A big breath of fresh air for Fire Fighting Pacific

Feb 19, 2014
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Management at Telarc ISO 9001-accredited Fire Fighting Pacific has a crystal clear view of business at the speed-of-business since Greentree was implemented.

BUSINESS BENEFITS

  • Job Costing enables a level of cost detail not previously visible. This has resulted in pin-point accuracy and more competitive pricing, with direct positive impact on profit.
  • CRM as a central business hub enables access to consistent customer data, which has improved customer service levels.
  • Greentree Business Partner’s implementation experience and consultative approach enables progressive discussion about best practice processes. This paves the way for a quick and more efficient implementation.
  • Estimated 200-300% improvement in overall quality of information flows and tightening of business processes. “Infinite expandability” future-proofs investment.
  • Ultra-high visibility of thousands of tasks is unprecedented. This will provide an outstanding platform for future growth and competitiveness.

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The business situation

Half of Fire Fighting Pacific’s (FFP) business involves fixed installations such as sprinkler systems and fire alarms, whilst the remaining half involves servicing and maintaining those systems post-installation. The business was having difficulty with a financial system that could only talk to the job costing system via a fragile interface. System upgrades often wreaked havoc by causing the interface to fall over, resulting in constant downtime, whilst vendor support was considerately described by Charlie Loughnan, Corporate Services Manager, as “moderately reliable”. Customer information was being maintained in several different locations, which exacerbated the administrative challenge of maintaining consistent data.

Topping the new system wish list was a central CRM hub for managing the company’s 2,800 customer sites. Charlie envisaged this would be fully integrated to a pinpoint-accurate job costing system, which would help improve profitability and competitiveness.

Greentree over Exonet

Greentree was evaluated alongside Exonet but as Michelle Foster, Accounting Analyst explains, integration depends entirely on your definition: “At the time of the demonstration Exonet’s CRM capability wasn’t proven and integration from the nominal ledgers to the general ledger was not real-time.” Greentree is a ‘live’, proven and truly integrated system.

Job costing ‘lifeblood’ of business

The tender process for multi-million dollar installations is highly competitive and Charlie says that without a formidable job costing capability, they simply couldn’t be as accurate as they needed to be. “It’s absolutely imperative that we know exactly what level of profit we can make on a job from the outset. We were struggling to clearly ascertain this in the previous system, but Greentree enables us to take Job Costing to a whole new level.

“The cross-referencing of expenditure enables ultra-high visibility of costs such as the depreciation of plant and equipment which can be factored into the hourly rate charged on any given job.” When jobs range from a few dollars to millions, it’s imperative that the “competitive pricing of jobs enables us to make a profit. We now know exactly how much margin we have and what the impact is on the bottom line, and that’s absolutely invaluable”. None of the other systems evaluated could reveal that level of cost detail.

Fire Fighting Pacific has always treated its service activity as a profit centre.

“We consider the service side to be our bread and butter,” says Management Accountant Wendy Roulston. “It’s the maintenance of your customers that is really the ongoing revenue.”

FF P gives its technicians in the field the ability to access the company’s ERP system via mobile devices. This enables them to respond better on the spot, gathering all the details of the customer's system, entering all the job information from parts to labour charges, then sending the complete billing information back to the office for invoicing.

CRM as business hub

Over the years, FF P has installed various systems to support incremental growth, but “as time has gone by, these systems have become increasingly irrelevant”, says Charlie. Trying to maintain burgeoning amounts of customer data in multiple locations had become counter-productive and at times “embarrassing”. This is because occasionally, different FF P staff might contact the same customer about the same issue because they’re accessing differing sets of information.

CRM now provides the infrastructure required to service FF P’s growing customer base. All information is now entered once and viewed from anywhere by authorised FF P customer service staff. This has reduced administration costs and improved customer service levels, since staff now have access to consistent customer information.

Consultative approach to best way of doing things

Michelle found the Greentree Business Partner’s years of experience in new system implementations made it easy to have meaningful and progressive conversations with their consultants. This ensured that Greentree was configured to optimise key business processes, and post-implementation support has always been readily available.

“The Greentree Business Partner has a thorough understanding of how best to integrate business processes into Greentree. Their depth of knowledge of new system implementations makes them well able to engage on a business level and grasp what’s required very quickly,” says Michelle.

“Infinite expandability” future-proofs investment

Charlie points out that whilst it’s essential to have all the back-office systems efficiently capturing business data, it’s another thing to overlay that data with reporting and analysis tools to glean Business Intelligence insights. To that end, Michelle applies her accounting and systems analysis skills to developing custom reports and ‘tidying and tightening’ business processes. As a result, Michelle estimates a 200-300% improvement in the flow, consistency and quality of business information. For Charlie, what stood out was Greentree’s massive customisable capability, which effectively safeguards the business investment for years to come.

Greentree has enabled a level of task visibility Fire Fighting Pacific has never had before. They’re now certain that every task performed on behalf of customers contributes to the bottom line.

Charlie concludes: “Greentree offers long-term infinite expandability to accommodate and manage business growth. We envisage developing it well into Fire Fighting Pacific’s future.”

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Fire Fighting Pacific LogoFire Fighting Pacific is a 100% New Zealand-owned and operated Fire Protection Contractor with a Telarc Accredited ISO 9001 Quality System. The Company is I.Q.P. Registered, certified by the National Fire Protection Association, and approved by the Insurance Council of New Zealand.

With innovative design capabilities and leading edge technology, Fire Fighting Pacific provides design, supply, installation and maintenance of all types of fire protection systems available in New Zealand, thorough and innovative staff training, and an all-round building compliance service to its customers.

For more information visit: http://www.ffp.co.nz

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