A Chalmers project that resulted in a successful company. That is the simplest and shortest description of Jörlanda based Synteko; a business that manufactures and sells maintenance products for floors, where the product range mainly includes floor lacquers and oils. Since its inception in 1999, the company has grown and expanded to the United States and has built a steady network of business partners around the world. In 2019, the company was acquired by a investment company and thus took the step towards new opportunities, but also increased security and stability. With 20 committed employees and e4’s strong brand behind it, Synteko has great ambitions for future growth and profitability.
But daring to aim high is not always possible. Synteko reached a point when it was no longer possible to grow, not least because of an overly complex business, and it was realized that changes would have to take place.
“Previously, we had a financial system and a production system that didn’t talk to each other, which made the whole operation very complex. There was nothing to fall back on.”
Jonny Wiberg is Synteko’s CEO since 2022; a role he jumped into after being the company’s sales manager since 2021. After stepping into the new role, he got to see new perspectives on the business and became more aware of the shortcomings that existed. These challenges had existed for a long time and a process to find a new system had begun.
One challenge that needed to be solved was inventory management, which at the time was manual. They made it difficult to see what was actually happening and what was affected by what, which was both time- and resource-consuming. Another reason why it was time to look for another system was the acquisition in 2019. In connection with that, there were expectations from above about increased modernization, but also about the ability to extract data and information in an efficient and simple way. “Our way of working before works great in a small company, but we realized that as we are growing now and with the ambitions we have for the future, it was an unsustainable situation. That’s when we started checking or a system that could handle the entire flow,” says Jonny.
Focusing on production
However, choosing the right system is not always easy. Jonny tells us that it was particularly important for Synteko that the new business system could facilitate and streamline the administration of production. Production means that a great many ingredients are handled in each batch, which in turn means that it is important that the system can follow deliveries of raw materials. It was also important that the system could handle several different units, as you buy almost everything in kilos but sell everything in liters or pieces. In the past, these units have been equalized, but due to the density and other circumstances, errors were often caused that then needed to be corrected. All products and raw materials have a lifespan, which was also a reason why batch handling was a requirement in the new system. Standing with old products on the shelves can be very costly, not least as chemicals that become old need to be handled in a special way. It therefore becomes important that the system should be able to provide information about when a product or raw material starts to get old, so that it is possible to act in time.
“At first I thought we had chosen too big a system. But after conversations with my colleagues and with SEIDOR Nordics, I have realized that we are rather equipped for the future”.
Everyone on board
The attitude among the employees was initially positive towards the new system. As the implementation of the business system progressed, many people realized how much work it was and how many problems could arise if the right information is not in the system. “We would have saved an enormous amount of time if we had done it right from the start. That’s why we had a slow start and many people were very doubtful and thought that it doesn’t work and that everything is going wrong”.
Jonny continues and describes how he himself had the same attitude as the employees. Nothing worked, there was wrong information everywhere and it was all the system’s fault. But after a session with SEIDOR Nordics, everything became clear. “I then realized that there is an extremely heavy burden on us and that we have not understood the importance of having the right information in, but we have carried on as we have always done and with the attitude that “roughly is okay”. The possibilities in the system are endless and it is up to us to want to learn more”. Jonny goes on to say that from having been faced with a lot of worry and uncertainty, he now experiences a conviction that the implementation of the business system was the best the company ever did. Now there is a desire to fill the system with correct and new information and to add things that no one previously thought were needed.
How did everything go?
A clear example of how the business system has helped Synteko is the previous problem with products sitting and getting old in the warehouse. Before the implementation, it was guesswork that determined which product to pick from the shelf, which was further complicated by the fact that the products do not have an exact expiration date. It has already become possible to save a lot of money by being able to get that information from the system, and that it has increased awareness of the own production and product. It is now possible to act before a product or raw material runs out and thus avoid the cost that arises when old raw materials need to be destroyed. It is now also easier to avoid stoppages in production that can otherwise occur when the raw materials needed suddenly run out. Now it’s in
instead, it is possible to constantly be one step ahead and thus produce larger volumes, with the same staff.
“Now we are constantly one step ahead and that is what makes us feel secure about the future. We can avoid the cost of products and raw materials that become too old and we know all the time what to order and manufacture, which means that we can get out much more products with the same staff”.
Feedback from partners
Since Synteko only sells through partners, the relationship with them is important. With the help of Business One, the company can now convey more accurate delivery notices, keep delivery times, and better manage complaints; thanks to the traceability of the system.
“Now it works and we can do what is expected of us. It is an immediate effect of the fact that we have changed systems, that we know what to do and when. So we have received that feedback from many quarters. If something goes wrong, we can trace back to the point of manufacture and stop the products before they reach the end customer, which also saves a lot of money. It reduces both worries and bad will in the market”.
Dare to aim for the future
Synteko’s goal for the future is to reduce the product range. Previously, the focus was on being flexible and being able to fulfill each customer’s wishes, something that is not possible if you want to continue growing, according to Jonny. “It doesn’t work if you want to have large customers and large volumes. Now we are clearing out all the small products that do not have sufficient volume, something that is possible thanks to the fact that we now have a system that tells us how much we sell of each product”.
How will SAP support your future dreams?
Jonny emphasizes that SAP Business One has enabled the business to now be in a position where they dare to aim higher than ever. “The system is absolutely crucial for us to be able to reach our ambitions within a reasonable time frame”.
There is still much left for Synteko to explore in the business system; both in the form of features waiting to be implemented, as well as increased training and understanding of how the system works.
“You can certainly choose a much cheaper business system, but I think you get what you pay for. For our part, we might have managed with a simpler solution, but then at a certain point we would have had to start again, and business systems are something you prefer not to change”.