A well established Marine Electronics company with premises in Brighton, Eastbourne and Spain had been using an older accounting system and a separate POS system to try to maintain their business. Their existing software was out of date and struggling to keep up, and it had absolutely no industry specific features at all making it necessary to maintain a lot of manual records. Lots of information that would have helped the business was simply unavailable, and any form of remote access to shared data was impractical.
These problems meant that the owners of the business were spending very large amounts of time performing manual processes because the staff were not able to fit those into their work schedules. As a result many of the desired processes such as updating item data from price lists supplied by their vendors simply did not get done.
A review of the business was undertaken and it was immediately agreed that the management information issue could be resolved quickly and easily by installing Synergy Accounts. To deal with the specific business management requirements it was decided that a specialist Marine Module should be created and that this should be used to provide the required functionality. A specification was drawn up, and it was agreed that the module would be created and its features added in gradually over a period of time to enable staff to get used to the idea and to be able to prove each part of the solution as it was introduced.
The initial starting point was for the company to ensure that their infrastructure was able to meet their needs – Synergy will work on almost any hardware, but when you want to operate the system from more than one country you need to ensure that your systems can return the data in an acceptable time frame.
The Synergy developers ensured that all manner of Vessels and their properties (Colour, Fuel, Engine Installation, Berth Details, etc.) could be correctly stored and maintained as well as being linked to customers. Then the ability to maintain snapshots of that information as part of transactions was added, allowing vessel status information such as condition to be easily entered and retrieved and printed on any related documents such as invoices.
A job sheet document was created that could be automatically populated with this information to give the engineers something to work from, and the business was able to start generating job sheets and processing them after they were returned by the mechanics upon completion of their assigned tasks along with notes of the labour and materials costs involved.
The standard abilities of Synergy allow the job sheet to be turned into a Sales Invoice or Point of Sale transaction as appropriate, dramatically reducing the time required to do this using the old system and ensuring that management information was readily available to the team when required.
Specialised Import routines were created that allow the user to add or update all the items in any supplied Vendor price lists with just three clicks – select the Import file, select the Data file, and click Import. Now the latest pricing is always available, and something that would have taken months to do manually now takes literally seconds.
The additional features required by the business are being introduced in stages according to their needs and the criticality of the features to the business, allowing them to absorb the changes in a structured manner without giving the staff too much to learn. In this way it could be shown that staff become motivated by the positive results as they see their jobs becoming easier.
The management team will be working with the developers to implement the additional features they have requested and constant evaluation will help them to confirm that they are achieving the desired results. The payback is already starting to give them huge advantages, including:
The latest feature is the SMS Module which allows Service reminders and other customer notifications to be automatically sent as text messages. In addition it allows individual texts to be sent whenever required such as when work on a vessel is complete or when a specially ordered product comes into stock. If the company decides to engage in opt-in text marketing to their customer base to notify them of new products an services, special offers, and so on they can easily do so. This in combination with other product features allows the management to give their customers a choice of ways to receive their reminders and notifications: post, email, or SMS text message, or indeed any combination of those if the customer prefers, yet it can all happen automatically if that is the preference of the company management.
These modules and the vertical market needs that they address are part of an ongoing process that will see continuing improvements and the business seeing real benefits with each coming month. Watch this space to read about the ongoing progress of the project.
If you are in the Marine industry and would like more information on how your business can benefit from the use of Synergy and the dedicated Marine Module please contact us