Since its launch in 2000 WaiveStar’s tremendous success has been accompanied by some significant growing pains. In 2006 they called in Sage solution provider, Enabling, to streamline their financial and accounting systems as well as implementing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.
WaiveStar is an Australian organisation that delivers supply chain management solutions to small, medium and large organisations. Their clients include well known brands such as Blockbuster, Suzuki, Crazy Johns and Sony Ericsson.
The services provides to these clients includes fulfillment, mailing, distribution, procurement and graphic design services, as well as supplying customers with marketing and promotional products such as brochures, posters and point-of-sale stands. They deliver these services via a custom built online tool known as WaiveNet, which has been crucial in the success of WaiveStar’s business.
Over the past 5 years the WaiveStar Group experienced exponential growth of up to 90% per annum, resulting in the company being named the winner of the Victorian Government Business Growth Award in 2005.
When WaiveStar commenced operations they had three staff, including founder and CEO Michelle Power and one major customer. By the end of 2006 they had grown to 35 staff with over 40 customers to manage.
This rapid growth and success, however, presented a host of new challenges to the organisation.
The original financial and administrative systems were incapable of effectively managing the increased level of business, generating significant administrative burdens, personnel issues and inaccuracies. Ayda Hornak, Infrastructure and Innovation Manager for WaiveStar, mentions how employees were entering customer information into at least seven different databases, including excel spreadsheets, small CRM systems and disparate accounting systems.
“What the growth was leading to was a lot of time in admin”, says Hornak. It took two staff in finance two days a month to process the invoices for one customer.
With multiple points of data entry across the business came mistakes in customer information and records handling leading to dissatisfaction and lost business opportunities. All of these problems pointed to the need for a robust and integrated CRM/ERP system, where all staff had access to a single application and point of entry.
As well as addressing these deficiencies and reducing administration errors, any new system needed to be customisable enough to integrate with WaiveStar’s proprietary online supply chain management system. It would also need to cope with WaiveStar’s unique and complex invoicing procedures.
A Flexible Remedy
Waivestar went to tender in 2006, looking for a sophisticated solution that would meet their unique requirements, reduce the administrative burden on their finance department, improve the level of service to their customers and position them for the future.
Initially, they reviewed eight different options before drawing up a shortlist of three contenders. As well as Sage, they evaluated Sapphire One and Pronto. Pricing across all three solutions were similar, however Sage came out in front due to its flexibility and superior CRM model.
Enabling, a leading solution provider of business management applications, implemented the first phase of the new system in a three month project. Ms Hornak comments, “In working with us, Enabling showed a tremendous level of integrity and exceptional customer service. The level of knowledge within the group was a massive advantage. They were extremely innovative and flexible when it came to meeting our unique requirement and the challenges that arose during the project.”
With the Sage Accpac ERP and CRM software, Enabling was able to restructure Waivestars backend business processes into a centralised solution. This was achieved by making use of standard functionality and features, as well as utilsing the software architecture or framework to develop components to compliment the core application offering. A significant component of this design was use of inbuilt workflows within CRM, assisting WaiveStar with streamlining a wide range of day-to-day business processes and dramatically improving the accuracy of data.
The project commenced in January 2006 and was completed by April that year with critical success factors being the dedication of both project teams – enabling key milestones to be met and direct transfer of valuable knowledge to be shared.
It was this successful implementation and the confidence in the flexibility and breadth of the Sage solution that lead to team to put in a place a second phase of this project.
What use to take days to complete is now done in a matter of hours. Ms Hornak reports that 60% efficiency gains have been achieved across the entire business, while the accuracy of data has improved dramatically through the automation and integration of key business processes.
“Productivity gains have been significant. Via the integrated solution, WaiveStar’s accounts team can now access quotes and sales orders stored in the CRM system quickly and
easily without the need to consult and cross reference multiple databases”.
Another key benefit of the solution is the level of reporting it offers. “The senior management team within WaiveStar now has more time and more insightful information mined from their integrated CRM/ERP system on which to base business decisions – e.g. identifying opportunities in their customer’s supply chains to up-sell or on-sell WaiveStar’s services”.
WaiveStar, with Enabling’s support and guidance, are commencing phase two of the project to further enhance the integration between Sage Accpac ERP and CRM with their propriety customer portal, WaiveNet. Waivenet is the backbone of the current customer ordering system and is currently limited in the flexibility it offers to customers due to lack of integration with backoffice services – such as Warehousing and Distribution.
Enabling aims to enhance the service offering WaiveStar is able to provide via this portal by building additional flexibility into the solution and integrating key processes directly with the ERP and CRM applications, thus protecting the investment in Waivenet and further strengthening the Sage enterprise solution.