Everybody who lives in Dar es Salaam knows JD Pharmacy, the well-known pharmacy chain that has several branches spread across the city. In 1990 the company opened their first shop in Kariakoo and now they are about to open their seventh shop at Diamond Plaza. What not everyone knows is that JD Pharmacy stores are run on Exact Software. For daily operations, JD Pharmacy uses Exact Point of Sales (POS) and Inventory Management. We had a talk with the owner, Sanjay Patadia.
Yes, it is. We started using Exact Software more than 10 years ago, in 2003. Before that, we were using another software in our stores but it could not handle a large number of items that were in our database. After crashing for three times I decided to look for a better option.
They were. Since I do a little programming (of the cash register) myself and we tried already several vendors, I knew exactly what I wanted – and what I didn’t want. Exact provided the robustness and stability we were searching for, even when handling large amounts of items and transactions that JD Pharmacy deals with.
JD Pharmacy has more than 18,000 items on sale and all the branches together process more than 1000 transactions per day. Additionally, we are always expanding and adding new items to our stock and Exact is able to accommodate this.
The Software is flexible and very broad oriented. We are in distribution, retail and wholesale and the software is flexible enough to support us across all disciplines.
Yes, I know and in fact, we want it. First, we need to solve some internal issues before we implement it. It will be a huge leap forward in terms of control.
I am very satisfied about that. The problem with implementing these systems is that there are a lot of components such as hardware, software, network, internet, etc. For every component, there is a different supplier and it’s a hard task to bring them all together and once issues arise everybody pushes the problem to someone else. Exact is unique in the sense that they take ownership and come to your site if necessary. They even coordinate with other vendors to get a solution!
Yes so far we have won 4 different awards; One for having the best-operated pharmacy in Tanzania, 2 times for being the best distributor and one for having the best distributor database. Additionally, in 2011 we were ranked number 49th of the top 100 SME’s in Tanzania. We are very proud of that because it is recognition by others that our efforts pay off.
Is it safe to say that Exact Software played a part in achieving those awards?
Without a doubt Exact was a major contributor for us achieving these awards.
Meet Henrik Nielsen, Resident Manager of Merry Water. Merry Water is the leading provider for water treatment, pumps and generators in Tanzania since 1989. It has 3 different product lines namely water treatment & purification, power generators and solar equipment. For handling their 7000+ items they use Exact Inventory Management.
We have been using it since 2006 now. Before that, it was rather chaos over here regarding inventory management. We did everything mostly by papers and decided it was time for a change. Through word of mouth we found out about Exact and we called them for a demo.
We already heard about the reputation of the company and knew some companies that were using Exact. Additionally the interface looked simple and easy to use, so we decided to go for Exact.
We use it for managing our stock. That means adding items to stock through purchase orders and issuing stock when we sell something, either through a job card, invoice or cash sale. We print our issue documents from the system on different color paper so it is very clear to whom it belongs. Currently about 10-12 people (out of 70) in the organization are using the software so you can say it is quite an essential system.
We have so much more control about our inventory. It gives us real time info about what we have in stock or not via a powerful search functionality. Since an item can have multiple article codes (for example the code our supplier uses and our own code) it is easy to get confused but with Exact you can search with any code you wish.
There are a few actually. One is the option to calculate the cost price of an item by adding the freight and clearing costs to the actual purchasing price which gives a more realistic picture than just the price of the supplier. Another one is the option to allocate serial numbers to individual items (e.g. generators) so we can easily track and trace machines if a customer has a complaint. Finally one feature that saves us a lot of time is the automatic ordering algorithm that suggests quantities of items to order based on actual stock levels and desired stock levels. The only thing I need to do is check and confirm the suggestion by the system!
Vodacom Tanzania is using Exact Salaries for their payroll and HR processes since 2002. Frank Bomani, Payroll Manager at Vodacom: “before, we were outsourcing our payroll processing to a third party but now we do it ourselves using Exact software. It gives us more control and we have all the information at our hands.”
Frank was using Exact software at his previous employer as well and the main reason he likes to work with Exact Salaries is that the interface is very user friendly and the support is excellent. “When there is an issue, a technician is ready to assist you immediately and try to solve the issue with TeamViewer. Moreover, if they cannot fix it remotely they will come to your site.”
Also the software is very flexible, he says. “With Exact you can’t go wrong with the government regulations on PAYE. It is very flexible and easy to change any changes in regulations”
Vodacom uses Exact for all their employee records in Tanzania, in total more than 500. Only 3 people are using the system and are responsible for all the salaries in Vodacom Tanzania. This year Exact build a linking module for synchronizing the employee data to the head office in South Africa. Frank: “Previously when the folks in South Africa wanted to know things about the status ofthe Tanzanian staff we had to create and send reports manually, very time consuming. Now they have direct access to our records, saving time and less errors. It even sends a notification when we a new member is added to our staff.”
This brings us to another benefit of working with Exact, as they build their own software they can very easily accommodate new features in the software as per your request. Another example is the option for employees to pay by M-Pesa in Vodacom’s canteen without credit in their account (using an Electronic Funds Transfer). “Exact made a link to their employee record so instead it will be deducted from their next salary. Very useful if you do not carry money at that time. It’s not a standard feature but it has been specifically build for Vodacom by Exact.”
One of successful tailor-made software projects that Exact has delivered was the IMIS Information System for Community Health Funds(CHF). CHF was introduced in Tanzania as part of the Ministry of Health’s endeavor to make health care affordable and available to the rural population and the informal sector. Exact Software has
implemented an information system for CHF’s Insurance scheme with the help of the Swiss Agency of Development and Cooperation (SDC).
