Epicor BisTrack supports growth at Verdon Group
Location: Leicestershire and Northants, UK
Industry: Timber Merchant
Until relatively recently, certain companies within the Verdon Timber Group were still running their operations using manual systems. Now just two years later, sales director Chris Doran believes “we simply wouldn’t function without BisTrack!”
The Verdon Timber Group is an independently owned company with a long history of supplying timber products to a range of customers. Comprising several individual companies that merged into one group two years ago, the specialised expertise of each company has been shared across the group to the benefit of all customers. The group, based in Leicestershire, Lincolnshireand Northants, supplies a range of timber products including sheet materials graded timber, joinery, plasterboard, roofing materials and flooring.
Doran explains, “We’re committed to providing an extensive range of timber products and outstanding service to all of our customers. Around 20% of our business is with the retail sector and my objective is to provide a family friendly environment at each of our branches. Today all types of customers expect to get served efficiently and quickly, to shop in a clean and tidy environment, to be able to buy a coffee and be treated courteously—and this is what we are striving to provide.”
The company is growing fast. Currently there are eight branches, but, through acquisition and starting up two new centres, there will be 11 operational sites by the end of 2016.
Epicor BisTrack ERP software is used across the group at each of its sites. Of the 105 employees, 45 are BisTrack users. BisTrack was chosen by the directors to manage the group’s entire business following the recommendations of the team at one of their acquisitions where the software had been used for around seven years. Members of staff at that company were called upon to train the new users as the solution was rolled out throughout the group, branch by branch.
Epicor partner NIS supported the software implementation through specification and supply of all the hardware the group needed. They will continue to supply signature capture pads and other mobile devices to the group as it ‘grows into’ the BisTrack solution and uses more of its powerful functionality.
Following the implementation of the BisTrack solution, the Verdon Group team saw benefits immediately—particularly through the business intelligence the software provides. “At the drop of a hat we now had a way of instantly seeing what we’re selling, what margin we’re making, and we’re able to adjust prices overnight if we want to!” explains Doran. “We’d held customer data before on our manual systems, but now we can access it immediately to see what customers are spending or if they haven’t bought from us for a while. We’re too big an operation now to approve requests for extra credit or to block accounts on a casual basis. BisTrack allows us to share information about customers across the group through notes within the system so everyone can see what decision has been made about a customer’s account. BisTrack has given us totaland utter controllability over how we trade across the group.”
Service at the trade counter is fast and efficient since implementing the BisTrack solution as all products are held in the system and are easy to find. But Doran wanted to speed up sales further and they are about to implement a new system using electronic devices in the yard. He says, “At the momentcustomers who have purchased materials in the yard bring in a ticket from whoever has served them and we enter what they‘ve bought in BisTrack at the counter. For me, the new system we’re about to introduce will revolutionise our business! When customers arrive, they will be invited to come to the trade counter where, if they want materials from the yard, we’ll radio for a particular person to come in and look after them. Once in the yard, the salesperson will enter what the customer buys in their mobile terminal, and when they come back in to pay or sign, their order will already be on the system.”
Credit control is another area where there have been huge improvements since the implementation of BisTrack. “Using smart views, we are prompted to communicate with customers over credit account issues,” explains Doran. Another smart view alerts the sales team when their customers are getting close to their credit limit, so they can call and maybe extend their limit or arrange to pay something off their account.”
Doran says that this type of service is another way of looking after customers. “It may save them the embarrassment of sending someone in who won’t get served and helps build our relationship with them. The pricing rules in BisTrack also ensure every customer is charged their correct price, consistently, no matter which branch they visit. That wasn’t happening before, and it’s a real benefit to us and the customers. The price rules also allow us to analyse what our regular customers are buying a lot of, and set special prices for those products, say, for the next three months.”
As sales director, Doran is constantly dividing his time between branches. A specific benefit for him is that he can log on to his BisTrack dashboard at any branch to see what’s going on in the business and draw his team’s attention to anything amiss.
“We’re part of the BisTrack user group, and I like how Epicor takes on board what the group feeds back to them,” says Doran. “It’s also clear that Epicor is moving the development of BisTrack forward all the time, and I’m looking forward to some of the new features we’ve heard about at recent customer events.”