The Kings Group is Australia's premier metropolitan transport and logistics provider. It incorporates a fleet of more than 1000 vehicles nationally, and employs over 280 staff.
The Kings Group started in 1991 with just two vehicles and has now grown to encompass 35 companies in the group. The Kings Group has offices in five of Australia’s mainland capital cities.
Kings Group was using MYOB and Microsoft Excel for its accounting and reporting requirements. However, having grown to include 35 companies within the group, this set up was no longer meeting the needs of the business. Consolidation of accounts was taking weeks each quarter and reports needed to be produced manually.
In July 2005, Jeremy Gleeson, accountant for Kings Group, began the process of evaluating alternative financial systems. A short list of software solutions was developed, before making the final decision to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly Axapta).
Kings Group chose Dynamics AX as it felt its capabilities best matched the needs of the business, especially the reporting and import functions. A Microsoft-based platform was also highly appealing to Kings Group and it felt the familiar look and feel would enhance ease of use, especially for junior account clerks.
Kings Group is now using Microsoft Dynamics AX for core financials, including accounts payable, and uses Atlas for reporting linked to Excel. Atlas also links Dynamics AX to payroll.
Kings Group chose Professional Advantage as its implementation partner. Professional Advantage impressed Kings Group with its in-depth business requirements analysis and system design. It was also the most cost effective quote.
The implementation started in October 2005 and went live in April 2006, meeting all the milestones set out in the implementation plan. The project also ran to budget.
The only problem during the implementation process was the difficulty of getting data out of the old system.
Kings Group staff participated in several training sessions with Professional Advantage, which contributed to a smooth implementation. “Team members have been very impressed with the functionality and are constantly looking for ways they can increase efficiency further,” stated Gleeson.
With 35 companies in the group, but the same vendors, chart of accounts and bank accounts shared across the companies, data had to be re-entered manually for each of the companies in MYOB. Obviously, this created many opportunities for errors in addition to being quite time-intensive. In Dynamics AX the virtual company functionality allows the chart of accounts to be shared across the group and items to be tagged to each company. This allows data like a new vendor or ledger to be changed once and then applied to the relevant companies, for greatly improving accuracy and efficiency. According to Gleeson, the reduction in data entry requirements has lead to one staff member being transferred to another role within the company.
“The reduced requirement for data entry has meant staff can now concentrate on more productive, interesting and rewarding work,” said Gleeson.
Based just on these staff costs, Gleeson expects Kings Group will achieve a return on its investment in roughly two and a half years.
Reporting has also greatly improved with the new system. Previously, profit and loss reports and balance sheets had to be manually produced for each of the 30-odd companies in the group and then consolidated, and the management team could only be provided with printed versions of the reports. Now, with Dynamics AX and Atlas, managers can open a profit report on screen and drill down as required, to a much greater level of detail. A change in the database is reflected in the report real time, while previously information could become outdated within a day. The reporting capabilities of the new system have saved the company at least two days per month per employee. Reports can also be viewed on demand, rather than waiting for the accounts department to produce them.
Kings Group is currently implementing the purchasing module of Dynamics AX and expects this to go live on 1 July 2007. It is also evaluating the invoicing module and expects to make a decision on this shortly.