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Gregory Distribution to adopt Sage Enterprise Management (Sage X3) as its finance management solution

Why an industry-leading UK distributor is using the best practice of Sage Enterprise Management (Sage X3) to drive efficiency in its financial processes

“It’s all about scalability and the future,” says Gregory Distribution’s financial director, Rob Norman, on the company’s decision to adopt Sage X3 - now known as Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management - as its finance management solution.

“Our financial processes have evolved over the years, so we wanted a system to reflect and take advantage of that evolution.”

It’s not difficult to see how those processes might have evolved over almost a century. Established in 1919, Gregory Distribution provides warehousing and distribution services to a diverse range of customers, from small, local business to large, multinational organisations.

Now, the company’s 1,900 employees serve over 400 regional, national and international customers - generating annual revenue in excess of £165 million.

“A lot of our processes aren’t as optimised as they could be, as we have a lot of legacy procedures,” explains Rob. “We’re continuing to grow and needed a solution that could adapt and guide that growth. We felt our existing methods weren’t really sustainable long term.”

To ensure Gregory Distribution is able to sustain its high-quality international service, the company opted for Sage X3 as its finance system to operate alongside a selected range of best-of-breed, industry-specific solutions.

The best-practice processes of Sage X3

Operating with Sage Line 500 for a number of years, Gregory Distribution sought a solution that could reflect its extensive growth. They also wanted their new system to accommodate change and improvement over the next decade or more.

“If you don’t change your system, I think it’s very difficult to change your processes,” says Rob. “We see Sage X3 as an opportunity to adopt best-practice financial processes to drive efficiency and simply do things better, now and over the next ten years.

“We don’t want the system to fit into our current processes, we want to mould our business to the system. Ultimately, Sage X3 will drive business improvement for Gregory.”

Moving to a new solution offers Gregory another benefit: external maintenance and upkeep. The company previously relied on Sage Line 500 and a number of self-authored solutions, the latter of which requires in-house development and support, “We specifically wanted to move towards an off-the-shelf solution that was highly configurable,” explains Rob. 

“It means the solution is updated, maintained and kept in line with critical changes in standards and legislations without us expending internal resources.

“For us, Sage X3 is the start of changing the way the business works in a lot of ways.”

The system selection process

“We identified key requirements with our project team,” says Project Manager Carl Williams, who was brought in to assess and implement a new business management solution for Gregory. “I wanted to ensure we thoroughly assessed all possible options, so we went through an extensive selection process

“We looked at every potential supplier that might offer a best-practice solution, and eliminated solutions based on our criteria. So we went to a number of resellers and had discussions, reference calls and face-to-face demos for their respective systems.”

After a demo of Sage X3 by Datel – who were recommended by Sage – Gregory Distribution opted for Sage X3, as Rob explains, “It matched our budget, while giving us functionality that we need on a day-to-day basis.

And beyond those day-to-day requirements, Gregory was looking to move to a system that would support them for at least a decade. Ensuring that system - and the partner supporting it - could respond to the company’s evolving requirements was critical.

“It was an incredibly rigorous process to find a solution that meets current and future needs, but we feel we found that solution with Sage X3.”

The partner selection process

“Once we knew Sage X3 was the right system, we focused on selecting a Sage Business Partner to implement and support it,” Carl says. “Like our system selection process, we went out to the market to cover every possible option when choosing a partner.”

And for many businesses who investigate the capabilities of Sage, contacting the software author can be the first step into that evaluation, as Carl explains: “Our decision to approach Datel about Sage X3 came on the back of a recommendation from Sage.

“If the product’s author recommends you, that’s a very good starting point.”

Gregory’s final decision to choose Datel as its Sage X3 implementation partner was also influenced by the reseller’s decade-long history of support for their Sage line 500 solution, as Rob explains: “System support is another critical factor for us critical factor, something which we know that Datel does well from a decade of past experience.“

The future with Sage X3

The future of Gregory Distribution, according to Rob: do what's it’s always done, with a focus on continual business process improvement. Sage X3, then, is a critical component for the company in sustaining this success.

“The business has expanded through organic growth and acquisition,” Rob says. “We’ll continue to do what we do well and grow the business - that’s absolutely our plan.

“Not only do we feel that Sage X3 can support our continued growth, we feel it’s our platform for that growth going forward.”