New ERP system keeps broadcaster humming
10/08/2012 - Television is highly labour-intensive. It costs thousands of dollars to make a single programme.
MediaWorks owns television channels TV3 and Four, as well as dozens of radio stations throughout New Zealand (including More FM and Radio Live). Its television arm, TVWorks, employs mostly contract labour to produce popular shows such as "7 Days" and "Would I Lie To You".
"We have to have very tight control over programme budgets," Michelle Mullins, finance manager, said.
"We needed something that would enable us to get the information uploaded quickly, effectively, and be able to report back to the production managers — and that's exactly what Greentree gave us."
TVWorks has offices in Wellington and Christchurch, while radio station operator RadioWorks is based in Hamilton. The accounts for all these activities have to be consolidated at MediaWorks' Auckland HQ. Month-end consolidation used to be a twoday job.
"Everything around TV is go, go, go," Mullins says, "so you need to have your finger on the pulse when it comes to costs. Greentree enables us to give quick responses when a producer wants to do something: here's a report that's up to date to the last payroll that's where your costs sit, you've got your budget — away you go."
MediaWorks' accountants handle thousands of invoices and purchase orders every month, but Greentree has made data entry backlogs a thing of the past.
"We've gone from batch updating to real-time," Mullins said.
"I can go into Greentree, knowing that an invoice that's been entered is in the right place, and carries the right production code."
Tasks that used to take hours have been reduced to minutes. A large travel invoice that could take 30 minutes to key in is now handled with a quick exchange of spreadsheets and the push of a button. Reconciling fixed assets at month end used to take days — not anymore. A phone query from another department can be answered instantly rather than with an "I'll get back to you".
Sense of ownership
The implementation itself was a lesson for any business undertaking a major IT project. Staff who were going to be daily users of Greentree were involved from the outset, being brought into planning sessions to advise on their specific tasks. There was a celebration the day the system went live. Read the full story of the implementation here.
But wait, there's more…
The size of the project necessitated splitting it into stages. Stage One, now completed, involved just core Financial Management. Stage Two will involve customising Greentree's eRequisitions and eApprovals modules, so that the multitude of purchase orders can be managed via the web. Once this is implemented there'll be around 80 more users coming into the system, but given the smooth job done on Stage One, there is general confidence that this will be achieved with the same sense of purpose and enthusiasm.
"It feels now like we are doing the job we were employed to do," Mullins said. "We now have at our fingertips the data we need to analyse and produce for the departments. We're providing them with a complete breakdown of costs, and we're adding value to the numbers that we're producing.
"I think we've built a new level of trust with the department heads; they know that they can get the data that they need, and it gives them the ability to make better decisions."
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