The system’s architecture has been developed with experts in the field and offer full flexibility for its users. The features of the system cover the whole insurance process including enrollment (for adding and billing of insured) and inquiry (for handling claims). The users of the system are CHF (insurer) and medical institutions like clinics, hospitals and dispensaries. Currently IMIS has almost 200 users within CHF and 300+ medical institutions working with the system. Over 100,000 insured people are handled daily with IMIS. The project is in pilot phase currently in Dodoma region and will be rolled out all over Tanzania and Cameroon.
One of the requirements of the system was an interface that could be used purely with handhelds and tablets in areas where there is no IT infrastructure. Users of the system can check insurance policy (using QR codes) of patients, file claims and view reports with only a smart phone. The application can work without internet and sync once connectivity is restored. The interface is multi-lingual and supports both English and Kiswahili language.
Exact was received this assignment following a tender process and was awarded based on the approach, timeline and estimated costs.
In 2011 Exact Software migrated the information system of EWURA (Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority) to a web-based interface, making it more accessible for its users. The core system was developed by Exact Software earlier in 2006. The satisfying results lead to Exact being the preferred choice of vendor for EWURA.
Now with the new interface, 21 local and regional water authorities can upload their data for processing anywhere with a web browser. The data can be processed quickly and indicator reports can be produced without delays. Earlier with a system based on paper documents or Excel spreadsheets it could take months or even years to produce these reports. Better insights in water consumption has lead to a reduction of 75% of unaccounted usage in some regions.
Exact received this assignment following a tender process facilitated by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and was awarded based on the approach, timeline and estimated costs.
According to a comparative global study by PWC, Tanzania is not an easy place to do business as far as tax environment is concerned. It ranks 141 in the world (out of 189) for the ease of making payments to tax authorities. Moreover, even compared against other economies in East Afria, it is not faring well; it has the highest number of payments (48) for corporate taxes (the total of profit tax, labour tax plus other corporate taxes) in the region, as well as the second highest total tax rate (44.9%) among the East African countries.
In such a complex fiscal environment, it is essential to have good business software. Not only will this save you precious time but it will also reduce the risks of error, either intentional or unintentional, as well provide transparency for your organisation.
After some delay, the government of Tanzania has finalized the policy on Workers Compensation Fund, established under section 5 of Workers Compensation Act No. 20 of 2008. This was disclosed by Minister for Labour and Employment , Gaudensia Kabaka while tabling the ministry's 2014-2015 budget estimates. In effect all employers are required to contribute to the fund from July of this year (1% of the wage bill for private sector companies and 0,5% for public sector companies).
Fortunately it is very easy to do this if you are using Exact Vision Salaries. We created a small tutorial on how to do this, please follow this link. It will take less than 10 minutes.
Please contact us if you have any further questions.
So you are running a successful business in Tanzania. You found a nice shop or office in a good location, servicing your customers every day and found good people to run your company. But there is always that nagging feeling that things could go much better:
You wish you had more control over things happening in your organization, so you decided to finally upgrade to the best accounting software to meet today's standards.
But with so many options, which is the best package? Before making a decision, keep these things in mind:
1. Be careful with first timers, ask questions!
Pennywise, pound foolish they say. Sure everyone is trying to make some money and there is nothing wrong with that. But do you really want to act as a testing ground for a first timer?
Your financial administration is the backbone of your business. Accounting software can be pretty complex stuff with lots of business rules and exceptions. When talking to asoftware vendor who wants to sell you something, always ask if they have implemented the software before. How many times? And do they have experience with your particular line of business?
If they cannot answer you this questions in a convincing way, you may want to reconsider before you end up pound foolish.
2. Global brands may not be your best choice
The Tanzanian economy is growing fast but its regulations can be a bit challenging. Things are getting more transparent but at the same time, there is an increased burden to register things, for example with TRA printers for your invoices.
While considering an international brand, please be aware that they may not have these features covered in their software, adding extra steps and increased risk to your financial department.
A company from East Africa, on the other hand, has probably ample experience with local tax environment and most likely has built-in features to comply with the regulations, making your life a lot easier.
3. Local support is essential
As we mentioned before, the Tanzanian economy is doing well and many foreign companies want to enter this market. The number of business software packages available has therefore increased significantly in recent years.
But whereas it usually is easy to buy these packages at a local agent, Support can prove to be a major issue. Sure there will be a telephone number and chat option, but if there is really something going on, you don't want to rely on a helpdesk in a far away country like India, the United States or Dubai. You want people to come to your office and fix things.
4. Safety first
Your accounting software holds all your financial information and it is very important that this information is secure. This means that the software needs to have good back-up options as well as decent access to rights features.
Back-up functionality is necessary for unintentional data loss such as a system crash. Restricted access rights are essential for intentional breaches by people who have access to your system including your staff. The best accounting software not only has username and passwords for every user but is also backed up by a watertight database with no backdoor access. Make inquiries at your software vendor before your information is compromised!
5. Focus on what you need, not on what the package can do
Sure the list of features can be impressive in that new Accounting Software package. But are you going to use all those functionalities? Probably not!
It's better to take a moment and think about what you really need. Make a list and ask your vendor how these things are covered. Sometimes this list can contain less than ten items, sometimes they can be over a hundred. Whatever it is, ask questions and you get a pretty good idea about how experienced your new software supplier is.
6. Take a long-term approach
You are not buying a pair of shoes here. Most likely this software is going to support your business in many years to come. You are probably going to use it on a daily basis so please take the long term approach here.
Choose a software that is not only going to accommodate you now but also in the future where your business may hopefully be much larger (and more complex) than today.
Preferably, opt for a vendor who builds other business software as well so you can always expand easily. And most importantly, go for an IT partner who understands your line of business so he can really contribute to automating your processes.