• Location: South Yorkshire HQ, branches across the UK
• Industry: Timber distribution
• Number of Branches: 11
• Web site: www.laver.co.uk
"We spent a long time evaluating several systems and I'm confident that BisTrack is the best available."
Andrew Laver, Managing Director | Arnold Laver Ltd
Selecting the right business software was a crucial decision according to Colin Dean, Corporate Systems Director at Arnold Laver. "Our computer system impacts on every aspect of the business," he says, "buying, selling, importing, stock control, works order processing and deliveries. If you install the wrong software, which might not support the required number of users or doesn't have the right level of performance or functionality, the implications are that it can cause significant issues throughout your business."
Three years ago, Dean oversaw the implementation of Epicor BisTrack across the Arnold Laver Group, with the software going live on the same day throughout 17 branches. "Obviously our main concern was that the trade counters would be able to process orders straight away," he says, "but everyone was geared up for the changeover and it went really well." At Laver's 'Call Collect' trade counters, the staff use bar code scanners for very fast input which allows staff to enter orders by keyboard or scanning. Dean says the overriding benefit at the start was the ability for sales staff to find customer and product information very quickly.
Laver's took the decision to use BisTrack after looking closely at many other business systems. Dean confirms it was the fact that BisTrack is written especially to serve the complex requirements of a timber company that led to its selection. Its modern Microsoft Windows technology and its ability to integrate seamlessly with Laver's existing accounting software were also important factors.
Now, after using BisTrack for three years and implementing it in two further branches, BisTrack continues to deliver benefits across the group and Laver's continues to pioneer new modules of the software as they are introduced. For example, the company is using BisTrack's optional EDI module - eBusiness - to trade electronically with several major construction company customers. The field sales team uses BisTrack Mobile to access real time stock, pricing and customer data on BisTrack via their smart phones. This also provides a practical way for them to enter visit reports and requests into the system.
WebTrack provides a portal to customers through which they can access information about their account with Laver's from anywhere in the world. They can check balances, credit limits, track the status of outstanding orders, check prices, stock availability and raise quotes and orders all in real time. They can search for invoices by date, reference or order number and even click straight through to view the related signed PoD within two hours of Laver's delivery vehicle returning to the yard!
The ability to link BisTrack seamlessly with GPS embedded into Laver's individual vehicles has enabled sales and transport staff to improve customer service by being able to pinpoint the actual location of their commercial vehicles and to advise customers instantly about delivery times. Transport Managers also use BisTrack's drag and drop Journey Planner. Using just one screen, delivery runs are simply set up by dragging and dropping orders to their allocated journey.
Revolutionised stock control
BsTrack has also revolutionised the stock taking process at Laver's. Colin Dean was once told it was impossible to stock control timber accurately! He refused to believe this and proved his point last year when his team counted £1.1 million worth of stock at Laver's flagship branch in Mosborough within £2,700 accuracy! Dean attributes the accuracy down to the way the branch manager made full use of the BisTrack system to store a picking location for every single stock line. Pick notes are now produced at each 'picking zone' detailing individual bin locations of all products ordered. The labels used to identify the bin locations are also produced from BisTrack data using Crystal reports. BisTrack also supports the manager's meticulous system of recording all stock movements within the branch including relocations and, when it comes to actual physical stock takes, the system prints out detailed count sheets in picking zone order. After staff have completed the count sheets, the figures can be keyed in very quickly as the running order corresponds to the stock take document created on the system. Previously at Laver's, the count would take place at the end of June with final results only available at the end of October. This year, the count started on 28th June with initial figures presented on 2nd July!
Dean also says it would be impossible to control Laver's stock so accurately if BisTrack wasn't integrated with the company's manufacturing processes. At the Mosborough branch alone, just over 13,500 works orders were processed and cost controlled within BisTrack over six months. BisTrack debits stock of raw or unfinished products when a works order is raised and then credits stock with the finished packs or processed products. The software also supports purchase orders to external suppliers of processes, and works orders which are linked to sales orders and involve any permutation of stock transfer, purchase order and process. A real benefit of having all the elements of such a transaction linked together via BisTrack's related documents function is the instant visibility from any part of the system - also a huge advantage when recording chain of custody.
After a three year relationship with the BisTrack team, Colin Dean believes the partnership and product have both grown from strength to strength. "The Support Desk personnel are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and the Development Team continue to produce high quality software which can be implemented without
impact to the business" he said.
Managing Director, Andrew Laver, concluded, "We spent a long time evaluating several systems and I'm confident that BisTrack is the best available."
Epicor Software is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional and global businesses demand. For more information visit www.epicor.com