Sage 300 ERP: What You Need to Know

Rossey Charleston
December 18, 2015

Small wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers looking to grow rapidly often consider an ERP solution to be an integral tool to support their growth efforts. One of the leading solutions targeted at smaller companies like these is the Sage 300 ERP system. Sage 300 is a cost effective solution, with implementations that can cost from $150 to $2500 per user as opposed an ERP implementation that can cost upwards of ten times that for an enterprise grade ERP solution. It has a broad range of functionality specifically targeted at distribution companies with an international presence. It is able to bridge the gap between a startup’s need for simple accounting software and a more robust ERP solution.

The Sage 300 ERP: Background Information

Sage 300 is owned by Sage Group, a software company based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Founded in 1981, Sage entered the US market in the early 1990s and is now one of the leading accounting and financial software providers in the world. Sage 300 is the best fit for companies with 5 to 250 or more users, with general to advanced accounting needs. It is noted for its strong distribution and industrial capabilities. It is also easily scalable, able to expand rapidly with a fast growing business. The Sage 300 ERP system uses a concurrent user license approach versus named licenses, which means that user licenses are purchased based on the number of users who require access at one time. This can make a big difference in keeping the solution cost effective in a distribution environment, where multiple users might be using a single workstation, as you’re essentially paying per station, rather than per user. Sage 300 was known as Accpac until 2012, when the Sage Group went through a rebranding effort. Accpac’s history goes back to 1976, when the company was founded as the Basic Software Group in Vancouver, Canada. Basic Software Group was known for its desktop computing applications, including its EasyWriter word processing program and MS DOS-based accounting software products. These were marketed as EasyBusiness Systems, first in Canada and then eventually in the United States from the early through mid-1980’s. Eventually EasyBusiness’s accounting module was branded as Accpac, then acquired; first by Computer Associates, and later by Sage Group.

Sage 300 ERP Functionality

Sage 300 supports business processes related to financials, inventory, projects, payments, customer management, and more. It can support multicurrency and multiple language needs of companies with an international presence, as well as the operation of multiple companies, business units, and subsidiaries. Sage 300 is available on-premise or as a web-based (hosted) deployment. Functionality that is specific to distribution includes quick look-up of inventory statistics and inquiries, a fully integrated sales order/shipment/invoice process available from the customer screen, and the ability to generate a purchase order from a sales order or when inventory levels are low. Seasonal and location based automatic reordering is also available. The inventory module can support as many as eight costs per location, including standard, average, LIFO, FIFO, most recent, serial, and lot costing methods. Users can drill down into inventory information easily from any screen, including the ability to view quantities on purchase orders and sales orders. GL batches can be created automatically or as part of day-end processing, allowing you to control how and when large-batch processing takes place. A few other benefits of Sage 300 ERP for wholesale distribution include:

  • Users can enter orders, ship and invoice from a single screen.
  • One purchase order can be generated from multiple requisitions.
  • Multiple purchase orders can be consolidated on a single receipt.
  • A single invoice can be generated from multiple shipments.

Users can manage and enter reorder quantities by date, as well as enter active, standing, future, and blanket purchase orders, generate multilevel Bills of materials, or manage vendor and customer details for each inventory item. Multiple price lists are supported, including by customer type, payment method, region, or currency.

Sage 300 ERP Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths of Sage 300 ERP include a solid distribution module, strong Multi-language and multi-currency features, a capable business intelligence module and reporting capabilities that can meet the needs of most smaller companies. One weakness that has been noted about Sage products overall is in the area of reporting and processing.  Sage – because it is typically aimed at smaller companies with more limited requirements - has more limited reporting functionality than some of its larger competitors and slower processing speeds for higher volumes of data, particularly in its web-based or hosted deployments. Overall, Sage 300 ERP is a great solution for smaller distribution companies with some international requirements and that are looking to grow. It can support a company’s needs as it grows well into the mid-market, and can provide support for best practices that can carry a company forward as it grows into the enterprise segment. Is your company considering investing in Sage 300, or have you already done so? Let us know what you do or don’t like about it in the comments.