The decision to implement Accredo is reaping dividends for hydraulic and pneumatic equipment specialists, Gisborne Hydraulic Services. Typical of many small-to-medium New Zealand engineering businesses, the firm designs, builds and services machinery, sells parts, and undertakes bespoke equipment modification. Underpinning this broad range of activity are processes requiring the support of a flexible business software solution.
When Tasj Paulson, Office Manager for Gisborne Hydraulics Services, went looking for a system to replace the firm's Prophet accounting software, the company's accountant suggested MYOB.
"We were keen to upgrade to a new system because we required comprehensive job costing functionality and also wanted to switch to bar coding to enable easier stock control," says Paulson. When she approached local software consultancy firm Blue House Computing to ask about MYOB, the firm informed her she should also assess another system called Accredo.
Jill Garrett, a Director at Blue House Computing, says Tasj had a detailed spec of what the firm needed. "It went well beyond basic compliance accounting needs. They needed to improve some fundamental business operations, so we suggested Accredo because it is a full function business management tool."Says Paulson: "I had never heard of Accredo, but when I evaluated all the options, it soon became clear that Accredo was a much more appropriate choice for our business."
Along with job costing and bar coding, Paulson says the firm was keen to choose a system that would make it easier for the 'boys' on the shop floor to access information and complete their day-to-day tasks. "We wanted a system that was simple to use. And I saw that the scripting flexibility inherent in Accredo would allow us to create a number of short cuts which would help everyone execute key tasks quicker and easier."
She says the short cut key which helps shop staff initiate the invoicing process is a case in point.
"With a simple piece of scripting we have made it much simpler for the guys to invoice customers for basic purchases. Rather than having to click through several screens and make decisions about what fields to fill in, with Accredo it is a one click process. All they have to do is type in the customer's name. It is a huge timesaver and lets them get on with the next job, rather than get delayed doing administrative tasks."
Invoicing flexibility is a strength in Accredo, says Paulson. In many systems even making the most basic changes to invoices can be extremely convoluted, but the ability to customise Accredo has allowed her to introduce a number of advantageous changes.
"Accredo provides plenty of firepower on the accounting and reporting side, which helps us stay abreast of business performance." Tasj Paulson, Office Manager, Gisborne Hydraulic Services
"Firstly, not all the computers that run Accredo necessarily have to have the same customisations. We can decide who needs the scripts and who doesn't. I can stipulate what information I see on an invoice screen. I like to see margins and cost prices for parts, but for the computers at the payment counter we can exclude that information by easily hiding fields."
Paulson has executed many customisations herself - having attended a report writing and scripting course held by Accredo in Auckland.
"For anything I can't handle, Blue House is just a phone call away. Quite recently they helped me create a script that allows me to do a print select between two different invoice types. Having a dedicated support team to get this done, as well as access straight through to Accredo when we need it is extremely valuable."
Paulson says she got a taste of Accredo's responsiveness early on when she requested some customisations to the job costing screen. "We love job costing, but we wanted some complicated reworking ofthe screen options to better suit our processes. What amazed me was that Accredo turned it round under time and under budget."
While the customisations have simplified the system and empowered the staff to do more themselves, Paulson says Accredo also provides plenty of firepower on the accounting and reporting side, which helps her and owner Hugh Spence, stay abreast of business performance.
"Accredo allows you to not only index a great deal of information, but it also makes it easy to extract that information and provides plenty of smart features that give me more in-depth and up-to-the-minute performance visibility."
When dealing with over 4000 stock items and undertaking a diverse range of work, keeping track of inventory and retaining information about previous jobs is essential.
"This is where job costing and the scanner technology really help our business. Now when we start a job,we create a bar code and attach it to the job box. Any parts necessary for that job are scanned on the barcode which automatically adds them to the job sheets. We then dock the scanner and that information is automatically imported into Accredo."
Paulson says the scanning technology has also allowed the company to improve inventory control and purchasing processes. "In the past we only did annual stock takes and never had an up-to-date picture of stock levels, we now do six or seven rolling stock takes each month across items in different bin locations."
The job costing functionality has allowed the firm to retain important information about equipment they assemble.
"If we build a hydraulic ram from scratch, we needto measure a number of different fields, order parts and draw diagrams. With Accredo we capture all that information. If the equipment comes back to us for a service, we can quickly search the job number, see what parts we have used and quickly reorder them. We can also analyse why it may have failed and provide the customer with advice on its future operation."
Paulson says 10 months into using the system the company is extremely pleased with its performance. "We can't fault it. It has reduced the time every one spends on administrative tasks and empowered our staff to take ownership of a greater range of duties."