A view of the Aero Services Global Group

18th November 2021

5 min read

Author: Emma Pownall, Marketing Director, Datel

Sage X3 provides clarity for engineering group

Aero Services Global Group (ASG Group) has over 50 years’ experience supplying precision engineering solutions and components to the world’s most prestigious manufacturers within the aerospace, defence, automotive and energy sectors. We spoke to Stephen Biddlestone, Group Senior Financial and Treasury Controller, about their ambitious plans and how their investment in Sage X3 will help to meet them.


A multi-company, multi-currency group 

The pandemic has had a huge impact on the aerospace industry, and ASG Group have naturally been affected by the decrease in travel and demand for their services. They took a conscious decision to stay open throughout, and although trading has been affected in 2020, the events haven’t stopped them making investments such as a new ERP. The future is looking bright with a sharp return to normality in 2021. 

ASG Group currently comprises of seven trading business units across Europe, with big plans to continue to grow via acquisition. At the head of the group, the key capital partners have high demands for financial clarity across all entities and is the main reason why they are looking to improve their ERP system. Coincidentally, all of their UK businesses are using Sage 50, however each is a separate system without central reporting, as Stephen explains; “Sage 50 isn’t designed for multi-company management, and we need consolidation at group level. We want live management information instantly available, rather than having to wait a few days for it to be gathered as it is with the current ERP system.”  

Along with the requirement for better reporting capabilities, there is also the need for improved foreign currency management. Many of the businesses in the group have customers and suppliers wanting to buy and sell in Euros and US Dollars - however this has been difficult to manage as Sage 50 hasn’t got multi-currency functionality. 

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Choosing the right Sage product 

Having researched the market, Stephen decided SAP wasn’t quite the right fit for their specific requirements and thought Sage 200 to be the most suitable and best value upgrade for what the group needs. So, when he met with Datel for the first time and explained what the group were aiming to achieve with a new ERP system, he was surprised when Datel’s Head of Sales, Tom James, recommended he consider Datel as a Sage X3 partner. 

“We didn't know a great deal about Sage X3, but we weren't getting pushed to go down that route. Tom encouraged us to try Sage 200 too, so we could compare. When we were given a demo of Sage X3, its capabilities were clear. It can handle multiple companies with ease which is important as we scale. I was impressed to see everything can be maintained and processed in one database, meaning things like consolidation and intercompany transactions can be executed at the click of a button.”  

Sage X3 is seen to be a larger ERP solution to Sage 200 and tends to come with a larger price tag to match. But Stephen explained that he was pleasantly surprised once he started to look at pricing with Tom and Datel’s Pre-Sales manager Ian Mowbray. “They were very honest with the process and didn’t try to sell us what we didn’t need. Tom and Ian listened to our exact requirements and packaged it up to suit what we wanted exactly - nothing more, nothing less. And the subscription is very comparable to what we are currently paying for across the group for our Sage 50 subscriptions.” 

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Ready for the future 

Currently in the scoping stage, Stephen is happy with how the relationship with Datel has progressed so far; “They’ve kept it really simple which we really appreciate and the honesty throughout has been a breath of fresh air.” Stephen is excited by the scalability of Sage X3 in general, and that there’s room to add more functionality in the future if needed.  

As part of the implementation, ASG Group have also decided to include one of Datel’s own add-on products, Fusion Excel Connect, which will allow for their multiple budgets to be uploaded in a consistent format across the companies. “I’m looking forward to giving each finance team a template, so we get uniformity across different entities. It’s been quite a manually intensive time-consuming task for us so far to get all budgets aligned in spreadsheets.” 

As restrictions on travel start to ease, Stephen is anticipating business as usual again. Once installed, we know how a Sage X3 partner is going to benefit the group and give that overarching insight it so needs, and we are excited to be part of their journey.