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Helen Tracey, CFO RSPCA explains the drivers for implementing Sage X3 with its trusted business partner CPiO. Sage X3 is a market leading business...
Replacing multiple third party software applications with Sage X3 has enabled Saville Audio Visual to improve control and significantly streamline operations. The ability to manage diverse business operations, including distribution, manufacture and hire, from one set of ledgers has transformed information visibility. From improved stock control to the use of real time alerts, the company is building on its relationship with CPiO and Sage X3 to continually improve agility and meet evolving operational requirements.
Founded originally as a pharmacy in York in 1876, Saville Audio Visual has grown to become the UK’s largest specialist supplier of audio visual, multimedia and videoconferencing technology, with over 250 personnel in ten locations. The company has two trading arms – Conference & Live Events and AV Integrated Systems, covering a large and diverse customer base that includes universities, hospitals, government departments and public sector organisations, plus blue-chip corporate clients across the UK and around the world.
The company has successfully used Sage financial software to support its operations for a number of years, but in 2013 recognised that a number of key business processes needed to be improved – not least purchasing control and stock traceability, as well as better reporting across the entire organisation.
The process of planning a migration from Sage Line 500 to Sage 1000 had already started when leading Sage business partner, and long term technology supplier, CPiO recommended Saville took a look at Sage’s latest business management solution, Sage X3. Having received a demo from Sage and CPiO, it became clear that the functionality met Saville’s specific requirements.
Graham Carling, Divisional Manager, Saville Audio Visual, explains, “We felt the benefits to the business of Sage X3 were likely to be far in excess of our original considerations. From the interactive stock to the ability to gain complete data visibility from multiple routes and the use of data driven alerts, Sage X3 offered clear benefits to the business.”
Saville purchased Sage X3 finance, distribution, CRM and EDM with 47 concurrent users – as well as consultancy, support and maintenance. CPiO worked closely with the company to fine tune processes and maximise the potential of the X3 deployment. A key aspect was the use of Sage’s X3 best practice templates, which enable organisations to fast track process creation and software implementation. Graham explains, “CPiO’s knowledgeable consultants helped with the process of scoping, including how the organisational structure was set up and this significantly speeded up the implementation. The entire deployment went well, with minimal disruption and the Saville users love Sage X3.”
One of the most compelling benefits of Sage X3 was the chance to move away from multiple third party software applications, multiple Excel spreadsheets and various other reporting and budgeting systems. Furthermore, the software enabled Saville to support diverse operations from one, single, consolidated information source, despite the fact that the company’s divisions have very different business models. This includes short term equipment hire, manufacturing and installation projects that can last months, with each model handling stock differently.
“Essentially the business encompasses distribution, installation, hire and manufacture. Sage X3 enables us to handle all of these business models with one Purchase Ledger, one Sales Ledger, one Nominal Ledger and one set of coding,” says Graham. “The result is far better visibility of data than ever before, especially on tracking stock items through the system and through the lifecycle of a project.”
The adoption of Sage X3 has enabled Saville to streamline a number of business processes, speeding up day to day operations. The automatic generation of credit notes from an invoice and the use of back to back purchasing once a customer’s installation has been designed have significantly improved financial and purchase control and reduced wastage.
Use of the integrated EDM solution has also enabled Saville to increase the proportion of invoices that are automatically emailed to customers – improving cash flow in the process. In addition, all orders, purchase orders and invoices are automatically stored on the customer or supplier account, providing the admin team with rapid access to any required information and supporting documentation.
The company has also added alerting functionality to key processes to further improve control. For example, the accounting team is immediately alerted if an order is entered into Sage X3 in a foreign currency. This allows the team to quickly ascertain what actions need to be taken to avoid any exchange rate losses. “Early visibility of any unusual activity is enabling us to react accordingly and minimise operational risk,” Graham confirms.
The single source of cross-company information combined with Sage X3’s reporting functionality has enabled Saville to improve information insight across the business. As Graham explains, “By using visual processes it is simple to both create reports and make them easy for users to find. For example, following a sales order through from placing the order to generating the receipt, also includes a classic order report on the tab. Users don’t have to remember how to navigate through menus, the entire process is so easy to use, very quick and simple.”
Saville is also beginning to explore this information to improve customer overlap between different divisions. He says, “There are real opportunities to leverage this depth of information to assess and grow key account cross-fertilisation.”
Sage Enterprise Intelligence is also being used to mine the data within Sage X3 and improve decision making. According to Graham, the reporting and analytics tool makes it far quicker and easier to slice and dice information across multiple sources, and provides immediate visibility of a range of metrics, from open orders in hand to transactions by specific origin. He says, “I use Sage Enterprise Intelligence on a daily basis to gain fast insight into business and operational performance. In addition to the powerful search and drill down capabilities, it is incredibly easy to create reports on a predefined schedule which can be shared across the business.”
At the forefront of the UK audio visual industry for more than forty years, Saville continues to evolve and develop in line with customer requirements. In the current market, business agility is key and the long term relationship with CPiO will continue to play an important role in the successful integration of technology. “Confidence is the most important aspect of the relationship. We trust CPiO; the company knows Saville very well and everyone from consultants to the support team understands the challenges we face and the way each part of the business operates. This level of trust is key to building a long term relationship. When the inevitable business and technology challenges arise, Saville and CPiO co-operate effectively to achieve a swift resolution and drive essential innovation.”
Having gained significant benefits from the implementation of Sage X3, from streamlined processes to enhanced control and improved cross-company information visibility, Saville is looking forward to upgrading to the latest version of the software to drive further benefits. As Graham concludes, “Saville AV has to continually evolve – and Sage X3 allows us to do that – quickly and efficiently. I am confident it will be with us for many years.”
*Please note, Sage X3 has now been rebranded as Enterprise Management (March 2018)