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Spearmark International

Industry : Licensed Character Merchandise
Scenarios : Manufacturing Business Processes



Navision Integrated Manufacturing system and partnership approach provides Spearmark International with rapidly deployed business information solution.

Company background

Spearmark International Ltd has been trading as a family business since 1908 and has progressed through a diverse product range including toys, games and character merchandise. The company is now firmly established as Europe’s leading Licensed Character Housewares Company specialising in the areas of room décor, tableware and most recently a range of energy saving, cool running bedside lamps. Examples include Mugs, Tumblers, Plates and Lunch Boxes with characters depicted like Harry Potter, Barbie, Spider Man and The Tweenies.

The Company now occupies a large site in St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, comprising Storage Warehouse, Assembly area and Offices and now employs around 70 Staff within Warehouse and Distribution, UK / Export Sales, Operations, Accounts, IT and Research and Development functions. A second company-owned Warehouse facility is situated in Sandy, Bedfordshire and there are several external Outwork Centres for sub-contracted assembly work.

The Business Need

The company required a Management Information System that would allow them to effectively manage and grow the business. A key requirement for the new solution is that it must be fully integrated and pay for itself by improved efficiencies in the business process. Although management information could be extracted from the existing systems, this was a time consuming exercise, which must be rectified by the new solution. Existing systems in use within Spearmark consisted of an array of financial and office systems accepting both manual and computerised data entry. Tetra CS3 was being used for ledgers, inventory, works order processing and MRP. . SAGE is used for the payroll function, and Excel was used for a variety of financial procedures. Manual methods were still being used for cash & batch books and bank reconciliation.

Selection Process

Emphasis was placed on the expertise of the supplier in the provision, commissioning and support of any solution, as well as the ability to meet all the requirements from one source. After careful evaluation of potential suppliers who could meet these criteria, Anglia Business Solutions were approached to carry out a detailed analysis of existing processes and procedures, and to supply a solution model for the potential replacement system using the Navision Attain suite of software.

Spearmark specified that any potential system should meet several key requirements. These included the provision of a single totally integrated business management solution accessible throughout the whole organisation and that could expand as the business grew. The new solution also had to address some functionality requirements, such as the ability to communicate with external partners via email and fax, to cease printing on dot matrix printers and eliminate the need to use pre-printed stationery.

The Solution

The Navision Attain solution implemented by Anglia Business Solutions utilised several Navision Modules, including; General Ledger, Sales & Receivables, Purchases & Payables, Inventory, Warehouse Management, Manufacturing, Report, Data Transfer, Form Designer and Table Designer. The project also included other services such as project management and customised user training.

As part of the solution model, Anglia carried out a detailed Infrastructure Audit to ascertain the suitability of the existing hardware and network and to ensure that the infrastructure would also support the company’s growth plans.

Navision was used to replace existing financial systems in the areas of General, Sales and Purchase ledgers. Navision Attain’s integrated facilities are used to accept periodic accounting transactions across all modules and to control the complete finance system, thereby replacing the Tetra CS3 system.

Navision report writer facilities are used to create user-defined reports for both Statutory and Management Accounting purposes, avoiding the need to report through Excel.

Two major areas where the Navision solution has greatly reduced administration time is the in production of VAT & Intrastat returns and cash & bank management. Data was extracted manually in order to produce the Statutory VAT Return each quarter. This function is now automatically completed in Navision using a definable VAT Return template to produce the report. Intrastat Journals were also previously produced manually, which could take up to two days to prepare. These are now also produced automatically by Navision using EU Trade transaction entries.

Cash & bank management procedures for Spearmark’s 4 main currency accounts were carried out using 8 manual cash books maintained for each of the Sales & Purchase ledgers. This information was also re-keyed into the Tetra CS3 system, creating the potential to introduce data errors. In addition, manual procedures were also used for Bank Reconciliation and Petty Cash. Standard Cash Manager granules in Navision now replace all manual operations. Real time bank transactional information is maintained for each account including the posting of Interest and Bank Charges. Spearmark utilised the Lloyds Link system to manually process certain payments. Navision functionality was amended to automatically produce an output file that could be read directly into the Lloyds Link program.

Navision sales order functionality is used to enable on-line entry of all data relating to sales orders, replacing the existing cumbersome processes. Navision functionality was also enhanced by Anglia Business Solutions to include a function to import the individual EDI files from each of Spearmark’s major customers. The EDI information is converted directly into sales orders and sales order lines. A customer invoice can also be sent via EDI eliminating the need for a printed invoice.

A further crucial requirement for Spearmark is the ability to facilitate Material Resource Planning (MRP) across multiple locations, as stock is also held at an external warehouse facility and several outwork centres. This functionality was essential to minimise inventory.

Standard features from the Navision Attain Inventory module were used to provide required functionality such as; multiple units of measure, product analysis groups, codes, re-order points, pricing and price group codes. The Physical Inventory Journal provides Spearmark with stock count functionality across multiple warehouse locations.

Navision Warehouse Management functionality is used to facilitate the efficient and traceable receipt, put away, picking and shipping of goods, taking into account the specific requirements demanded by Spearmark’s major customers.

An unusual requirement for this solution is the need to manage royalty payments for the use of the various character designs and the ability to calculate rebate payments to Spearmark’s customers. Standard Navision functionality was easily tailored to meet this key requirement.


Darren Price, Spearmark’s Finance & IT Manager, comments ”Our current system did not allow the flexibility to meet the changing requirements of the business. In Navision Attain we could see that the computer system could be adapted to meet our business needs rather than change our processes because of the predefined computer requirement. We knew that if we were to realise our full potential we needed a fully integrated, modern and flexible business management system. Using Navision we now have a solution that meets the needs of all of our 20 users providing one source of information and a complete up to date view of the performance of the business”.

Working to tight deadlines, the project was completed within 4 months and to budget.

Services Required

Windows Network Infrastructure Audit
Data Transfer from Tetra CS3
User Training
Navision Software Development
Documentation Design Services

Software & Hardware

Navision Attain
Financial Module
Manufacturing Module
Warehouse Mgmt Module


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