As part of the Sonepar Pacific Group, Electrical Distributors of Western Australia have 15 branches in both metro and regional locations, with a head office based in Belmont (WA). With a huge catalogue of electrical items in their range Electrical Distributors offer an extensive distribution network to ensure all orders arrive in full and on time, every time.
Having already used Markinson’s Shopkeeper (Version 7) retail management solution for many years, Electrical Distributors wanted to take advantage of the additional functionality the latest version of Shopkeeper could offer.
“We hadn’t been as technologically-forward as many others in our industry. In the past 6-12 months, technology has become a greater focus for us to gain competitive advantage,” said Brett Byworth, IT and Administration Manager, Electrical Distributors.
“We don’t use point of sale; everything we do is done through the sales orders function of Shopkeeper. A key operational issue we were looking to address was improving the speed of processing our sales orders, which was important to improve our customer-facing processes.
“We were also spending a lot of time sending thousands of paper statements at the end of each month. To meet the requirements of some of our customers, we were double-handling statements by printing, scanning, and then emailing them”.
Electrical Distributors also wanted to implement a business intelligence solution to better monitor business performance, and to increase efficiency by making informed decisions more quickly.
“As our trusted technology partner, we had spoken with Markinson about the direction of Shopkeeper, and could see that upgrading to the latest Version 8, and implementing Shopkeeper’s Business Intelligence solution was going to be an important step in the direction of our business,” said Mr Byworth.
“We’ve seen a lot of things in Shopkeeper Version 8 that we’re excited about, but probably more than anything is that Version 8 is Markinson’s future direction for Shopkeeper. We knew we could maintain Version 7 with a little enhancement, but if we really wanted to push Shopkeeper, it had to be Version 8.”
Shopkeeper Version 8 allows greater flexibility in retail management, with the ability to add diary entries with a follow up time, optimised searching using the SQL full text searching functionality, and availability of business logic and data through a set of Web Services to integrate other systems with Shopkeeper, such as a website or ERP system.
Mr Byworth further explained, “Once we heard about Shopkeeper’s Business Intelligence functionality, we knew we wanted it to improve our business operationally, and it made sense that it was implemented at the same time as Version 8.
“The implementation went very well and just didn’t create any challenges for us. Everything went according to how Markinson told us it would.
“Everything was ready on the Monday morning of our planned cutover date; everybody logged in when they got into work, and away they went. And really that was because anything that was going to pose a challenge was identified by Markinson in the months beforehand.
“Markinson did a fantastic job liaising with us and telling us what they needed to do to make the implementation run smoothly.”
A major benefit for Electrical Distributors was the increase in speed in performing day-to-day transactions.
“Shopkeeper Version 8 is run on an SQL database, and is very fast, particularly in processing sales orders. This was a key operational issue we were looking to address, and it’s addressed it very well,” said Mr Byworth.
“We’ve also been particularly excited about the Document Output Rules function of Shopkeeper Version 8, to save us a lot of time at the end of each month, specifically as we can now email all of our customer statements. It’s just a godsend for us.
"The new functionality in Shopkeeper of including GP percentage in the sales order is also something we're very excited about, as is the Diary Entry Search. This allows us to keep track of all changes to customer credit limits and stop-supply, and it searches across multiple areas such as inventory, accounts and customers.
“The feedback from our management team of Shopkeeper Version 8 is very positive. The upgrade was very smooth and it’s being accepted very well throughout the organisation. We’re all looking forward to maximising the benefits of the new system.
“We’re very excited about the future and the direction of Shopkeeper, and that’s largely driven by our Markinson solutions architect, because he’s so excited about it.
“You’d have to call our relationship with Markinson a partnership. We share our thoughts with them on the direction we’d like to see Shopkeeper go, and Markinson are genuinely enthusiastic about hearing our input of what we as customers would like to see, to include in development.
“Being at the cutting edge is a nice place to be.”