Stephens & George Print Group chose Crimsonwing as the supplier for the company’s new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Stepping away from the industry’s typical management information system solution, Stephens & George could see the benefits of using a fully integrated ERP system. After careful review, the award-winning Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis was selected as the platform of choice, offering the full benefits of an ERP solution with the additional print industry specific modules built-in. The firm wanted to implement a system flexible enough not only to cope with the evolving requirements of a comprehensive print business, but also to provide a solid core system with a user-friendly interface. Situation
Andrew Jones, Group Managing Director at Stephens & George Print Group, wanted to improve productivity and streamline the firm’s processes by introducing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. He says: “The need for one system was crucial, providing a seamless flow of data. Previously each function—for example, ordering, marketing, and production—was using a separate system, but we wanted visibility from the first process of finding a potential client to the profit analysis on that client after work has been completed.”
The management team had already highlighted that a key issue was the lack of information obtainable from the existing management information system. It was becoming increasingly difficult to access reliable information. With the segmented structure of the systems in use, it meant reports had to be run on multiple platforms and viewed in tandem, which was awkward and time consuming. The team also wanted to address the information flow throughout the organisation, with best practices incorporated in all departments. In addition, the system needed to provide accurate real-time management accounts and analysis tools to help the company maintain a competitive edge, while monitoring profitability.
|The system has given us clarity in our thinking, turning decisions that traditionally could have been seen as risky into actions based on solid facts.|
| Andrew Jones|
Group Managing Director
Stephens & George Print Group
Jones says: “The goal was to understand how our business worked, where costs were incurred and where profits were created. We needed a clear and effective flow of information to make key decisions. The system has given us clarity in our thinking, turning decisions that traditionally could have been seen as risky into actions based on solid facts.” Solution
Stephens & George approached Microsoft to find out more about the technology available, as well as asking it to highlight suitable implementation partners. Microsoft suggested Crimsonwing, based on a background and solid competencies within the print and media industry. Crimsonwing was able to demonstrate the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis, the only fully integrated print-specific ERP platform at that time. Crimsonwing is the exclusive United Kingdom distributor for this printing vertical. The whole team at Stephens & George immediately saw the benefits of a solution with real-time data and a single point of entry, with the added advantage of an optimised printer’s workflow.
With the initial implementation completed, Stephens & George started to explore the functionality available within the Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis platform. Thereafter, the approach was to bring the sales team on to the system and introduce the staff to the CRM module. This allowed Stephens & George to use the same customer data as the production and finance teams, capturing all correspondents related to their contacts within the same system. Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis integrated with Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client, so all appointments and tasks were synchronised between the two systems. The new campaign and contact management system allows feedback on targeted sales and one-off estimates.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis provides a flexible print-related estimating package where new processes and machinery can be configured as the business evolves. Job pricing is captured and deviations from the estimates are highlighted, allowing the group to scrutinise profitability on a job-by-job or client-by-client basis. Automated stock controls were also implemented.
For Stephens & George, the important part of the implementation was not only to drive production, but also to ensure that every aspect of the business feeds into the correct ledgers. Now, monthly group, departmental, and cost-centre accounts are produced. In addition, an automated payroll system was incorporated into Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis.
Stephens & George has continued to develop the solution both internally and externally since its rollout. It has expanded its warehouse capabilities and introduced a full bar-coded warehouse solution using Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft .NET. The user-interface was built with handheld devices in mind, allowing Stephens & George to receive, issue, return, and consume goods using 2D and 3D bar codes directly feeding into PrintVis. This gives the management team accurate information of paper wastage and actual consumption.
Michael Donovan, Technical Manager, Stephens & George Print Group, says: “The Crimsonwing support has been excellent. The skills of the support staff are phenomenal. All issues are logged and given a unique identification number. From there, the issue is assigned to the team dedicated to Stephens & George and the issues are solved in a timely manner. The best part of having such support is that ideas can be converted into actual modifications fast. There’s no waiting for the next release of the software—the system can change as quickly as your business requires it to.” Benefits
With Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis, Stephens & George has streamlined its processes, boosted productivity, and increased visibility of information. Significantly, given the current economic climate, the firm has also reduced its costs.
Productivity increased, costs lowered
|Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis has allowed our commercial departments to produce higher levels of work without the need for additional staff. The flow from estimate to order is smooth, giving increased flexibility, which is essential in the constantly changing world of print.|
| Michael Donovan|
Stephens & George
“Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis has allowed our commercial departments to produce higher levels of work without the need for additional staff. The flow from estimate to order is smooth, giving increased flexibility, which is essential in the constantly changing world of print. Purchasing practices have improved and entries are posted into the financial ledgers with ease. With one system, we’ve been able to remove many software packages and their related upgrade and support costs,” says Donovan.
Time savings made
Stephens & George is making significant time savings with the new system thanks to having better processes in place. With the help of automated monthly stock controls and reports from the standard package, the original four-day stock management process has been condensed into just one hour. The improved processes have also led to more efficient invoicing, with accurate invoicing to paper, email, or automatic external accounting systems. This has reduced invoicing time from 10 to three working days.
Business processes streamlined
The purchasing process is now smoother because items can be purchased in relation to their use in a client’s order. Job creation and full factory scheduling were introduced, so machinery can be loaded up with work in advance of the production becoming available, predicting future factory throughput and sales levels. This streamlines the process and helps the firm plan for production.
Customer service improved
For added value in the dispatch process, the company’s transport management was incorporated within Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis, with daily dispatch manifests linked to purchase orders for contractors. This provides accurate cost analysis, which allowed Stephens & George to streamline its fleet and provide an improved service to clients through the effective use of subcontractors and the organisation of shipments by areas.
“We’d thoroughly recommend both Microsoft Dynamics NAV PrintVis as a package and Crimsonwing as an implementation and support partner. The package is tried and tested in the business world, yet is flexible enough so you can tailor it to your specific business needs. The quality of support is first class and the knowledge of the system is excellent,” says Jones. Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to:
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For more information about Stephens & George Print Group products and services, call 01685 388888 or visit the website at:www.stephensandgeorge.co.uk This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.