- Location: Multiple branches across the North of England, UK
- Industry: Builders merchant
- Number of Locations: 15
- Web site: www.jtatkinson.co.uk
IT Director for JT Atkinson, Mark Atkinson, has had four 'go live experiences' over the last twenty years. On previous occasions following implementation, there was always some anxiety that led him to ask,"Have we made the right choice of software?" But when Epicor BisTrack went live across all branches of JT Atkinson, Mark had no doubt they had made the right choice. He said, "Straight away I remember thinking we've got a good product here."
JT Atkinson now operates 15 branches across the north of England, including a mix of heavyside, lightside, and timber centres. Three quarters of the 200 staff log on to BisTrack every day.
An Epicor legacy system had served Atkinson's well for eight years, but as the company grew, particularly through the acquisition of a timber merchant, they realised they needed a system with more sophisticated reporting and dedicated timber functionality. Mark remembered, "We soon saw that non-merchant packages just couldn't handle the specific pricing or sales processing we needed. Our final short list included BisTrack and two other merchant systems. If you are a merchant with your ear to the ground, then BisTrack will probably be on your shortlist!"
Another factor in BisTrack's favour was it's Microsoft® SQL architecture-a universally known language-and its Windows® interface that makes it very easy to learn and use. Mark's IT team oversaw the go live after a six month implementation period, when the system was set up on a laptop allowing files to be transferred from the old system. Just a few hours into go live day itself, Mark overheard a member of staff saying 'I can already see this is a really good system!' He said, "Having overseen three other go lives I know they are always stressful for staff who already have a lot to deal with in a busy day without getting to grips with a new computer system. Usually the initial reaction tends toward the negative, but some of the positive comments on even the first day were head and shoulders above my previous experience. I felt this was a good sign!"
Early benefits included the new ability to do 'back-to-back' interbranch transfers. Mark explained, "This sounds quite trivial, but with 15 closely located branches this was an important feature. Previously we could only do 'back-to-backs' with a purchase order to a supplier, not between branches. BisTrack's ScanTrack also saved us time because we could scan PODs into the system that are automatically matched up with the appropriate sale, so everyone could find them quickly. Previously credit control would e-mail a branch for a copy of a POD, someone would have to search through a filing cabinet to find it and then scan or fax it back to head office-we quickly forgot how time consuming this was!"
During the first year, other benefits became more apparent. Mark said,"BisTrack's Dashboards and Smart Views were beginning to give us far more management information than we had been used to. Branch managers no longer have to ask the IT department to run reports for them. Now each one has a dashboard that shows 14 key areas of information including 'near out of stock' products, customers approaching their credit limit, sales statistics, overdue purchase orders, staff with outstanding quotes, etc. And you can drill down into all of these for more detailed information." In credit control, BisTrack's data rule manager is saving around two days each month by automating the compilation of chase and suspend letters. Using BisTrack's EDI module to import the NMBS purchase invoices also saves around 30% of the time it took to key in all the invoices. Atkinson's are looking to expand the use of EDI in the future.
"BisTrack is what our business runs on," said Mark, "and it makes an impact on everything we do. Now four years after implementation we still look forward to new features as they become available and I still have no doubt that we made the right decision."
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.