How ERP floated marine supply store's boat
Growing business throws accounting package overboard, selects Jiwa ERP solution…
When a burgeoning Tasmanian marine supply business reached the limits of its accounting package, it looked to an enterprise resource planning solution to take better control of the company and equip it for future growth. After a careful examination of the market, Active Marine selected Jiwa – and has seen a dramatic improvement in inventory management, a former bugbear for the business.
Since opening in 2003 hundreds of boating enthusiasts have turned to Active Marine for the purchase and servicing of their marine vessels. Having grown from a one-person operation, the Mornington (near Hobart) dealership now has seven full time staff, a workshop, a spare parts unit and an impressive showroom. Many of Tasmania’s highest profile and biggest marine businesses are customers of Active Marine.
In 2009 Active Marine owner Dave Wilkinson realised the business had outgrown its accounting system. He also recognised that the system lacked functionality that could meet the growing needs of his business. “The package we had did many things very well, but one thing it couldn’t do – which was important to us – was the tracking of inventory items via serial numbers,” he explains. “Job costings was another capability our previous system lacked, and these limitations made it difficult for us to accurately plan, track and manage repair tasks, boat construction projects and similar jobs. It was time for us to acquire a new system to run the dealership.”
In consultation with his IT specialist, Wilkinson sought a solution which would streamline day-to-day accounting, inventory, servicing and job costing tasks and take his dealership to new levels of efficiency and productivity. The search brought him to Jiwa.
Jiwa is developed to ensure the highest degree of accuracy when it comes to the management of financials, inventory and warehousing.
“We installed Jiwa and haven’t looked back since,” says Wilkinson. “One of the main things that attracted me to Jiwa was that it could track every inventory item by serial number. This means we can easily look up when we sold something and know what stock of that item we have left. With Jiwa we have greatly enhanced our stock control processes, which has proved a big benefit both for us and our customers.”
One of the characteristics that distinguishes Jiwa from other business management solution vendors is its willingness to accommodate system customisations for customers. This is an attribute that has benefited Active Marine, as Wilkinson explains: “With many software providers the message is, ‘This is our system, we’re not adding anything new for you, take it or leave it’. But with Jiwa, they are happy to add functionality that enhances use of the product.”
One example is the development of a plugin for Active Marine which allows recording a spare part as a ‘temp’, meaning it isn’t in stock at present. “When a temp is entered, it automatically converts into a reserve order that cannot be processed for invoicing. At the end of the week, we go through reserve orders and, if the part has come in, we process it. This provides a foolproof way to improve stock control,” Wilkinson explains, adding that Jiwa has provided several such customised features for his business.
When a customer brings a boat in to Active Marine for spare parts, repairs and/or service, a new job sheet gets created in Jiwa. All parts, consumables (such as oil) and labour costs are entered as the job progresses, allowing Wilkinson and his team to have a complete picture of each job through every phase up until final invoicing.
"Jiwa automates our job creation and processing tasks very thoroughly and capably,” Wilkinson says. “When we open Jiwa’s Service Manager, we raise the customer’s job sheet and start adding the parts for that job and everything else associated. When finished, the job sheet converts into a clearly itemised sales order invoice. When the customer pays, aspects of the job are allocated, so we stay on top of each job every step of the way.”
One aspect to which he draws attention is the built-in controls. “You have no choice but to be methodical. Jiwa doesn’t allow shortcuts; if data is entered the right way, it won’t proceed. This is important for profit and loss statements, as everything needs to be complete and accurate. This is the type of accountability we like and it’s what our Jiwa solution delivers.”
“Jiwa doesn’t allow shortcuts; if data isn't entered the right way, it won’t proceed. This is important for profit and loss statements, as everything needs to be complete and accurate.”
In March 2014 Jiwa rolled out the latest version of its ERP system, Jiwa 7. Active Marine was one of the first businesses to deploy the new version.
“We were advised that the new version of Jiwa would be faster, more robust and would allow us to carry out various processes using fewer steps than before,” says Wilkinson. “As it turned out, Jiwa was spot on. The new system is faster – things that tool three or four steps are down to two. For example, sales invoicing and stock control management is quicker with fewer steps to enter data and get the needed information.”
Looking to the future, Wilkinson sees no reason not to stay with Jiwa as his dealership continues to thrive. “Jiwa runs our operation very effectively. While there are other ERP systems catering to the marine industry, Jiwa does everything we need and does it well.”
Source: This article was originally sourced from Jiwa Financials