“Once we started talking about the benefits… no one has looked back.”
With a small but efficient team, Aged Care Linen Specialists source and supply linen, towelling and textile products for aged care providers, big and small, right across Australia.
As Office Manager and 2IC, Kirsti MacRae has to wear many hats - overlooking accounts, inventory, marketing, processing sales, and even packing in the warehouse are just some of her responsibilities – and understands how critical an ERP solution is to every aspect of the business.
“We take pride in the fact that for most of our customers we’re a one-stop shop, we can source whatever they need. A lot of our customers have been with us for 20 or 30 years. They don’t tend to go anywhere because our service matches our quality.”
But problems brewing within their outdated business management solution threatened to undercut their reputation for great service – or worse.
“It was getting frustrating for the staff especially when they were on the phone trying to serve someone and it would freeze and go slow, all that kind of thing.”
“I think the business owner had started to pick up one or two things where things weren’t balancing correctly, or they were balancing differently in different sections.”
With the combination of experience and research, Kirsti saw Sybiz Vision as the right solution for Aged Care Linen Specialists to thrive into the future.
“I’ve been wanting to do it for some time because I have been hearing how awesome it is and I just couldn’t wait to get on to it. We were going to fall off the edge if we didn’t.”
Planning a gradual transition
But just as every business has their own processes and procedures, so too is a tailored change management strategy needed to ensure success. Kirsti was upfront about her expectations and Dal Piggott from Advanced Applications, their Authorised Business Partner, was ready to help determine the right path to transitioning.
“From the initial discussions I had with Dal I said to him… as much as I can see the benefit of changing a whole pile of policies, I can’t do it all at once. It’d absolutely throw our staff in a muddle,” Kirsti said.
“We had to make some adaptations because of how we had things set up in the old system that were probably not right. For example, we always just invoice, send the invoice down to packing and they pack it and send it.”
“So now I am starting to get them used to this idea that if they change how we do that, how much less fixing of issues there’s going to be and how much easier it will be for customers to track their orders.”
“They’re starting to come around to the idea that you can save a lot of time by changing some of these processes.”
Taking into consideration staff capabilities and workflows, Kirsti and the Advanced Applications team were able to minimise disruption by creating a strategy that allowed for a gradual transition to the new system.
“What we adapted was that we come over to this new system trying to keep our way of doing things as similar as possible to get them all on the new system, get them used to it and then when they started being a bit more comfortable, starting to introduce change.”
“We definitely worked to not overwhelm everybody.”
Of course, the support of their Authorised Business Partner was invaluable in helping staff learn and understand the benefits of their new ERP solution.
“They’re obviously legends. Dal and Sean were brilliant with working with me. I must have rung them every day with a question and they were massively patient with me which was awesome.”
Changing systems, changing culture
Making everyone’s job easier became an important objective for Kirsti, but also an exciting proposition for staff at Aged Care Linen Specialists. The positive reception to changing ERP solutions has helped open up more possibilities for others, too.
“I said to everyone, think about your job, think about what you do, think about the things that take you forever to do. Once we’ve got the system up and running and we’re all used to it, let’s try and find ways to fix those processes. That’s got everyone a little bit excited.”
“I think sometimes you’re so used to the same thing that you don’t even look at what you’re doing and wonder, can I do this more efficiently or better?”
“This system has given everyone a chance to go, ‘look at how much quicker this is now. What else I could make quicker? or do better?’ It changes your mindset within the office which is awesome for me. It’s making my job easier.”
Their strategy of gradual transition worked great for the team, allowing them to get used to the new solution without becoming overwhelmed.
“I didn’t believe Dal when he said he’ll be around for the first few days and then just contact him [for assistance]. He said the first week or two will have the most questions and then it peters off to nothing, and he was so right.”
Now, staff are looking at their ERP system as a world of possibilities instead of limitations.
“With the old system they were a bit more nervous to do that because it would often freeze, and they’d think they’ve broken it,” Kirsti said.
“Every now and again something comes up but it’s more from the point of view of, ‘I reckon the system can do this, can you help me figure out how?’. But it’s such a smart system, it’s logical. It’s easy for them to navigate.”
The portability of Sybiz Vision also allows Kirsti to access the system remotely and apply first-hand knowledge.
“Staff could contact me on the phone, and I could log in from home and help them.”
Making ordering easier
Utilising an eCommerce solution from Systems Practice, Kirsti said their customers now have greater guidance and flexibility, but also accountability in their ordering.
“People are getting more and more used to ordering online so it’s definitely becoming a bigger part of the business.”
“Specifically, for aged care, because of their budget situation they try very hard to streamline what facilities are ordering.”
“What’s good about the system is that…once they login to order, they can only order what they’ve been approved by their head office.”
“It’s so easy for them to see what they can order, how much it costs, and of course they get that reference back to them. It’s all by email and we can let them know when it’s coming.”
“It makes the customers a bit more accountable. Which helps us as well because we’re not having to organise returns.”
The close cooperation between Sybiz Authorised Business Partners also made the transition smoother for Kirsti and the team at Aged Care Linen Specialists.
“It was really a cohesive situation just because the communication between Advanced Applications and Systems Practice behind the scenes was great. They were willing to talk to each other which I find so helpful.”
“It was seamless as far as I am concerned. There were no issues and the little training and questions I had were all answered quickly. Having them up and running together it’s awesome, I love it.”
“Time is everything”
The implementation of Sybiz Vision has had an exceptionally positive impact right across the business. All it took was that first step towards making the change.
“There’s always been that hesitation to expand too much and chase more business because, could we really manage it? Is our foundation strong enough to grow yet? And I think having this new Sybiz Vision and the capability it has, it’s going to make that foundation perfect to then grow.”
“We were hanging on to the old system [but] once we started talking about the benefits of how good this new system was going to be… no one has looked back.”
“There’s just so much you can do with it now. I really want to take advantage of that, fix a lot of our internal procedures and make things run more efficiently from a time and cost point of view.”
“Time is everything.”