There's not a lot you can’t get out of Accredo... the reports are pretty intense.
Focusing initially on improving efficiencies, Brett consulted Accredo Qualified Support Person Sue Spindler of Eicor Resources in Christchurch, who recommended upgrading their Profax accounting system to Accredo Saturn, and installing SalesLink Mobile technology from I.T. Link. Sales reps now send orders directly from Treo smartphones to PGF's Accredo system via Telecom's CDMA network, and the company has been transformed.
“There's not a lot you can't get out of Accredo ... the reports are pretty intense."
Karen Ambler (on left, with QSP Sue Spindler)
Operations Manager, PGF Golf
What’s good for reps is even better for customers
While the initial goal in using SalesLink technology was to improve efficiency, increased customer satisfaction has provided even bigger gains. A year after switching to Accredo and SalesLink in Australia, PGF were voted among the top wholesalers at the Australian Golf awards. "Previously we were cellar dwellers," says Brett.
This is typical of businesses who start using SalesLink Mobile, says I.T. Link's Managing Director Oliver Huggins. "Many people approach us initially in order to reduce costs or increase sales, but find the rise in customer satisfaction ends up being worth much more to them. The longer people use SalesLink, the more they realise how valuable it is."
PGF's South Island Sales rep Scott Kennard agrees. "I used to visit customers with a pen and paper, and when I left, neither of us were sure if they would ever see the goods. Now I walk in with my Palm, create the order and show the customer how much they have spent. Then they sign it off electronically and I transmit it back to our warehouse for processing the same day. The customer knows what they will get and when, because I can check everything straight from the Palm." In addition, Scott says SalesLink Mobile "really gets customers interested - they like the technology and they can see how it benefits them."
There are also time savings in having accurate information from Accredo available in the field. "I can view and duplicate previous orders, and be aware of any debt problems without having to phone the office all the time,” continues Scott, “and I save 1½ to 2 hours every evening because I don't have to fax orders back to the office."
Less data entry means more customer support
Back in their Christchurch office, PGF's Operations Manager Karen Ambler makes extensive use of their Accredo Saturn system, relying on reporting and graphs to monitor sales, plan purchasing and manage manufacturing. “Accredo sales analysis is very easy to use - there's not a lot you can't get out of it,” she says. "The reports are pretty intense."
In addition, Karen and QSP Sue have customised Accredo to meet PGF's specific business needs. Lookups and grids have been modified to display only the relevant fields in the order required, making data entry a lot quicker. Time-consuming processes are now automated - when shipments are entered for imported goods, a script automatically converts US dollars to the correct NZ dollar amount based on the exchange rate, and freight is apportioned to each line to provide accurate costings when stock is receipted. Scripts also enforce PGF's business rules - invoices cannot be saved for customers with a balance older than 60 days, and the system automatically checks the invoice amount and customer category to ensure freight is added when required. "Basically, if any task is time consuming and laborious, or mistakes are often made, we can script in a solution with Accredo," says Sue.
Karen says using SalesLink in conjunction with Accredo has enhanced the data mining capabilities of Accredo with "up-to-the-minute information," but it has also transformed the customer service team. "Staff who were previously dedicated to data entry are now focused on generating sales and supporting our retailers and sales team. It all adds up to better service for our customers."
"… ongoing support is a big part of it ... we're partners into the future"
Brett Tucker (on right, with fellow PGF Golf Directors)
Managing Director, PGF Golf Limited
Teamwork is key to a successful partnership
Accredo software is one of I.T. Link's preferred products to integrate to because "they have a good track record together," says Sue Spindler. Scripting is already available to provide seamless data-level access between the two systems, and, another advantage for PGF, both products can be used across the Tasman with no modifications.
While the results of the new technology speak for themselves, Brett Tucker is also delighted with how quickly his staff were up and running with it. "Training was an absolute cinch," he says, "it's like painting by numbers." Costs are another reason to celebrate. "It didn't cost an arm and a leg," says Brett. "My ROI is already 120%, and ongoing support is a big part of it - [with update subscriptions for both SalesLink and Accredo] we're partners into the future."
"Using SalesLink and Accredo has transformed a typically run wholesale/distribution business into a cutting edge operation," says Brett, "and our staff are looking much smarter in the market because of it." Brett believes all sales-oriented businesses should consider using the Accredo - SalesLink combination. "It's versatile enough to transpose to anybody's business. If you're in sales and you're not using it, you're probably missing out."