ERP software that manages your entire operation
- Location: Halifax, UK
- Industry: Panel product import and distribution
- Website: www.hanson-plywood.co.uk
Hanson Plywood is a growing panel product import and distribution company based in Halifax, West Yorkshire. The company’s speciality is the supply of high performance panel products and the team provide in-depth knowledge and high levels of service to customers as they purchase and use the products for manufacturing or house building. Hanson’s reputation is enhanced by its ability to supply customers with almost every type of panel product available on the market. The company also offers a cutting, machining, veneering and laminating service.
Hanson implemented Epicor BisTrack enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in 2008. Now used to power the businesses of around 150 UK-based merchants and building product distributors, the BisTrack system provides Hanson with a solution that manages its entire operation. The core system processes sales, controls stock, simplifies purchasing and gathers intelligence - although Hanson has implemented several of the system’s optional modules as its business has developed.
Joe Scott, information technology and marketing administrator for Hanson, said, “We originally chose the BisTrack solution because it was much talked about in the industry and had been strongly recommended by an incoming employee. Our consideration was between the re-development of an aging bespoke system (which I discovered was very challenging to learn when I joined the company) and the BisTrack system–that’s already designed to support the processes of the timber and building products distribution industry. We consequently decided on the BisTrack solution despite having a very strong relationship with our former software developer and we now have around 25 users–a number which is steadily increasing as we expand.”
The BisTrack system can process and display a vast amount of business data but not everyone within a company needs so see everything. Smart Views and Dashboards are part of the core solution. Smart Views pick out snapshots of live data pertinent to individual users - or groups of users - on one screen, and saves them going to several sources to find it. Certain views are provided as standard but it’s easy for users to build their own, even with no programming experience. Dashboards are a flexible way of representing a number of key performance indicators in a single view–a table comparing performance between branches alongside charts tracking profit made so far during the day, for example.
The Hanson team recently built up its Microsoft SQL Server® skills to allow them to design their own Smart Views and Dashboards. Joe explained, “This helps us analyse a lot of information very quickly and make better decisions. I’ve even got a view that helps me divide up the Christmas calendar and diary order between sales reps!”
The BisTrack system of managing quotes, call-off ordering and sales ordering has proved to be very useful to Hanson. Joe explained, “We are able to quote customers and give account managers the ability to maintain control of pricing for each account. Before we implemented the BisTrack solution each sales representative had to rely on a folder full of spreadsheets, or a long search in their daybook, to find the quoted price. We also use call-off ordering extensively to manage supply chains for time sensitive customers. Before using the BisTrack system, we had to rely on files full of orders and manually ‘call off’ each line using a pen. We are much more efficient now and have been able to process a lot more business without having to take on many more employees.”
Where Hanson has a price agreement in place with a customer they are able to maintain this in the BisTrack system as a set of price rules. This ensures that the customer receives the correct price for a product and avoids the invoice queries that were often raised when using the old system of reading from a printed price list.
Hanson also implemented the Epicor Scan Track module that facilitates the scanning and storage of documents such as PoDs (proof of deliveries) and automatically matches them up with the appropriate sale in the system. Unlike Hanson’s previous scanning system, because the Scan Track module is integrated with the BisTrack system, it allows users to find copies of documents without having to flip between applications.
There is a BisTrack user group run independently from Epicor, by users of the software, to share ideas. Joe concluded, “We think it’s great to network with other users and discuss the common business issues that we all face. When we do have to call Epicor for support, the team is helpful and works to resolve our issues as quickly as possible.”