South Island-based business, Haydn Brush Company, is using a browser-based PDF Reader developed by software-as-a-service provider Rapido, integrated with its Accredo business management solution, to minimise order entry errors and speed up service. The smart technology innovation is helping the company maintain its leading position in the painting and decorating industry.
Haydn Brush Company was first established in Christchurch over 40 years ago by Trevor Haydon, who today is still the owner of this growing company. Haydn is an award winning leader, innovator and team of inspired New Zealanders behind the supply of essential painting and decorating products. In addition to brushes, rollers, painting and decorating equipment, Haydn also distributes a range of top quality international brands: Rust-Oleum, Zinsser, BrushBaggy, Surface Shields, Ram Board, HANDy, Wooster and DAP. With over 40 years in the industry, it continues to be a trusted brand found in all major painting and decorating stores throughout New Zealand.
“Manufacturing was a large part of our business, however after the earthquakes we were forced to move our factories and shift manufacturing offshore,” says Haydn operations manager, Mike Fisher. “With eight sales representatives covering New Zealand, we distribute to all of the large hardware chains as well as independent operators. We focus on providing high quality service to these customers.”
A long-time user of the Accredo accounting solution, Haydn was keen to utilise the web services module that was released with Version 5 of Accredo’s software in 2018.
Rapido founder, Adam Holt, worked with Haydn to integrate his browser-based interface with Accredo. His PDF Reader product is helping cut down on order entry errors and freeing up resources within the business.
Fisher says: “I wanted to push the business forward and see if we could improve efficiencies with some clever IT innovations. When I saw what Adam was doing with Rapido, I knew we could deploy it to improve the ordering and fulfilment side of Haydn.”
Streamlined order entry
Holt explains that orders from the big hardware chains move quite seamlessly between their ERP systems and Haydn, thanks to powerful importing and exporting functionality in Accredo’s data interchange module.
However, Haydn also receives a lot of orders via email with PDF attachments. These had to be opened, printed for filing, and the orders manually entered into Accredo – an error-prone and time-consuming process.
Using the technology smarts built into Rapido’s PDF Reader, Haydn has digitised the process and eliminated the need to store hard copy versions of the order.
“The workflow is now automated and accessed through a browser interface,” says Holt. “When an email with an order attachment arrives, it is automatically forwarded to an email address I have established for them. This triggers some logic to read the email and store all the key information, such as the customer name.
“Most importantly, it strips the PDF document out and uploads it to the cloud. The email then appears in a list to be uploaded, once that happens the Rapido algorithm detects all the relevant product information – SKUs, customer codes, quantities and purchase order numbers. If the price is included in the order, the Reader will compare it against what is stored against that particular customer in Accredo. All this takes under a second to execute,” says Holt.
Less time, fewer errors
Once the Rapido algorithm has scanned the PDF document, Holt says the user then confirms the order by clicking ‘create’ and the order is posted back into Accredo via the web API.
Fisher believes the benefits of the integration are compelling. “We can get up to 50 email orders a day and some of those will have PDFs that are four or five pages long. It was a time-consuming exercise for our office staff to print them out and enter the data manually.”
Now, thanks to Rapido, Fisher says the business has cut down on data entry errors and improved order fulfilment times. “The whole process happens autonomously. We spend less time doing manual work and have improved order accuracy. Documentation is stored digitally against the order and always available to refer to later should we need to. The time we used to spend on order entry can now be put to more productive use.”
The entire system is built off the back of Accredo Version 5. The release included a Web API module to make it even easier for web and mobile applications to exchange information with Accredo, while ensuring all its fundamental rules are abided by when transaction data is entered.
Using Rapido, Haydn sales representatives can view the order independently of the Accredo system, which Fisher says can provide them with valuable information when they are on the road.
Putting data to work
It is this type of flexibility that customers are demanding, says Holt. Using the Web API, developers can now create front end applications that integrate with Accredo much more easily.
“Customers can retain their own scripts and customisations within Accredo, but free up the data to do different tasks in a mobile or online environment. The information flows between both places, but Accredo is still kept as the single source of truth,” says Holt.
Fisher has plans to use the web services module in other ways within the business.
“The Web API has the capability to put more control in the hands of our customers. We are planning to use it to create a client portal, so customers can see instantly how their order is progressing and then track its delivery. We will be able to serve up information particular to each customer and create higher levels of self-service. We can also activate notifications to make customers aware there has been a status change in their order.”
Fisher says he also wants to focus on better supplier integration, using the web services module to improve goods receipting processes and making key documents visible to his manufacturers.
“Integrating front and back office processes is essential if you want your business to reduce costs and improve productivity. What we are doing with Rapido, together with the ongoing software customisations that our QSP Neal Irwin from AFI Systems does for us on the Accredo system, is helping us realise that objective.”
Irwin spends at least an afternoon on site at Haydn each week, supporting the IT operation of the business and tailoring Accredo to meet Haydn’s business needs.
“His help is invaluable,” Fisher says. “I have used overseas IT providers in previous roles and when it comes to service, they are not satisfactory. I also appreciate the fact Accredo is a New Zealand company and we have a support person who is only a phone call away. If we have any issues, they are always sorted promptly.”