in Sage April 30, 2018
Case Study - The Paint Shed, Continued Enhancement
The Paint Shed operates a growing group of trade paint stores across Central Scotland. We began working with them back in 2014, and have worked in close partnership with them since to ensure they have the systems in place to support the continued successful growth of their business.
In the TMS Mission Statement, you'll see we talk about "working in partnership" and that we "proactively work with our partners to understand their business and ensure they have the correct solutions in place". This is a key part of our identity at TMS, and the work we've done with The Paint Shed in the years since their initial implementation of Sage 200c Professional typify this.
"The Sage team at TMS have acted as a genuine business partner rather than a simple supplier since we became involved with them. They have always taken the time to understand our business, and throughout our relationship have always been open & honest with their recommendations to us - always recommending the action they believe to be best for us as a business, rather than what they (TMS) make the most money out of". We're looking forward to continuing to work closely with them as we continue to grow our business".
Jonathan Bowie, Finance Director, The Paint Shed
Enhance - Web Shop Integration
The first area for improvement/efficiency savings - once Sage 200c Professional was implemented and stable - was the integration of The Paint Shed's webshop with Sage 200c. At that time web orders were all having to processed manually - dispatch would be arranged, then following this a user would manually type all of that day's web orders onto Sage 200c.
Not only was this inefficient - the re-typing of orders was an exclusive admin task that provided no added value - but it also introduced the risk of error. Seeing that accuracy of stock levels & store by store performance is critical information to The Paint Shed's management; and also that they are forever striving to improve and become more efficient; integration of the webshop directly into Sage 200c was an obvious place for us to start.
We achieved this by implementing the Data Exchange module for Sage 200 - a leading 3rd party integration tool. This is set-up to work as follows:
- list stock items & stock quantities are saved to a web server from Sage 200c on a twice-daily basis.
- the website integrates these lists, thus ensuring website always displays accurate available stock.
- orders placed on the website are also saved onto the web server as CSV files, which Data Exchange imports into Sage 200c as Sales Orders automatically.
- we then wrote a bespoke invoicing routine in Sage 200c, that would allow a day's web-orders to be invoiced & posted at the click of a button.
With the webshop now fully connected, The Paint Shed significantly cut their data entry time (and risk of manual error) and as such instantly made huge efficiency gains in this area.
Enhance - Bespoke Reporting
Implementing Sage 200c give The Paint Shed a system that would record their stock & sales data in a way that would give them the level of detailed analysis they required to make an informed decision on how to run their business. There's always room for improvement though - and the Finance Director at The Paint Shed would regularly get in touch to request with further reporting requirements, all required to be "at the push of a button".
To meet this need, we've assisted as follows:
- Training Courses - as the importance of reporting become apparent, we delivered a number of training courses for The Paint Shed users on how to use each of the main reporting methods of Sage 200c - the Sage Report Designer and Business Intelligence.
- Bespoke Reports - for instances where the reports required were particularly complex, The Paint Shed would commission us to write the bespoke reports for them, which we'd typically do as SQL queries dropping directly into Excel.
- Excelerator for Sage 200c - more recently (within the last 6 months), we became aware of the Excelerator tool for Sage 200c. This is used for both for extracting data from Sage 200c to Excel (which we used to create an "Optimal Stock Levels" report) and also importing into Sage 200c (which The Paint Shed use for importing new products & price list updates).
Enhance - EPOS System
On initial implementation, we believed that a bespoke / streamlined Sales Order Processing entry system using barcode scanners would be sufficient for The Paint Shed tills. This worked well for a while and did definitely delivered advantages over their previous system - particularly around the use of bar-code scanning, a feature that The Paint Shed hadn't previously used.
Over time, however, considering The Paint Shed's continual drive for growth and improvement, we determined that the system they had wasn't providing as good a customer experience as it could do - and that a full EPOS system would provide genuine improvements to the till sales process.
We worked with The Paint Shed management to investigate the leading EPOS providers - getting demos, doing requirements analysis, and getting quotes from each. From this process we were able to select an EPOS provider that both ourselves & The Paint Shed were confident could deliver the best possible fit for their requirements - choosing the EPOS system from Elite Integrations.
This system has to date been installed in one flagship store (which has experienced instant benefits), and a plan in place to roll out to other stores over the coming months.
We don't expect that to be the end of things. We regularly meet with management from The Paint Shed to discuss further improvements to their systems - with current discussions being around firstly finalising the EPOS roll-out, and following this up by implementing a Sage 200c tablet app for each store, that will allow stock takes, PO receipts & also raising of POs to be done quickly & easily using the tablet & attached scanner.
Our work with The Paint Shed is the perfect example of how - if we work in partnership with our customers - we can work with them to continually enhance their software systems, and support their business growth & success in doing so.