Tan Boon Ming (TBM) digitizes processes and enables more efficient reporting

 |   Microsoft Malaysia

Tan Boon Ming store in Cyberjaya

Tan Boon Ming Sdn Bhd (TBM), Malaysia’s one-stop appliances store, embarked on a digital transformation journey in 2016. One of its challenges was data synchronization and integration with the existing Warehouse Management System (WMS).

To overcome this, TBM adopted Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management. Today, the company also uses Dynamics 365 in other key areas and now enjoys an efficient accounting and reporting system, a clear view of its warehouse and inventory, and a consistent customer experience.

Tan Boon Ming Sdn Bhd (TBM) was founded with a vision to be a best-in-class service retailer, delivering quality in everything it does—from the products it sells to the services it offers. It was looking to transform its processes from manual paperwork to digital tools to enhance productivity, so the company invested in digitization by moving to Microsoft 365.

“We adopted the Microsoft 365 solution in October 2016 and it solved a lot of our challenges. We’re using OneDrive and SharePoint to collaborate on files rather than sharing account details, which we did previously and it was very awkward. We also use Cloud App Security for security and identity management through our cloud-based admin portal, and we efficiently manage our Microsoft licenses with Azure Active Directory group-based licensing management,” said Tan Wai Keat, General Manager at TBM.

Optimizing processes with Microsoft and Dynamics 365

Previously, TBM’s old system required heavy manual processing for more than 40 teams to perform stocktaking simultaneously. Long hours of manual efforts were spent on consolidation work so that stocktaking could be completed within a day and minimize operation downtime.

“We printed stacks of paper and distributed them to all the teams,” Tan begins, as he explains the warehouse activities. “At the end of the day, everything had to be tallied manually on paper, which was very inefficient.” The company was able to transform its stocktaking process by using OneDrive and saving multiple Excel files in SharePoint.

“We create one master file and 40 separate files for each team, which pass data back to the master file. Each team updates and saves their files in the drive and in the end, everything is consolidated in one master file,” Tan shares. “I am a productivity-focused person, that’s why I’m magnetized to Microsoft products,” says Tan.

Tan soon realized that converting to digital would improve many of the company’s other processes too. He wanted a data and process-driven platform that allows TBM’s employees access to needed information. To do that, the company had to overcome the challenges with the existing Warehouse Management System (WMS).

“Our WMS was a separate system,” Tan explains. “Sometimes we had missing data, as data wouldn’t translate from one system to another. But we really wanted everything to be under one roof.”

TBM then approached Agile Dynamics Solutions (ADS), a leading Microsoft Dynamics 365 Gold partner in Malaysia, which is committed to provide excellent customer experience and ensure that every project is implemented correctly, with a 100 percent implementation rate. ADS helped TBM to transform digitally with the help of Dynamics 365.

With Dynamics 365, Tan’s wishes were answered. The different components and solutions worked together flawlessly, showcasing a perfect interplay between Microsoft solutions.

“We’re able to pull out the live data from Dynamics 365 and then plug it directly into Microsoft Power BI,” Tan shares. “So now I can see almost real-time data on Power BI for say, my sales and inventory figures; they are updated four times a day, without any need for us to manually update the data. Now when I’m talking to my suppliers, I don’t have to run the reports. If they have any questions, I can get the exact numbers or percentages by dragging, dropping, or clicking on visuals,” he adds.

Information is also available with the click of a button and is consistent across all devices. “Now, I don’t have to come to the store and open my laptop to see what’s going on in my store,” Tan explains. “I can just pull up the data on my mobile phone from anywhere.”

With Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, TBM has a unified view of its warehouse, logistics, and inventory. TBM functions smarter since its digital transformation. “A major benefit that we are seeing now is in terms of data reporting,” Tan shares. “I don’t have to wait for a weekly report to make decisions. Dynamics 365 helps us a lot in this area.”

Integrated solutions for different parts of the business

“What we really like about Dynamics 365 is that there are so many modules under one roof. While we have not used everything yet, we’re looking at customer relationship management, customer portals, and forecasting modules,” says Tan. One module providing immediate benefits is Dynamics 365 Finance.

“After switching to Dynamics 365 Finance, my accounts and my finance reports are more reliable and easier to generate. We can customize our reports depending on what we want or how we want to present them. Whether we want a management report or an audit report by branch, year, month—we can slice and dice accordingly.”

In contrast to its previous system which was more reactive than proactive in its approach, Dynamics 365 is more reliable.

“In our previous system, we had to constantly request IT to fix bugs or to add a new feature,” Tan explains. “We were quite limited in terms of correcting things or adding new capabilities. In contrast, with Microsoft products, I don’t have to manage the IT infrastructure or the servers. I don’t have to be worried about security because Microsoft is taking care of that.”

Putting systems to the test

Dynamics 365 Commerce helped TBM’s online store continue to serve customers without any hiccups during Malaysia’s Movement Control Order period.

During this time, TBM had to close its physical stores but employees could access the system from their homes. Staff would still key in orders and arrange for products to leave the warehouse and be delivered to customers. Salespeople were able to generate quotations, check product availability and price, and update accordingly so that customers didn’t have to wait. The overall customer experience remained high.

Not only was TBM able to operate its online store during COVID-19, but in fact, it witnessed a five-fold increase in online sales. Tan attributes this largely to the consistency in customer service in the company’s online channels, that was on par with the experience in the physical stores. “When COVID-19 restrictions hit us, all the infrastructure was already in place,” Tan shares. “All we had to do was some fine-tuning and we were ready to roll again.

TBM is continuing to get the most out of its technology investments. “Now, we are exploring some of the modules that we already have but never had the time to go and play around with or fully utilize,” Tan explains. “Instead of spending more, we are actually extracting more value out of the investment we already made. External limitations helped us to test, as well as prove, that our current workflows and systems work,” he concludes.

TBM’s early investment in digital transformation has truly paid back in more ways than one.