|We felt our business was being unnecessarily constrained.|
Established over three decades ago, Sydney-based Graphic Art Mart (Gamart.com) is a family-owned import and distribution business supplying vinyls, paints and printers to the sign industry. With 40 employees across its New South Wales and Queensland operations, Gamart.com has grown significantly as digital image technology has become more advanced.
“The business has enjoyed years of growth but we had reached a point where our existing IT systems weren’t giving us the accuracy or reliability of data that we needed to keep expanding,” says Mark Tailby, Managing Director, Gamari.com. “We lacked up-to-date information, sophisticated financial reporting and had limited inventory planning. Our general ledger suffered, which impacted how we manage our debtors and creditors. We felt our business was being unnecessarily constrained.”
In looking to make further progress and continue to grow, the company was keen to build an e-commerce portal. It had to take orders and payments, and enable customers to track delivery online.
“We needed a stable work environment that could sustain a Web-based shop front, but it also had to support and develop our offline activities,” says Tailby. “In particular, we wanted improved levels of customer service, more efficiency and increased profitability.”
Tailby also wanted a system that would help him run the company remotely, since he was often away from the office.
“Personally, I wanted to be freed up as an owner-operator to run the business from anywhere in the world,” he says. “I saw here an opportunity that could allow me to do the things in life I wanted to do, but also still let me access the system and have information sent to me, which I might need to scrutinise.”
As a mid-sized business with expansion plans, Gamart.com wanted a solution from a large, reputable vendor.
“We were at the stage where we needed to look at the larger solution providers, such as a Microsoft® or SAP, for an enterprise solution,” Tailby says.
Gamart.com turned to computing solutions provider Compusoft Australia for help. The Microsoft Gold Certified Partner recommended Microsoft Dynamics® NAV because it offered a stable and easily configured IT environment that addressed the company’s changing business needs, now and for the future.
“Dynamics NAV provided the business essentials Gamart.com needed to manage all of its warehousing, import costs and finances, as well as customer relationship management,” explains Milton Went, Compusoft’s Sales Director. “As a comprehensive ERP platform, it also provided the base on which Gamart.com could build other infrastructure and systems, in particular, its e-commerce gateway.”
“Beside the strategic fit, staff were familiar with the Microsoft environment and its products were seen within the company as user-friendly,” says Tailby.
|We can get hold of more accurate data faster than before. In turn, this has reduced the time our financial controller takes to complete a Business Activity Statement from days to a few hours.|
|Mark Tailby, Managing Director, Gamart.com|
Compusoft began the implementation of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution in September 2008 and included Windows Server® 2008 running Microsoft Office 2005 and Windows® XP Professional and Microsoft SQL Server® 2005. The new enterprise platform went live on 1 January 2009. “We were very pleased with the high degree of competency shown by our partner, Compusoft,” says Tailby. “They understood our business and worked closely with us to ensure we achieved our main goals.
“Value for money is critical for a mid-sized business such as ours and Compusoft was able to assist by giving us a fixed price.”
With Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Gamart.com has a stable business transactional environment for managing its financial services, inventory and client base. It has delivered greater business visibility and efficiencies and enabled the company to build an e-commerce portal.
Critical business insight
Most importantly, Gamart.com has improved general ledger management.
“Previously, our biggest problem was not having a stable, reliable general ledger,” says Tailby. “Dynamics NAV gives us a professional accounting environment. We can get hold of more accurate financial data faster than before. In turn, this has reduced the time our financial controller takes to complete a Business Activity Statement from days to a few hours.”
Reporting has also improved. Gamart.com can reliably see what is going on across the company’s different business divisions through improved management reporting.
“We suffered from a lack of detailed, up-to-date information, which wasn’t always reliable,” says Tailby. “By being able to use Dynamics NAV to critically analyse data, we are given a better indication of how each of our key business areas is performing. In a competitive market, this can make all the difference.”
Better ledger management
Creditor management has also improved, partly because Microsoft Dynamics NAV has helped the company switch to using electronic funds transfer to make payments.
“Instead of having to sign 200 cheques a month, I can log into the system and use a digital signature to automatically pay suppliers,” says Tailby. “Not only does it save a few hours each month, it lets me to do it anywhere in the world.
“We used to have two people handling the creditor functions. Dynamics NAV allowed us to redeploy one of them to our warehouse, which has made us more efficient.”
Debtor management has also been enhanced, because outstanding invoices are linked to customer data.
“It’s easier for us to make changes to the system to improve the trading terms of our debtors and reduce the number of days accounts are outstanding,” says Tailby. “By track monies owed better, we have reduced outstanding receivables and improved cash flow.”
Gamart.com placed a high priority on launching an e-commerce site. Microsoft Dynamics NAV provided the foundation on which Gamart.com has built a Web shopfront which enables customers to access product or technical information and pricing, and place orders.
“Signwriters often use the evenings to prepare quotes for their own customers or look to order stock for specific jobs,” says Tailby. “By making an e-commerce portal available, signwriters aren’t dependent on our office hours. They can get prices, prepare accurate quotes or order online whenever it suits them.”
Customers can also use the portal to receive copies of invoices and statements as well as track the progress of an order, which in turn reduces manual processing and paperwork.
“In a growing business, this efficiency should mean we can handle more business without needing to employ more staff, or let staff go,” says Tailby. “The objective is to let our customers deal with us 24/7, 365 days a year. The web site was launched 10 days ago and is getting B2B and B2C hits and sales. We expect this to be huge.”
Tailby says the e-commerce site opens up niche markets that it didn’t have the resources to target in the past.
“The cost of servicing some of these niche markets is normally too high because they are labour-intensive. The Web site removes the need to deal with clients one on one, so it’s possible to cater to the smaller operators.” As a result, Tailby believes that its system will underpin future growth, wherever that comes from.
“You hear plenty of disaster stories with ERP implementations but it was incredibly easy making the transition from our 15-year-old system. Microsoft Dynamics NAV gives us a robust platform to grow and run a modern 21st-century business,” says Tailby.
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: http://www.microsoft.com/australia/dynamics
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics products and services, call 1800 197 960. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: http://www.microsoft.com/australia/dynamics/
For more information about Compusoft Australia products and services, call +02 9597 4377 or visit the Web site at: http://www.compusoftaus.com.au
For more information about Graphic Art Mart products and services, call +61 2 8843 0299 or visit the Web site at: http://www.gamart.com