In the video, Alexander Leppäkoski, IT Director at Suomalainen Kirjakauppa, talks about the successful implementation of an ERP system with Avoin.Systems and the benefits the system has brought to the company’s business.

The starting point for the project was to find a technologically sustainable solution that would also adapt to future needs

Suomalainen Kirjakauppa is a well-known Finnish brand that is more than 100 years old and offers its customers experiences, benefits and content in more than 50 stores nationwide, as well as online. In addition to a comprehensive range of books, Suomalainen Kirjakauppa’s extensive product range also includes numerous gift, craft and hobby products.

We were given responsibility for Suomalainen Kirjakauppa’s ERP project when the company’s old ERP system reached its technological end of the road. “Our old system was more than 20 years old and the technology was already out of date. We no longer had any real possibilities to further develop or maintain the system,” says Alexander Leppäkoski, IT Director at Suomalainen Kirjakauppa.

The starting point for the project was to replace the old system with a future-compatible solution that could be easily adapted as the company’s needs changed. The system should be able to handle a large amount of data and communicate seamlessly with other systems. The system was also designed to be easy to use and cost-effective, so that it could be built from scratch rather than having to learn how to build and use it. To meet these needs, the company chose the technologically modern and easily expandable modular Odoo ERP system.

A complex system project requires good communication and mutual support

The goal of Suomalainen Kirjakaupan’s ERP project was to implement a system that would cover the company’s entire product flow management, as well as the related sales and purchasing functions and stock transaction records. The scope of the system is reflected in the fact that Suomalainen Kirjakauppa’s product range consists of hundreds of thousands of products, all of which flow through the ERP system.

“We didn’t really start out looking for new functions. When replacing such a large system with a new one, the primary objective is not to build new functionality, but to ensure continuity of operations,” Leppäkoski explains the system’s implementation philosophy.

Suomalainen Kirjakauppa was looking for agility and flexibility from its ERP partner. The project started with a careful definition and description of the company’s needs, from which the system was implemented using agile methods. “We chose Avoin.Systems because they are agile in their operations – meaning we were able to find the flexibility we were looking for. As is often the case with systems projects, needs can change and not everything goes exactly as hoped. That’s when we need a partner to bring flexibility to the project,” Alexander Leppäkoski describes the collaboration.

Good communication was key in a long-term and complex project. During the project, communication was constant, and the progress of the project was actively monitored in weekly meetings. As is often the case in ERP projects, the project experienced both ups and downs, but through active discussion, challenges were overcome. “It’s a very complex system that is responsible for practically all of our goods movement, so we can’t assume that the project itself would have been easy – in the end, the project has been completed with a good feeling and it’s good to continue with further development,” Leppäkoski sums up.

Technical implementation of the system

A versatile system that covers the entire product flow management of Suomalainen Kirjakauppa

A versatile and efficient system package was implemented for Suomalainen Kirjakauppa, with Odoo ERP at its core. The new system, called Sampo, runs the entire inventory management, purchasing and product data management of Suomalainen Kirjakauppa.

The solution manages more than 100 new product data fields. The new system also enables the management of corporate customers, B2B and B2C invoicing of checkout shipments and reporting. E-commerce orders will also be connected to Sampo for stock balances and reporting.

A key part of the implementation is an integration platform that efficiently coordinates data flows between, for example, the data warehouse, the central warehouse, suppliers, the purchase optimisation system and the financial management systems. Tailored solutions implemented in Sampo, such as API interfaces and flexible data sending capabilities, enable smooth import and export of data – for example, outbound data can be managed and configured independently by the customer.

Sales order automation and rerouting ensure efficient and available deliveries, while purchasing-related enhancements – such as preferred supplier, supplier availability and purchase order check alerts – streamline purchasing processes.

It is also essential that the system guides the user to act in accordance with the company’s processes and prevents them from doing the wrong thing. The employee experience is improved by minimising the number of things that need to be done in the system and focusing on the customer encounter. In turn, when the end customer is served quickly and personally, this has a direct impact on the customer experience.

New ERP system brings agility and development cost savings to Suomalainen Kirjakauppa

One of the most significant benefits of the new ERP system for Suomalainen Kirjakauppa has been the reduced development costs. The new system can be developed in a much more agile way and thanks to its open source code and modularity, the development can take advantage of ready-made functionalities implemented in the system. “The use of pre-built functionality significantly reduces labour costs, but also the lead time. In other words, we get new features in place faster, which in turn supports our business,” Leppäkoski emphasises.

Suomalais Kirjakauppa has also been particularly pleased with the system’s clear and modern user interface. In addition to the user interface, the system is praised for its easier handling of data. “In the new system, we can build the reports we want much more clearly, because the data that the new system feeds into our data warehouse is easier to understand and process. This makes it much clearer to build different reports and also allows us to monitor our activities better,” says Leppäkoski, describing the benefits of the new system.

The next step for the system will focus on improving business efficiency

At the initial stage of using the system, Suomalainen Kirjakauppa has not yet set its sights on significant process improvements, but the company sees it as a priority that the new modern solution has made it possible to streamline and speed up business operations.

“At this point, when the system has been replaced by another, we have reached the point where the business is running, but the system itself offers us opportunities to improve and speed up our processes. For example, we are talking about automated receipts or speeding up receipts in general, which would not have been possible on the old system. Now we can really keep up with developments and focus more on the things that are important to us,” says Leppäkoski.

Suomalainen Kirjakauppa will now focus on further development of the system, with the aim of making it easier for stores to operate. “We have more than 50 stores where we work, and when we can improve the efficiency of minutes in the daily operations of the stores, it will already have a big impact on our business,” Leppäkoski specifies.