process-orientated, and the SMD team are placing all hands on deck to get their software and processes working seamlessly together.
“We’re putting together a project team together that considers improvements to our processes,” said Steve.
“One of the things we’re looking to consider further is what Epicor will be able to do for us out of the box.”
It seems that change will continue apace for the foreseeable future then, and the upgraded ERP system will be expected to play a key part in assisting with this.