- Location: UK
- Industry: Timber merchants and timber supplies
- Web site: www.laver.co.uk
"As long as Epicor continues the communication and dialogue they currently have with their customers, and the software continues to evolve, we won't be ending our long relationship. It's such a stable system and generally you just don't need to worry about it-which is how it should be!"
Mike Kenyon, Group IT Director | Arnold Laver
In 2005 Arnold Laver took the decision to implement Epicor BisTrack software. At the time, the company was looking for a centralised, Microsoft® Windows® based software solution that would support and cater for all areas of the business.
They were also keen to implement a solution that would allow them to introduce technologies that were cutting edge at the time, such as EDI and handheld devices for yard staff.
Managing director, Andrew Laver, said they spent a long time evaluating several systems and that he was confident that BisTrack was the best available. The fact that BisTrack is written especially to serve the complex requirements of a timber company was a key driver for its selection. In the years that followed, Laver's played a pioneering role with BisTrack, and was often the first company to implement new modules of the software as they were introduced.
Taking BisTrack to the next level
Today, Group IT Director, Mike Kenyon, is managing a project to take BisTrack to the next level-following three years of software consolidation as the company rode out the recession. Mike joined Arnold Laver nearly a year ago from the retail sector.
He said, "I've worked in IT for 15 years and I've used lots of ERP systems. My initial impression of BisTrack was that it was user friendly and customisable. It's integrated in everything we do at Laver's-including our accounting system. It's robust and it's perfect for what we need. However there's still a lot of the software we've not engaged with-particularly on the manufacturing side. So now we're starting to embrace new functionality and it's exciting."
Today there are 380 BisTrack users working across 12 Arnold Laver sites and the company continues to operate as one of the UK's major importers and suppliers of certified timber and timber based materials. A new depot opens in Bristol later this year. The field sales team continue to use BisTrack Mobile to access real time data on their mobile devices and the company continues to use the BisTrack eBusiness module to trade electronically with major construction companies. Mike said, "We're pushing this more and more and, because we're already set up, it's an easy win for smaller customers because it's so easy for them to implement. Our larger customers, although often slower to implement, see it as a huge efficiency after the recession."
BisTrack WebTrack provides around 500 of Laver's trade account customers with an Internet portal through which they can access their account information so they can check balances, prices, and credit limits. They can also download PoDs, track outstanding orders, check stock availability, and raise quotes and orders all in real time.
Housebuilders use it to manage call off orders for first and second fix, plot by plot. BisTrack is linked to the GPS embedded in Laver's commercial vehicles so staff can pinpoint vehicle locations and advise customers about delivery times. Laver's transport managers also use the BisTrack Journey Planner module and deliveries are set up by simply dragging and dropping orders to their allocated journey.
Revolutionised stock taking and reporting
When it was first implemented, BisTrack revolutionised stock taking in terms of speed and accuracy. Before BisTrack, the count would take place at the end of June with final results only available at the end of October. The year BisTrack was installed, the count started on 28th June with initial figures presented on 2nd July. Stock control was also enhanced by the BisTrack integration with Laver's manufacturing processes. 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.
Reporting continues to be enhanced as the Laver's team use BisTrack Business Intelligence module to produce smart views to provide snapshots of pertinent live data held within the system. BisTrack holds a massive amount of data but not every user necessarily needs to see everything. Being able to pick out just what someone needs using a smart view is really useful and saves going to several sources within the software to find it.
Great customer service
Mike is as satisfied with Epicor customer service as he is with the software itself. "There is no key person dependency at Epicor", he said. "Everyone on the service desk is equally skilled and gives you the same level of service and knowledge. They call or email you back when they say they will. You can track everything in the service portal and there is a feedback mechanism that I like. I can even call the head of support or the head of development and they answer my calls-that's good enough for me!"
Mike said that calls to the Epicor service desk over small issues such as explaining why a number doesn't look right are dealt with quickly and efficiently. But it was when a potentially serious issue arose that Mike realised he was dealing with a truly professional and committed team. "The EDI module didn't seem to be picking up our orders in a timely manner, so we called to say this can't be right. The service team had a look and said that although it looked like it was working correctly they would investigate further. They basically went to the ninth level to get to the bottom of the problem and ended up speaking to the developers and the head of support. They didn't let it go until they had found out what the problem was. Once they had, it was fixed really quickly and easily. This was important for us as it was affecting our order processing. In my experience some software houses would not have pursued it like this."
Value for money
Mike says he gets better value for money from BisTrack than he has from other ERP systems. "Although Laver's implemented BisTrack 10 years ago, Epicor continues to embrace new technology and so the system is constantly evolving."
As the company gears up to implement the latest version of BisTrack, Mike says he has complete confidence in the Epicor team. "The consultants are all very knowledgeable and the project manager we've been assigned is excellent. And they all understand the timber industry which is massively important so there's no playing catch up while we explain the fundamentals like tallies, etc. As long as Epicor continues the communication and dialogue they currently have with their customers, and the software continues to evolve, we won't be ending our long relationship," said Mike. "It's such a stable system and generally you just don't need to worry about it-which is how it should be!"
Epicor Software Corporation 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 over 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.