From time to time a customer approaches us directly. They want us to implement our solutions in their company directly cutting out “the middleman” from our partner network, after all we have our own team of consultants and we do offer a direct relationship to our customers in Poland so why not elsewhere? Well the answer is, just because we can do a thing, that doesn’t always make it a prudent thing to do.
The decision to distribute ProcessForce and our other solutions outside of Poland via a network of partners was a carefully considered one and most of the reasons for doing so are actually very customer-centric.
Of course, it would be disingenuous not to say that it benefits CompuTec too. We can distribute ProcessForce and our other solutions more widely, and more quickly using our partner network. We have partners in more than 60 countries and developing that kind of international presence alone would certainly have taken us decades. It is fairly unlikely that we would have customers in places like Fiji and Brazil without the support of our partner network. However, even if that were not the case, we would still strongly believe that the partner model offers the best level of service and the best value for our customers. There are a number of reasons for this logic which I’ll outline below.
Local knowledge and experience
We know how businesses are run here in Poland, we understand the local business culture and ways of doing things and we have knowledge about the laws and regulations that companies have to comply with. If we tried to handle things in the same way in China, we would surely end up with some confused and probably quite unsatisfied customers even when it comes to such basic things as approaches to the working day. Our partners make all of these issues disappear with their inherent understanding of the environment they are operating in and knowledge of local business practices.
Tailor- made service
No two businesses are alike says the old adage but just because it is old, doesn’t make it any less true. Every customer has different needs even if they are producing almost identical products to another. That’s why the SAP Business One model of a strong base product with the option to purchase extensions works so incredibly well.
Our partners have access to not only our solutions, but other extensions for SAP Business One too. Your CompuTec partner will look at your needs, look at the available solutions and put together a package that will fit in precisely with your business needs. Because most partners have access to a large range of solutions it also allows them to be impartial in choosing the right ones for your business.
Many partners have their own developers who can also develop bespoke extensions or connect solutions from different providers to work together. We do design our solutions so that they are as flexible as possible but sometimes a customer needs a very specialized extension or is active in areas of business that our solutions don’t cover but they still want one consolidated ERP solution. Here our partners are worth their weight in gold.
We ensure that all of our partners understand manufacturing but manufacturing can mean very different things. Some of our partners are very large, have a large number of experienced consultants and can cater to a wide range of industries, even beyond manufacturing. This means they can bring innovative ideas from other industries to you which can yield some great results in organizing your operations and forming a business strategy.
Other partners specialize in a particular industry or small group of industries and have seriously in-depth knowledge of the challenges of businesses in that particular vertical. This is very advantageous for customers in highly regulated industries such as food and beverage, life sciences, chemicals, personal care and so on. In these industries, each implementation is aided exponentially by consultants with specialist industry knowledge.
Either way, both types of partner offer something to our customers that would be very difficult for us to realize on an international scale without them. Furthermore, by belonging to our network all our partners have access to the knowledge and experience of other partners around the world which is a topic I will return to shortly.
Quality service from correctly trained, certified experts
When a potential partner approaches us, it isn’t a case of us allowing just anyone who is willing to sell our products. We are not selling bars of chocolate which can be sold and consumed within a matter of minutes. We are selling powerful and comprehensive business solutions which we hope will serve our customers well for decades to come and we need people who we can trust to guide and support our customers through the implementation process and continue to work with them beyond that. Before they even get as far as being a CompuTec partner, the company in question must be an SAP Partner which is no easy feat in itself. SAP partners undergo vigorous vetting and training. They are all certified and must have a proven track record to even be considered.
But even that isn’t enough for our needs. After we have established that our partner is competent in SAP Business One we look for experience and knowledge in manufacturing, we spend many hours talking to our potential partners about their experiences and expectations, ask for references from previous customers and consider how reliable they have been in our interactions. Then, after signing an agreement, we provide them with all the training and support they need. It is in nobody’s interest for us to work with unvetted, unqualified companies so our customers should rest assured that we never do so.
Strength in numbers
Not all of our partners are in competition with each other, in fact they very often find support from partners in other parts of the world. Perhaps if a partner is entering a new industry, they can get support, advice and customer references from elsewhere in the network. Just one recent example of this is a highly-qualified and experienced consultant from North Africa who supported a new partner on their first ProcessForce implementation in South America with great success.
Our customers and partners also play a key role in our product development strategy. A request from a customer in Holland can bring about a new function which can be used in Hawaii too. By sharing knowledge and ideas on a global scale, everyone benefits and we end up with a better product for all our customers.
A new friend for life?
Finally there is the human factor. Implementing a new ERP system is a big project for any company, especially manufacturers. It is really important that as a customer, you feel comfortable with your partner who you will have to work with for, in most cases, at least the next six months. Even after implementation is complete, it would be ideal to deal with the same partner for support, upgrades and the inevitable periodical reevaluation of your business needs simply because they will have a really in-depth understanding of your operations.
So you should be looking to enter this relationship for the long term. It isn’t necessarily about one partner being better than another. It’s about chemistry, a feeling of confidence in your partner’s skills and a shared long-term vision that should ideally exist between you. Having a choice of partners to work with means you can get to know several partners operating locally to you and go with your instincts about which one will serve your business best for many years to come.
Our global network of more than 80 carefully selected partners, who collectively have nearly 300 offices worldwide, has served us well. It is a way of doing business that works well for us and for our customers and we would like to keep operating this way for the foreseeable future and beyond. The most important thing that we can take away from all this is that our partners add tremendous value to our solutions through their dedication and service and at this time of year, it seems appropriate to extend a warm thank you to them all and raise the proverbial glass to many, many more years of cooperation and many, many more satisfied, well-taken-care-of customers.