PlumbCity managers are empowered by BisTrack

Published:  20 October, 2014

PlumbCity started trading in 2003 from one branch in Colchester. This year the company opens its 11th branch and typically serves small plumbing and heating firms. Steve Wimbledon is managing director of the independently owned company and employs 80 staff. BisTrack software is due to go live across the group at the end of this year.

“Our people and our stock holding are what differentiates us in the market,” explained Mr Wimbledon. “We try to offer the best possible customer service and we hold £4m worth of stock across our branches - most of which is available for delivery the following day.”

Since the outset, PlumbCity has been using a Linux-based Epicor system to process sales and stock management. But when BisTrack software became part of the Epicor family, Mr Wimbledon visited other BisTrack users and liked what he saw.

He said: “It was obvious that companies approaching the system in a positive way were getting the most out of it, and I was impressed by the extra functionality it could offer. Our existing system had served us well, but to offer a more streamlined service to our customers, I really needed to have more control over how we processed transactions and limit what individual users could do. A key requirement was to have better control over specials as they are a big part of our business.”

Mr Wimbledon added: “With our existing system we can convert data to Excel and run reports, but we have no dashboard functionality to give us business intelligence when we need it. That was the real appeal of BisTrack – to be able to access information quickly and not have to rely on our IT department to get it for us.”

At the moment the company uses third party software to produce dashboards that only certain people have access to. With BisTrack each branch manager will have their own dashboard so that they can measure their own success.

Mr Wimbledon said: “Not only will they be able to check their sales figures, they will also see where they are with returns to suppliers or outstanding orders. With all that information in front of them it will be easier for them to drill down and make those responsible accountable for their actions or to delegate tasks. BisTrack will really empower our management at all levels – whether they are directors, branch or financial managers.”

Mr Wimbledon added: “Using BisTrack’s ScanTrack and related document features, we’re looking forward to being able to drill down to find all the documents related to an order. These features will make a massive difference for us by reducing printing and saving time on filing and searching. For example, when we have an issue with something that is bought in for a customer, at the moment it usually involves three or four people searching for the purchase order and the delivery note. This will be a big plus for us.”

The Epicor team devised a low risk ‘migration plan’ to enable PlumbCity to move across smoothly to BisTrack from the legacy system. Stock and customer files were converted and IT manager, Jason Scott, loaded the sales history into the test system.

All branches will start using BisTrack on the same day and Mr Scott plans to have a ‘BisTrack Champion’ already trained on the system on standby at each location.

In Mr Scott’s opinion, because BisTrack is Microsoft Windows-based it will be easy for users to figure things out for themselves. “It looks so different to the Linux-based system,” he said. “Currently a manager will ask me to make a report for them, but with BisTrack they’ll be able to do it themselves, it’s so intuitive and easy to use.”

In the future Mr Wimbledon plans to implement BisTrack’s barcoding and online trading functionality, as well as the online portal where customers can check the status of their account and download PODs. “This will be another huge benefit for us,” he said. “We can save time and money by letting customers continue to interact with us even when we’re closed.

“I’m looking forward to working with a modern Microsoft system that’s easy to get data from. I’m confident that BisTrack will future proof our business.”

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