Portlebay runs simple with SAP Business One - B1 Systems
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The Popcorn Market

When you think of popcorn, you think of being at the movies and the arguments that brew up over whether sweet or salty is the way forward. It’s a treat that unites old and the young. So you’d think that popcorn was just relegated to being a snack that goes along with a night of entertainment.


Now it’s only a part of the picture. Popcorn has gone huge in the UK.


Last year, the popcorn market grew by 10% up to £152m in sales and the UK is buying more than every single European country. Gourmet popcorn has really popped. Pun intended. It’s easy to see why when it is low in calories, high in fibre and gluten-free. With there being a downtrend in gourmet crisps since 2013, gourmet popcorn has stepped in and scaled up.



It’s thanks to the creativity and understated-genius of companies like Portlebay Popcorn – A Devon-based family run producer of hand-popped popcorn.


They have a fully fledged R&D department that creates sweet and savoury popcorn and has established 10 flavours including Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup and Lemon Sherbet.


That’s a lot of inventory to track and processes to manage.


When you consider Portlebay Popcorn produces over 187,000 kilograms of popcorn that has to go to supermarket giants like Tesco and Sainsbury’s – you can understand why looking after all those flavours and processes was becoming a growing pain.



Different Flavours


Thousand Kilograms


Of Customers

The Business Pain

Before Portlebay Popcorn decided to look for a solution for this continued pain, they thought they were on top of things. But it was taking so much of their time.


They had multiple spreadsheets saved on different devices and it meant there was no unification of data.


Not only that, they were looking after a numerous amount of processes, extracting the data points and entering it manually into documents. It was getting harder to control and taking more time to keep up.

The Decision Maker’s Point of View

Company Director, Neil Adams reflected on where they were, “I knew at some point we were going to need a business management solution to enter all this information into and manage everything better.


That’s when we researched packages online and found SAP Business One – which lead to us reaching out to B1 Systems.

At my previous company we used Sage, so I knew all about that product. The turnover in that company was around £13m, so it really pushed the solution to the limit. They were researching alternatives and that’s when I first heard of SAP Business One.


What we really wanted more than anything was a great CRM package and an accounts package that talked really well. When we were doing our research we found a number of good CRM packages and separate accounting tools but not many that were truly integrated.


But we found that SAP Business One had this great finance module, which I like because it doesn’t try and dumb down the accountancy side of the business – which so many of the entry-level packages do, and the CRM tool which really looked amazing and perfect for the type of business we have here.”



After a consultation period, B1 Systems was able to demonstrate exactly how SAP Business One solved all of the pains and wasted time that Portlebay Popcorn was experiencing daily.


Portlebay Popcorn’s forecasting and growing success also meant that this was going to become an even bigger problem. SAP Business One could scale with them, so it future-proofed their immediate decision too.


The decision was made to deploy SAP Business One in September 2012, only six months after Portlebay Popcorn had opened its first factory.


The forecasting of sustained growth in the popcorn market and the Brand all came true. SAP Business One was the perfect solution for being plugged into a business that would experience rapid growth over just two years.


The role it plays in the business is an incredibly important one. It ensures supplier demand is met by organizing its supply and distribution networks. No matter if they are home or abroad.

The Immediate Feedback from Portlebay Popcorn

Neil Adams has a lot to say about how SAP Business One has helped,  “SAP Business One helps us at a basic level with the pick sheets and delivery notes and the way the system manages current customer delivery addresses is great.


The hierarchy of paperwork fits in really well with how we operate here and the standard SAP reports are perfect for what we do and need. Going forward, we can see that eventually, we are going to have to outsource warehouse space but that won’t cause us any issues because of the way the system manages different warehouses with its bin location tools.”

Neil now gets essential updates sent to him throughout the day in real-time. They are all about activities about his business and they give him an extra level of control to make instant decisions with up-to-date intelligence.


When you couple this with the streamlining of supply and distribution chains, you can see how powerful SAP Business One can truly be.

“I use SAP Business One throughout the day, especially the reporting functions to keep track of activities and performance.


The way that we use SAP Business One for reporting is that we export our data into Excel and pull out customer activities and pipeline information – which works well for us.”

Why B1 Systems?

As part of this story, you will have noticed that Neil Adams was experiencing growing pains in his business and he knew he needed a new solution because Sage was pushed to its limits.


After careful consideration, he decided on SAP Business One. So where do we come into the picture?


You may be surprised to know that there were other resellers in the picture for Neil, and we came out on top. Here’s why:


  • Instant impression
  • Operational Excellence
  • Understanding the needs

Instant Impression – Honesty

Neil Adams had been looking at other resellers for SAP Business One and was always put through a qualification process for a meeting before any point of contact would reveal any costs.


B1 Systems were open and honest from the beginning and we revealed the costs ahead of time that Portlebay Popcorn could expect to be paying for their solution.

Not only that, he loved the feeling he got when he met our team. “Not only were they open and honest – you could tell they had a great bunch of people working together on the same vision”.

Operational Excellence


At the heart of B1 Systems is our commitment to operational excellence. It’s one of the core principles that makes us successful.


We continue to be at the bleeding-edge of SAP and the community by being in pole position to learn about new features and products.

Our aim is to give excellent customer service to every customer consistently.

Neil Adams said of our customer service,  “Without doubt B1 Systems have been a ten-out-of-ten standard.


Their telephone support is prompt, their advice is superb and they implement upgrades and amendments quickly without any hassle. I couldn’t be happier with the service levels.”

Understanding the needs


B1 Systems were able to demonstrate instantly that they knew where Portlebay Popcorn were going and what exactly was going on in their business.

“Their demonstration showed us how to solve the pains we were going through at the time. So that was a win.


Then they were able to show me how the system would scale with us and that was my last fear solved.”

The leadership team at B1 Systems know that to make long-lasting partnerships that they need to care about the businesses they serve.


Without that consideration, there is no way for B1 Systems to grow.

Want to learn more about SAP Business One? Why not get in touch with us today and book a free consultation? 


Making Your Complex Simple.