Project Description


Trefoil identified in 2014 that it needed a new ERP system that could handle high transaction volumes, incorporate warehouse scanning and remain relevant as the business planned for future growth. This is the story of the team’s journey from using an outdated system to the more sophisticated Sage X3.


We spoke to Trefoil’s CEO, Alan Robertson, to learn how Sage X3 has benefited the business so far.

Tell us a little more about your business and the industry you operate in

Trefoil is a wholesale distributor of office, home and scholastic product consumables. We move many boxes around so we must get the scale right to make the numbers work. We have many product lines in varying denominations with several different stock combinations. Our head counts at all sites and locations nationally is more than 100 permanent staff.

Why were you looking for a new ERP system?

The challenge was to find a system that could handle the volume of transactions, not only because of the stock items, but because of the number of items that have to be processed on an invoice to make it economically viable to deliver that invoice.

We began to recognise in 2014 that we needed to address the issue of scanning and the next step of the IT process. The challenge with Accpac for Windows (now Sage 300) was that scanning wasn’t an integral part of Sage 300. This meant that we had to seek an alternative that could support the future growth of the business. This is where discussions about Sage X3 started to take place.

Why did you partner with SynergERP?

SynergERP is a Sage X3 expert and at this stage, had already been working with Trefoil for many years. We did the original Accpac for DOS conversions to Accpac for Windows with SynergERP. It understands our business and software requirements.

Describe the implementation process and collaboration with SynergERP

The implementation project was efficiently planned and managed over a year. Our busiest season is back to school (between September and February). You can’t mess with system changes in that time. We only had a window in March/April to make changes.

We appointed an in-house IT director to help facilitate the process and to serve as a single point of contact. SynergERP worked extensively with our director on site to implement Sage X3 on time. We wanted to drive ownership of the new system, so collaboration and adoption was key. SynergERP helped us re-evaluate our processes and identify which system elements to focus on first so as not to overwhelm the business with too much change and, in turn, risk.

Management drove the change from the top with the rest of the employees. We even appointed an independent educator to train our staff on Sage X3 before going live. When we went live, it was amazingly smooth because of the extensive planning, collaboration and preparation that had happened before.

What improvements have you seen in your business since onboarding with Sage X3?

  • Greater productivity:

    Sage X3 has helped us manage stock per location in much more detail. On Sage 300, we would generate a pick ticket for all items even if there was no stock on hand. This meant that an employee would waste time walking around looking for stock that wasn’t there. Now they only check identified stock in the specific identified location. This aspect has boosted employee productivity immensely, so much so that in November 2017 (only seven months after going live), our sale units were up 6% on the previous year and overtime in that same period was down 40%. Employees are no longer chasing hours, but aim to be more productive and efficient.

  • Valuable data insights:

    Our middle managers are no longer managing perceptions, they’re managing against statistics based on live data. For instance, a picker knows how many lines he pulls because these figures are now transparent and available, so they can strive to improve. We have an insight into operations in every province: I can see profit and loss, stock levels and employee performance across all locations from my desk. We are also now able to manage and remunerate the many seasonal contractors differently with better technology tools.

  • A unified system and improved customer experience:

    Thanks to Sage X3, our entire business is managed from one integrated system – from sales, procurement, warehouse, IT and customer accounts. Even if a customer collects a delivery from a different branch, it will automatically update and reflect on our side with no duplications. We have one set of master data that everyone collaborates on.

  • Opportunities for growth:

    Sage X3 has opened new business acquisition opportunities because it is so scalable and flexible. You can now add a new business location to the system and apply the existing processes literally in just a few clicks.

About the Company


  100-1000 Employees

  South Africa

“Thanks to Sage X3, our entire business is managed from one integrated system – from sales, procurement, warehouse, IT and customer accounts.”

Alan Robertson, Trefoil CEO


We’d like to meet you – and learn more about your business.