ParagonERP helps international handbag company get control of their business operations

May 6, 2020
Aspen Murray

Running a successful business is hard. But it can be even harder when the systems you use to run your business don’t work.

HB Connections, a successful Montreal-based handbag company, spent years struggling with their back-end operations. As a global company that focuses on the wholesale and distribution of mass-market and high-end handbags including brands like Kendall + Kylie and Pajar, they wholesale to clients like Saks, DSW, AMAZON in North America, while also distributing to international distributors across all continents and over 50 countries.

What challenges were they facing? Identifying the pain

As their company grew, the back-end of their operations couldn’t keep up. Like many companies, HB had multiple systems holding the same information. According to Gaby Berelovich, Executive VP of Finance and Operations, “Our accounting department was using Quickbooks, our inventory management was using Excel files and so was sales - but they were different Excel files. It was a complete mess of files everywhere.”

These disconnected systems led to mistakes and problems. There were often mismatches between inventory files and accounting records, so if the accounting team didn’t do a manual monthly checkup, inventory numbers were always off. The company relied on the efforts of employees who spent a huge amount of time checking, double-checking, and correcting these numbers — time they could have used in better ways.

Moreover, HB deals with a lot of international customers, which of course means different prices in different currencies. Because of these variations, there were several occasions when they accidentally charged distributors the wrong prices, resulting in conflict and financial losses. Once again, it was through the support of the diligent employees that HB was able to avoid the most potentially damaging problems.

It became very clear that the human effort required to manually manage processes wasn’t sustainable in the long term. All of these challenges taught HB that they needed to do something different. They needed an ERP. But, based on the many ERP-related horror stories Gaby and his staff had heard, they resolved to do comprehensive research and make the best decision for their business.

Which ERP to choose? The decision-making process

Gaby and his team immediately identified two non-negotiables for their ERP options. They knew that they didn’t want a server-based system because of the costs and complications associated with managing their own server. Second, their past experience with decentralized data meant they wanted their accounting built into their ERP system instead of connecting it to an external or even integrated accounting tool.

Then, they split their options into two categories. There were the expensive yet well-established industry leaders like SAP Business One and Microsoft Dynamics 365. On the other hand, there were newer, Cloud-based systems that are emerging in the market and are less expensive and more user-friendly.

HB spent a lot of time reviewing the first category. It made sense to them initially to go for an established and trusted option. However, after an abundance of research and due diligence, they knew that the value just wasn’t there. Compared to the second category, implementation would be extremely costly, lengthy, and tricky.

So they ruled that category out. That’s when they took a closer look at ParagonERP and realized it was pretty much a no-brainer. Not only did it excel feature-wise, but it was also the only choice that allowed them to keep their accounting inside their ERP. After a demo and a few meetings with Jonar’s business development team, they felt confident that ParagonERP was the right choice for their business.

How does the system work for their business? The implementation process

Gaby was quick to admit that they understood the implementation process was going to be difficult. With a system so comprehensive and responsible for so much data, getting up and running is no easy task. “But we knew from the pre-implementation stage that working with ParagonERP would be worlds different from the other ERP options. Those other options would require a developer to re-code the system every time we wanted anything changed,” explained Gaby.

Like all implementations of ParagonERP, HB’s Cloud-based system was installed in less than ten minutes after they purchased it online. From there, with the support of Jonar Services, Gaby and his staff used Paragon’s unique attributes and rules to configure it to work for their unique business needs. For instance, they solved their previous customer pricing problems by using attributes to connect different classes of customers to specific prices.

So, did it work?

Almost a year after HB implemented ParagonERP, their business is more productive. They’re not suffering from the data confusion issues that were negatively impacting their business before and their staff can now focus on growing the company and strengthening client relationships, rather than wasting time sorting out inventory and accounting inconsistencies.

“Choosing an ERP takes time and patience, but if you take the time to think about how your business works and what you need from your software, it will be well worth the effort,” says Gaby.

The better way to run your business