AT A GLANCE
- Clearlite Bathrooms
- Upgrade from 20-year-old legacy financial and stock control system to one that could support business’ past and future growth
- PRONTO-Xi integrated business solution
- Full visibility into the operation for senior management; manufacturing and customer service teams are no longer bogged down in repetitive paperwork, as they now have an IT-based system; finance department enjoys more accurate reports; and better stock control has resulted in a reduction in capital requirements for business.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Velocity Global Ltd
T: +64 9 358 4445
Clearlite Bathrooms is a one-stop centre for bathroom fixtures and fittings. Through acquisition and organic growth, the company has become the largest home-grown manufacturer and distributor of bathroomware in New Zealand. It offers a complete range of showers, vanities, baths, spas, vitreous china, mirrors and bathroom furniture.
Most of the company’s products are manufactured in-house at Avondale and on Auckland’s North Shore.
With its growth in scale and, staffing levels consequently increasing to over 120, the three decades-old company knew it had to ramp up its IT capabilities. For almost 20 years, Clearlite’s IT requirements, from financials to stock control, had been met by Nixdorf’s Comet software, running on an old proprietary operating system. While the text-based system had served the company well in the past, it couldn’t support future growth or indeed the company’s present needs.
“The information was not very visible. Enquiries on-screen were very limited, and getting information was cumbersome and quite laborious,” says Gene Sanford, Clearlite’s business processes and IT manager. “We needed something to speed up the process.”
Faced with the choice of either upgrading the existing software or going for an alternative, Clearlite opted for the latter.
In June 2007, Clearlite started evaluating various integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. “A number of the systems I saw we had to dismiss very quickly,” says Sanford.
“I looked at three in-depth. PRONTO-Xi was the best fit for our business. It was adaptable and you could change it around without too many problems. Some of the other products were nice, with lots of bells and whistles, but you needed an IT department to run them, and we don’t employ a lot of IT people.”
Out of PRONTO-Xi’s suite of integrated business solutions, Clearlite selected nine modules, including Distribution, Financials and Manufacturing. The software was rolled out, with minimal customisation, across the 40-user site over a six-month period, beginning in early 2008.
Installation was completed on time and within budget. “It’s a testament to Velocity Global,” says Sanford of Pronto’s local partner, which did the implementation.
“The proposal Velocity presented to Clearlite was right on the mark. “They understood us and we understood them.”
As well as undertaking the installation, Velocity also did the data conversion, while Sanford himself wrote all the internal manuals and trained the staff.
“We gave ourselves three months to ready our people and prepare for the process, and then six months to go live.”
As scheduled, Clearlite went live on July 1, 2008. “Everyone was ready. We had put in significant effort to get things right in the early days of planning. Our target was to get 90% of our processes to go live on Day One and we achieved this. Everything went brilliantly.”
Catalyst for change
The new installation has resulted in benefits throughout the organisation, providing Clearlite with the kind of information visibility it didn’t have in the past.
“The implementation of PRONTO-Xi has been a major leap forward for the business. The integration offers full visibility of the operation and the traceability is great,” says Sanford.
For senior management, PRONTO-Xi offers information they didn’t have in the past. “Senior management had no access to the old system. They have access to this new one.”
And the executive information system is a definite plus, as it provides summary information and drills down to links suitable for senior management. “It gives so much information at the finger tips,” says Sanford.
For the manufacturing and customer service teams, the shift from manual spreadsheets and repetitive paperwork to an IT-based solution is a blessing. Pieces of paper flying back and forth are now a thing of the past. “It has improved the productivity of our teams,” says Sanford.
The financial module, which incorporates accounts payable and receivable, has provided the finance department with more accurate reports. With Financial Report Writer, the company now has quick access to comprehensive reports and is able to easily drill down to underlying transactional data, allowing staff to concentrate on interpretation rather than processing of figures.
And the tools in the distribution module have enabled Clearlite to manage and track its stock better. This has resulted in a reduction in the capital needed to run the business and also improved stock integrity. And it has helped improve customer service.
“The visibility of information makes us more responsive to customer demand,” says Sanford.
“PRONTO-Xi continues to serve as a catalyst for change. The transition has gone really well, and we’ll continue to build on top of what we’ve got, which will help us improve the business further,” Sanford concludes.