Steel merchant picks Linux, Sage

By   |  November 14, 2004

South African steel pipe and fitting merchant AIG Sales previously used a Dos-based accounting and inventory system to run its business. But a growing customer base and a need to trade electronically with customers meant the company needed to upgrade its systems.

\”In general, the steel pipe industry has tended to lag behind the times in terms of information and communication technology adoption,\” says Gordon Phillips, sales engineer at AIG.

\”Our primary customers are mining houses, well-known early adopters of technology that are now more regularly using Internet-based trading systems. As a key supplier we had to ensure that our IT infrastructure and internal processes could handle Internet trading and maintain an efficient supply operation.\”

Phillips says an increasingly unreliable system also prompted the company to investigate other options.

After evaluating the options, Phillips says AIG chose to work with Sage Line 500 on Linux, configured, installed and supported by Sage Enterprise Solutions authorised business partner, Unisource. The system manages all financial processes, as well as works and sales orders, bills of materials, product distribution and information analysis.

Paul Gama, director of Unisource, says that while initially reticent to go the open source software route, AIG Sales is reporting good stability and throughput on the system.

\”This facility now provides AIG Sales an effective and efficient tool to manage the outsourced fabrication which in the past was a manual paper-driven process fraught with inefficiencies,\” says Gama.

\”It would have been easy for us to get drawn into the world of large-scale enterprise resource planning solutions,\” says Phillips. \”While ERP systems have the potential to assist a business like ours, they are generally too cumbersome, too rigid and too difficult to install,\” says Phillips.

\”We needed a system that was flexible, cost-effective, stable and that could help us adapt to market demands quickly and easily – all the while maintaining the efficient operation of our business. That\’s where Sage Line 500 came to the fore.\”

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