Markinson celebrates 35 years with Multispares

In 1986 Markinson began as a one-man business with a vision to fill a gap in the market for integrated business software solutions for wholesale distribution businesses.

Growing gradually throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, and more rapidly in recent years, Markinson has achieved continuous year-on-year growth.

Mark Clearwater, Markinson CEO, explains that the vision of its founder Mark Robertson has evolved but not faulted over its 35-year history.

“Mark’s vision was to provide software solutions that transform businesses through vertically-focussed business process software.”

“Implementing the correct systems allows more time for the important decisions and practices which actively contribute to our clients’ business growth,” said Clearwater.

Today Markinson has hundreds of businesses that rely on their business software solutions to succeed, some who were there in the very early days. One such client is Multispares who are one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest commercial vehicle spare parts suppliers.

Geoff Stewart, Managing Director for Multispares recalls that Marksinson was with them in those very early days when both companies were just starting out.

“I feel we have been really lucky that Marksinson has evolved as we evolved,” said Stewart.

“Had Markinson not developed alongside us we would have had to migrate to a different business software platform; but we haven’t had to because we picked the right software solution partners from the beginning.”

The growth that Stewart refers to has been a consequence of the massive changes in technology that have occurred over the past 30 years; and the need that Multispares had for business software that could keep pace with this.

That business software started off as MDES and evolved over the years to become MomentumProERP; Markinson’s streamlined wholesale automotive business solution which has been a key staple of their range for 25 years.

Stewart explains that MomentumPro enabled them to consolidate key business functions which was critical then and remains so today.

“Our founder Harry Forsyth tells the story that in the very early days they had to dial in on a modem to do a sales transaction. it was pretty slow going back then.”

“The fact that MomentumPro evolved quickly to be integrated within every part of the business in a seamless way as the internet evolved meant we had a backend system that kept pace with our growth.”

“The other aspect of MomentumPro that was critical to business continuity was that the system was very stable when it was all very new, and remains so today,” said Stewart.

For Markinson having long term partners who have been on a similar journey is something they are proud of.

“In the early days, and still today, we often worked with Multispares to develop a new aspect of MomentumProERP because we both could see the advantages these changes would make to both of our businesses,” said Mark Clearwater.

Clearwater goes on to explain that having grown and learnt together is only possible when there is complete trust and transparency.

“Over the years there have been challenges from time-to-time however, we have been able to work constructively together to resolve issues quickly, and in such way that has benefited both parties.”

For the team at Markinson, recognising its 35-year anniversary has been tricky due to COVID restrictions.

“We have had a few stops and starts this year but are still planning to recognise this milestone with our most important people – our clients, team members and their families, said Clearwater.”


Burson Auto Parts and Markinson – 25 Year Partnership

In celebrating Burson Auto Parts’ 50th Anniversary, the Australian company pays tribute to the many long term supplier partnerships that have helped it become the nation’s preferred trade supplier of automotive parts, tools, equipment and accessories.

One of the most enduring Burson Auto Parts alliances can be found with the company’s business software solutions provider and innovator, Markinson. Over the past 25 years, this company has accompanied Burson Auto Parts into the digital age through its industry leading Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) based integrated business software solutions. 

Markinson’s world class MomentumPro warehousing and inventory management software system first replaced the cumbersome manual processes in April 1996. This was the start of the complete digital transformation of the Burson Auto Parts business and with it came several initial challenges.

“The co-operation that we have always received from the Markinson team over the years has been a stand out factor of our long term alliance with the company,“ recalled Burson Auto Parts National Trade Sales Manager, Mario Baric.

“It wasn’t easy to make this transformation, but we worked together to ensure that our warehousing and inventory control software systems were perfectly integrated across our business from the stores to the sales reps on the road and everything in between,” He added.

The improvements in efficiency across the entire Burson Auto Parts business, particularly in stock ordering, customer service and inventory control across the company’s several warehouses, represented major leaps forward through the constantly developed, improved and customised Mopro (MomentumProERP) system. Updated versions of this system continues to power the back-end of Burson Auto Parts’ trade sales and warehousing operations to service more than 200 stores and nearly 30,000 loyal trade customers to this day.

“The demands of providing the level of customer service that we do for our trade customers are major. Each customer can have anywhere up to fifteen Burson Auto Parts deliveries made within 30 minutes of each order across every single day from more than 200 stores. This requires inventory control software that must be very reliable, easy to use and highly efficient,” Mr Baric stated. 

Markinson’s Application Programming Interface (API) has also provided vital functionality for Burson’s EZYParts online parts ordering system to leverage the intelligence within MomentumPro ERP. The API has also enabled Burson to implement several integrations streamlining a number of key business processes. Working together with Markinson, the MomentumPro API has undergone constant improvement to support these capabilities.

The most recent major endeavour for the Markinson and Burson Auto Parts business involves the warehousing integration software currently being used in the enormous new Bapcor Distribution Centre in Melbourne which is currently in the process of replacing several smaller Burson Auto Parts (and other Bapcor owned companies) warehouses. This has seen a major level of enhanced inventory control software development and integration from Markinson.

