Airbridge Sports: Hooked on SAP

Posted: January 13, 2012 in Tech
Tags: , , , , , ,

(L-R) SAP Channel Account Manager, Aldo Sanico, Airbridge Sports Plus Assistant Brand Manager, Sarah Jean Garcia with Brand Manager, Raquel Sumera, and ANSI Information Systems VP for Sales and Marketing, Charlene Sun

The story of Airbridge Sports Plus, Inc is one of shared vision among sports enthusiasts who had come from forwarding and distribution business, Airbridge 3000 Inc.  In 2010 they decided to join forces once again founding the Airbridge Sports Plus, Inc.

ANSI Information Systems is the implementing partner that oversaw the integration of the software.

Airbridge Sports Plus began sourcing an array of products from different Asian countries to meet the requirement of the sporting community.   Today it offers a wide range of sports equipment, from racquets, sportswear to accessories.  It carries top sports brands like Kason for badminton, DHS for table tennis, UHL for soccer and is the official distributor of Li-ning, the no. 1 Chinese sports brand and the official sponsor of the Chinese National Badminton team.   The Li-Ning brand is carried by various sports shops nationwide including JUEGO a sports retail shop that boasts of carrying the widest range of badminton products in the country.

The company has a lean staff of 20, but as with any enterprise that’s laying down the groundwork for expansion and diversification, Airbridge Sports Plus has had to deal with the increasing challenges posed by inventory management as well as warehousing and accounting. Moreover, the company, to ascertain its financial position in various stages of operation, needed useful and timely data to help management evaluate opportunities and strategize around these.

“There were no available data on the sizes of the market, demand, supply and such, so it was difficult to make informed decisions on business projections,” said Raquel Sumera, brand manager of Airbridge Sports Plus. Until recently, Airbridge Sports Plus conducted business following the hugely popular Pinoy consignment model, which make it difficult to manage inventory, unlike in other countries where 95 to 100 percent of the sales are being done outright.

Moreover, Airbridge Sports Plus had no Information Technology regime in place, relying on free software from the Internet and ordinary MS Excel spreadsheets. “Processes were disjointed and systems did not talk to each other,” said Sumera. “The applications used for expense processing, accounts receivable management (A/R) and accounts payable (A/P) did not feed into the general ledger system.” In a word, the inventory management and all contingent financials were done manually.

It was time to sign on to SAP Business One, following a well-considered management decision based on SAP’s peerless reputation applicability. “SAP had our business’s main requirements, such as an integrated system of inventory, accounts receivable and payable modules and the general ledger,” Sumera said. “More important, in SAP, Airbridge Sports Plus was guaranteed dedicated technical support every step of the way.”

Following the particularly challenging transition of the inventory and general ledger systems from manual to online, Airbridge Sports Plus has reported quantifiable improvements. “We have simplified and reengineered the processes for A/P, A/R and accounting, and have made them ‘talk’ to the general ledger system,” Sumera noted. “To be sure, some of the existing staff had to alter their mindsets toward approaching the process, but this did not get in the way of the change we needed in the company.”

Down the road, Airbridge Sports Plus anticipates that running on SAP would allow shorter processing times for inventory and financials, and hence allow the business to grow around the current staff setup. “The time savings will also translate to better controls,” said Sumera.  “The staff will now be freed up for reviews and data checks before a process is finalized.”

Airbridge Sports Plus also plans to use SAP for its other businesses. It also looks forward to further fine-tuning its internal forms and processes to better address its growing business requirements.

“Companies need to be agile especially in today’s new reality,” said Jennie Ligones, SAP country manager in the Philippines. “This is particularly true for small and medium enterprises as they need to differentiate themselves against growing competition, maintain appropriate growth in changing environments. SAP Business One is an affordable small business management solution that best fits medium enterprises like Airbridge Sports Plus, which has outgrown its legacy systems and is looking for a single integrated solution that is quick to install, easy to use, simple to maintain and allows for management of the entire business.”

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