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Coolmate Corporation, one of the leaders in air-conditioning service in the Philippines and the authorized DENSO service center and parts distributor, recently upgraded its accounting and distribution processes with Microsoft Great Plains. The new system was implemented by Global Implementations Services (GIS), Inc., a prime Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner.

According to Coolmate President Vincent M. Tagle, "Our vision for the future sees our dealers transacting business with us through the web. I don't want to be limited by looking only within the Philippines for business. I want to think globally, and expand to manufacturing. This is why it is important for us to acquire an effective IT solution for our business."

With franchises all over the country, Coolmate services all brands of air conditioners and accepts radiator repairs, fleet services, and batteries, oil and filter change services. The company specializes in DENSO air conditioners, which are mostly installed in Japanese cars like Isuzu, Honda, and 80% of Toyota cars. Coolmate is a pioneer in DENSO compressor rebuilding and DENSO sparkplugs and wiper blades retailing. As DENSO's sole authorized original equipment installer and Pre-Delivery Inspector, the company's technicians undergo regular training at DENSO facilities.

The accounting and inventory process of Coolmate was previously managed with a DOS-based software. The main problem was that data could not be transferred. One person would handle the inventory, another would deal with the accounting and these people had to wait for each other to finish before they could proceed. The complicated interface also caused difficulty, delays, errors, and various difficulties dealing with the machine.

In search for the right IT solution for inventory and accounting, Coolmate acquired several programs. IBM provided them with a lease arrangement for a system with one server and 2-3 workstations. Tagle recalls, "I said let's get that server then lets get a programmer to customize the software, so we could save money". As is typical with these kinds of implementations, the departure of the programmer left Coolmate with a partially-functional system which could not be maximized because of the absence of a person who could complete the project and train users.
Coolmate again started looking for software capable of multi-warehouse and multi-currency functionalities as well as generation of needed reports. A locally-developed Windows-based program profiled for small local businesses was installed. However, the company immediately experienced errors and had limited functionality even with the upgrade. Worse, they did not benefit from training or even a users' manual.

Coolmate then installed Microsoft Great Plains with the support of GIS.

"Microsoft Great Plains addressed all the deficiencies of the past. The functionalities of this system were the right fit for our needs. Having GIS, a reliable and skilled Microsoft partner, complete the installation helped ensure that our investment was not waste. Our users were provided with adequate training, which is available when needed by new users. Still, the system has been very reliable; there has been hardly a need to call GIS' Customer Support," shared Tagle.

Microsoft Great Plains is 99% bug-free and the users have no complaints.

"With the previous software products we tried, we were plagued by a lot of bugs which we couldn't trace and which sometimes even the implementers couldn't solve", says Tagle. "Now, if we experienced problems, I would tend to think of it first as a Coolmate or a user problem; after all, Microsoft Great Plains is being used satisfactorily by several companies like General Electric and has been proven to be reliable. With the other products we tried, we couldn't say which one was to blame, the user or the software."

Coolmate is currently undergoing International Standards Organizations (ISO) procedures on receipts and they are confident the reports are reliable and error-free. "When the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) does an audit on us, I will be ready because our system is reliable," he says. "And if the tax system changes, we can easily modify our system with Microsoft Great Plains."
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