According to Tim Vriend, Burson Auto Parts Digital Operations Team Leader, “Markinson’s willingness to make changes to their software systems, tailor making the software to best suit our requirements, has been the most outstanding factor of our long term relationship. 

“Being involved with us from the very start of the digitisation of Burson Auto Parts has given the Markinson team an acute understanding of our business and the highly demanding customer service efficiencies that are required in order to provide the best service to them.

“The ability for us to quickly find parts, especially non-core product parts, is fundamental to our success. As our inventory levels and automotive aftermarket product ranges increase, our systems need to stay ahead and Markinson has worked together with us for 25 years to ensure that this is the case,” Tim stated.

Mark Clearwater, the CEO of Markinson, which is celebrating its 35th Anniversary this year, attributes the long term Burson Auto Parts relationship to an outstanding level of trust and co-operation over the past quarter century.

“The mark of a true partnership is that we have grown and learned together over our long relationship. Over the years we have encountered challenges, however with transparency and trust these have been easily resolved,” Mr Clearwater stated.

“I am really proud that our reputation with the team at Burson Auto Parts is that ‘we always deliver’ We discovered very early that by testing a new product or product extension with our most trusted clients that this would be a win-win for both of us,” He added. These sentiments are echoed by Burson Executive General Manager, Trade, Steve Drummy. “The Burson Auto Parts 50 year history of success would not have been possible without the support of our many long term product and service suppliers. Markinson is one example where the development and integration of ERP based business software has assisted to digitise the company’s operations, setting it up for continued growth and even higher levels of efficiency well into the future.”


Six Ways to Reduce Expenses in Wholesale Distribution

If your business engages in wholesale distribution, maintaining efficiency while reducing expenses is an important pursuit.

While it’s too late to make big adjustments to your enterprise resource planning (ERP) and distribution systems in time for the end-of-year-spike, the lull that can follow as the new year starts is a great time to take a big-picture look at your processes.

At Markinson, we’ve put together several ways to improve wholesale distribution management while reducing your costs:

Inventory is expense

Everything in your warehouse is incurring a cost. Keep inventory as low as possible by implementing systems that allow you to treat your warehouse as a node in the link between your supplier and customer, and not as a home for goods. Also identify slow-moving inventory and price it to reflect its higher warehousing cost.

Manual processes equal added costs

Business-wide electronic and real-time tracking not only reduce costs by improving processes within your business, but also makes your business more attractive for customers (and suppliers). Share your data with customers and suppliers so that they know what you have stocked, what you can source, where products are and how long they’ll take to arrive. Doing so will help to move your inventory – creating revenue while reducing storage costs.

A better crystal ball

Your sales team’s projections aren’t the only to predict future demand. Focus on using the information generated within an enterprise resource planning system such as MomentumPro as a more accurate predictor of future trends.

Consolidate

Eliminating duplicate systems is a quick way to reduce costs. Drive cost reduction by ensuring there’s a single point of responsibility in your business for keeping a handle on excess inventory. Don’t forget the basics, such as getting rid of aging inventory.

Prioritise cost reduction

Make reducing costs a priority by creating KPIs around expense reduction. If you don’t have one already, create a dashboard view of your expenses, report on them, and ensure that the business is aware of where its costs lie. It may not always be as glamorous as sales, but reducing costs plays just as valuable a role in improving profit.

Embrace E-Commerce

Drive down your cost of processing sales and extend the hours you can trade and regions you can target. Provide a self-service portal for customers to free up your customer service resources.

Contact us to find out how we can provide solutions for your wholesale distribution challenges.


Key Features of a Successful Stock Management System

Stock or inventory management is the process of overseeing the flow of items into and out of your inventory.  A well-functioning stock management system keeps stock costs under control and helps to achieve positive cash flow.  

Ensuring the right stock is at the right place, at the right time is critical to manage supply chain volatility.  Stock control software can streamline operations by consolidating sales information, and giving employees access to current and reliable inventory data. 

But what passes for an effective stock management system and what features should you look for?

Stock management software should ideally deliver up-to-date inventory figures, comprehensive financial management and fast, easy reporting capabilities in one easy-to-use interface.  It should address the following functions as a minimum:

Inventory management

A stock management system should give you the capability to monitor changes in customer demand, and track input costs for improved production capabilities. This will increase purchasing efficiency and reduce delays in new inventory orders.  It will also allow your employees to access up-to-date and reliable information on current inventory, thus achieving complete inventory control.

Financial management 

A good stock management system will also allow you to update, monitor and implement special pricing structures across various locations, customers and products throughout the financial year.  It will help you keep track of accounts and perform various banking and reporting functions off-site. 

Customer management 

Your stock management system should allow you to quickly track customer orders, update profile information and record sales figures. 

By increasing the speed of transactions and providing customers with up-to-date inventory information, you will increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction and capture more revenue in the long term. 

When considering inventory software, remember that the goal of implementing a solution is to keep your businesses’ cash flow on track by better managing operating capital.


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