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Established since 2010, Monopole is a wholesale distributor of wines for more than 750 F&B and hospitality businesses in Singapore. They also work closely with wholesalers and resellers in Malaysia.
Boasting a wealth of knowledge about the industry and access to reputed wine producers around the world, Monopole supplies the best vintages in the world to major players in the F&B industry, such as Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels.
Currently Using: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Jet Reports
Monopole originally used a solution that was installed on-premises to carry out their financial accounting. It could only be accessed during office hours, which caused delays in the monthly closing process.
They also needed to automate their warehouse management and e-commerce operations, but their old accounting software could not integrate any IT solutions designed for the task. This would make it necessary to transfer data between business systems manually, reducing productivity and visibility in their business processes.
To resolve these issues, Monopole needed a replacement for their accounting software that was cloud-based, and offered ease of integration for third-party software.
Originally reliant on an on-premise accounting software, Monopole was facing several business challenges that their pre-existing solution was not capable of resolving at the time.
Firstly, Monopole’s business model involved the transfer of inventory from a main warehouse to a specially designated consignment warehouse when duty fees have been paid on a batch of products that’s ready to be shipped to their clients. Their end users had to re-calculate the costs of more than 500 SKUs per week to take these fees into account, and the limitations of their old software meant this had to be carried out manually.
This was a tedious and time-consuming process, made no easier by the fact that Monopole’s accounting software could not be integrated with a warehouse management system (WMS) that could automate the calculations for greater efficiency. It also proved to be unable to integrate an e-commerce platform, which Monopole needed to support the establishment of an online store and delivery services.
Additionally, because the accounting software was installed on an on-premise server in their office space, it was not accessible to Monopole’s employees outside of office hours. This meant that their end users could not update any changes to inventory data until then, and regularly spent a significant portion of the working day catching up on the backlog of SKUs that needed to be updated.
Monopole also hired two different vendors for their corporate emails, one each for the Singapore and the Malaysian offices. This further compromised visibility into their overall back-end processes by separating the customer service process into two separate channels.
To improve the efficiency of their back-end processes, Monopole decided that they needed to digitalise their operations, and searched for a new software solution to replace their old accounting software and serve as the foundation of their path towards digital transformation. This eventually led them to choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
“We needed a cloud-based solution that will always be accessible for our end users, and can easily integrate with the other business solutions we were implementing to upgrade our back-end processes,” said Michael Chong, the Founder and Managing Director of Monopole Pte Ltd.
Business Central was much more flexible and customisable than their old accounting software, which came in handy when AFON carried out a customisation which allowed Monopole’s end users to automatically calculate the duty fees of their products with one click. Since it was a cloud-based ERP software, the end users could now update the data at any time of the day, in any location.
On top of that, AFON also integrated a barcode scanning solution with Business Central, which allowed Monopole’s employees to carry out stocktaking with the use of handheld scanners that quickly and accurately updated the inventory in the wholesale distributor’s warehouses.
To resolve the issue that having two separate email accounts was causing, AFON also implemented Office 365 for Monopole, and integrated the cloud-based productivity suite with Business Central. This consolidated the branding and customer management processes of the wholesale distributor into a single channel under the control of the Singapore office, and also allowed Monopole's end users to handle customer enquiries from any location, at any time.
AFON also included Jet Reports as part of the Business Central implementation, giving Monopole’s decision makers complete transparency into their back-end operations with automated generation of reports presenting the relevant sales, inventory and financial data on pre-formatted Excel spreadsheets.
For AFON, the successful implementation of Business Central for Monopole was made more impressive by the fact that the project was carried out entirely during Phase One of the Circuit Breaker period in 2020.
Despite the unprecedented challenges of carrying out an implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic, AFON was able to meet all project milestones on time while working remotely, without ever stepping foot in Monopole’s office premises.
“In a way, the necessity of work-from-home arrangements that was highlighted during this period actually helped with getting buy-in from my staff for the prospect of digitalising the way we work,” Michael recalled.
With the implementation of Business Central, Monopole has seen huge improvements in the efficiency of their back-end processes. These included a drastic reduction in the time needed for monthly financial closing, as well as significant improvements in the productivity levels of its workforce.
“Any solution is only as good as the ability of our partners to truly understand our business and the challenges we face, and to come up with an effective answer to these challenges promptly,” said Michael, who is looking into the next step of integrating SANA E-commerce with Business Central with the help of AFON.
“Such a partner can help you achieve marked improvements in your business, and prove to be money well spent,” he added.
With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Monopole Pte Ltd drastically reduced time spent on monthly financial closing, saw significant improvements in the productivity of employees, and achieved full visibility in their sales, inventory and financial processes.
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