Home is indeed where the heart is – or where the sales are in this case! This maxim is apt for a Ghanaian-based company, HarTet Technologies Limited. This relatively upcoming African software solutions company was established some eight years ago. It now focuses on end-user business applications focusing on biometric and smartcard technologies.
It has rapidly evolved from an information systems concept to one of the fastest growing ERP solution providers in the capital city, Accra. With its locally engineered solution – SmartSaleERP, retail business owners are one step closer to having better management oversight over their business operations.
Ghana was touted to be one of the world’s fastest-growing economies in 2018; according to the World Bank, amongst a few other reputable institutions. Coincidentally, a great time to be in business!
So, what are its functions?
Firstly, just what is an ERP, you might ask? It is an abbreviation for Enterprise Resource Planning and is basically a tool/software used in small to large enterprises. SmartSaleERP is this for retail businesses – it is software typically installed on PCs and cashiering systems and works with all types of scanners and point-of-sale devices.
Can you imagine these have been in use since the industrial revolution and the introduction of chain stores and warehousing? So, what makes SmartSaleERP unique?
SmartSaleERP is an integrated tech platform targeted for retail business owners to assist them to be in much better control of their businesses. A distinguishing feature is the smartcard and smart technology.
“It focuses on operations of a business using technology to leverage efficiency of the operations of a business,” says Ghanaian born founder & Executive Director, Dr. Harold Okai-Tettey.
He is also the Chairperson of a think-tank and holding company HarTet Technology Limited – where the idea for SmartSaleERP was conceived.
So how has a company that seemingly offers nothing new, managed to stay on top of its game for so long? Standardization is its priority.
“We have striven to do that when we started out; In the process, we have been able to differentiate ourselves by implementing some of the things that allow us to be unique,” Dr. Okai Tettey explains.
Uniqueness of the tool
According to him, there are three main distinguishing features. Most ERP software focus on a function of a business. Salesforce focuses more on sales and marketing of a business. Others like QuickBooks focus mainly on accounting and only later devolved into other aspects of the business.
“A typical business has an operational function. We focus on the operations of a business. So SmartSaleERP essentially, is a one-stop solution for retail in general. We do not however, target any specific retail business,” he adds.
The other feature is the use of technology – biometric and smartcard tech to provide you with a better customer/user experience within the retail industry. This experience can be derived from both the customer and your business.
“Once you have the biometric details of the member – there is a lot more you can do with it. You can use fingerprint identification – it can welcome you in a gym. It can also follow your profile, your tastes and likes.”
SmartSaleERP uses such technologies to provide oversight and control over operations. “An example is in a gym or service retail – it is difficult to manage a services retail if you are not always physically present.”
Biometric allows the owner to identify actual individual “feet” traffic into the facility.
“Unlike stock retail, you can easily reconsolidate things by checking. Service retail is intangible, so you need other ways to effectively take control. Real checks and balances can be enforced,” Dr. Okai-Tettey emphasises.
Lastly, because they operate in different segments of retail, they compete with other technologies in different aspects of retail. “We compete with other dedicated software simultaneously”.
Technology is expensive. If a ‘Mum-and-Pop’ business want to make use of tech, there is a lot they must pay for to get all the functionality they need.
From $360 you can scale up the solution via a range of packages they offer. “It is all feature-based and is therefore dependant on the operations of the business – hinged on the complexity of the business,” Dr. Okai-Tettey states.
Philosophy and market positioning
SmartSaleERP may not yet enjoy a lion’s share of the local ERP solution market but has the systems in place and the expertise to cater for their specialised market – and scale up very quickly.
“Our staff knowledge, our contact with important suppliers is critical and that makes the difference in the end. We have this knowledgebase in-house that no one has in our industry,” Okai-Tettey continues.
This and other salient aspects are, to the PhD holder turned entrepreneur, far more important than actual selling. “The focus is to be more of a manufacturer of the technology.”
They want to concentrate on developing it and branding it appropriately, while providing solid technical support. “Marketing would be more of setting up partnerships with vendors to help them promote the end products – a similar model to the world renowned Coca Cola brand,” he says.
The focus rather, would be on development and functionality of the product and accompanying service. A great way to approach a business from a managerial perspective.
Certainly, different from the traditional mantra of sales being the life-blood of your business. “The vision of SmartSaleERP is for business owners to provide more value for their customers. The long-term goal is to be able to do just that. Not simply managing inventory and sales.”
The next stages
The future looks bright for them more so as the trend for online retail is growing rapidly in Ghana; and indeed, a worldwide phenomenon.
Firmly positioning themselves in the market however, is key to their drive in establishing SmartSaleERP as a brand of choice. “We are on a learning curve and have a firm grip on what our product is and is not.”
SmartSaleERP is certainly a niche product and not for every business undertaking.
“For those who are interested, we can certainly cater to their needs and are confident that there is a market out there for us. We constantly strive to discover exactly what the market needs are and to give our customers a satisfying experience.”