iStyle is an Apple Premium Reseller operating one of the largest chains in the Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe. In February of 2005, their first store opened in Dubai. Today, iStyle's staff is trained by Apple on a monthly basis, and they now employ approximately 300 employees with 49 retail and 9 online stores. In those stores, customers will find the complete range of Macs, iPads, iPhones, and iPods along with a wide variety of accessories and software. iStyle is a part of Arab Business Machine Ltd., a subsidiary of the multinational Midis Group, and remains the only Apple Premium Reseller in the UAE.
At the beginning of 2008, iStyle initiated its two year plan to open 40 Apple stores throughout the Middle East. Prior to that, the company had only three stores in the UAE, each one running on a standalone HansaWorld Express system.
iStyle was searching for a single corporate solution that would accommodate four locations in the UAE, four in Saudi Arabia, and one in Lebanon; all of which were to be opened within the first few months of 2008. They needed a system that would allow them to manage this vast operation, a system that provided clarity and comprehensive data to make better and faster management decisions.
Before choosing Standard ERP, they evaluated PayGo, which only offered a point of sale system, Great Plains, which did not run on Mac, and Xsilva, which was not suitable for multi-branch locations and lacked local support. No other system was sufficient in fitting their future business plans.
The search was over when iStyle selected Standard ERP and began working with the local office in Dubai for implementation. Still highly satisfied with HansaWorld's products and support, iStyle is now using Standard ERP.
“There were several reasons we went for HansaWorld. [Standard ERP] runs beside Windows and Linux, also on Mac platform, and can be run as easily and effectively in a multi-store environment as in a single store. Standard ERP is also capable of handling the different legal and taxation requirements for all the countries where we operate, which was a very crucial need for us,” said Mr. Ghassan Bendali, iStyle's Deputy General Manager.
Having the ability to work in offline mode is another factor leading iStyle to continue choosing HansaWorld products. This allows them to continue serving their customers, even in cases where they lose internet connection.
In 2008, iStyle implemented Standard ERP, front and back office systems, including Accounts, Point of Sale, Inventory, Purchasing and CRM. Today, they are using Standard ERP with 20 concurrent and 30 POS users.
Among the many features iStyle enjoys is the multi-company functionality which enables them to operate in each country with the appropriate currency and tax requirements.
Barcode scanners, through Standard ERP, makes it easy to track and sell products, each with a unique serial number. This reduces the risk for error, preventing the need to enter item numbers manually.
The company manages their central purchasing through Standard ERP as well, making it possible to see each store's inventory levels from the main warehouse, and then distribute the items accordingly.
In 2014, iStyle began using the cloud, opting for HansaWorld's hosting services for speed, stability, and security.
“We need to have a good view about the overall operation and sales data in stores,” Mr. Bendali explained.
"[With Standard ERP]’s wide area networking capabilities, we can log in from anywhere and get a birds-eye view of all the showrooms in real-time."
Ghassan Bendali | Deputy General Manager
Hardware resources can be quickly scaled up to meet business demands with minimal interference in day-to-day operations. “Standard ERP provides cost-effective solutions vital to iStyle's operations, such as full integration of sales and inventory data with real-time reporting,” explained Mohamed Saad from iStyle's service partner. “[Standard ERP]'s cloud option means iStyle always has access to accurate sales and inventory data on a flexible system with reliable security. Being able to efficiently manage customer information and sales records from any company location allows iStyle to offer a higher quality customer service experience.”
All of these functions, and more, streamline iStyle's operations while significantly enhancing productivity. Mr. Bendali, describing these effects, explained “[Standard ERP] has given us the possibility to get more information of the whole operation quicker. Running a few reports allows us to get up-to-date information about the sales values for all the showrooms. Our users are more consistent and make less errors as they don’t need to double-capture data.”
Using Standard ERP, iStyle has dramatically reduced the time spent on retrieving inventory data and calculating the needs for each location. Additionally, ordering processes are automated between the main warehouse and stores.
"We now have a system accessible remotely from anywhere in the world, which we didn’t think was possible. I can have all relevant information, at my fingertips, in a matter of minutes."