Animal Supplies (Wholesale) Pty Ltd is a family owned and operated company with a proud 20-year history. Initially conceived as a small equine supply store operating out of the home garage, the company is now one of Australia's most successful animal products and medicine suppliers. Its 10,000 plus product lines encompass everything from dog food and pet beds to flea treatments and horse wormers. The company's customers range from suburban pet shops, pet warehouses, veterinary clinics and pharmacies. Animal Supplies (Wholesale) Pty Ltd employs 125 staff and is located in Eastern Creek, NSW.
In the early 2000s, Animal Supplies (Wholesale) Pty Ltd found that business expansion had created a need for more flexible reporting and greater analytical capabilities. After evaluating its options, the company decided to replace its financial software with the more comprehensive System 77 business software suite.
The software was deployed and for the next five years all went well. However by 2009 it was obvious that Animal Supplies (Wholesale) Pty Ltd had pushed the aging System 77 as far as possible. The move to a new, larger warehouse highlighted the need for better inventory control and with support for System 77 due to be withdrawn in the near future, it was time to make a more permanent business software decision.
Christine Garforth, Director of Animal Supplies (Wholesale) Pty Ltd notes that the company looked at a number of alternatives but in the end opted for a Microsoft Dynamics GP solution as recommended by Professional Advantage. "The Microsoft system had everything we required and because of the history with Professional Advantage and the support that we'd received from them, we felt it was probably best to stay with the company that we knew and trusted. They understood precisely how we operated and what we required." The Microsoft brand reassured management of the longevity of the software while the ready availability of integration for specialist warehouse distribution software, was also an important benefit.
Perhaps the deciding factor in the decision was that Animal Supplies (Wholesale) Pty Ltd could be involved in the planning and design of the system, to meet their requirements. Having been through a system deployment just five years earlier, Animal Supplies' management and staff were well prepared for the implementation process and on 1 August 2009, after a minimum of fuss, Microsoft Dynamics GP went live.
A marketing opportunity in online data
Although the new software has only been in operation for a matter of months, Garforth is already noticing a number of flow-on effects within the company. "First and foremost the exercise forced us to evaluate how we run the business and to look at the procedures that we had in place. As time-consuming as this was, it was good for us. We've changed a lot of our processes now so that we are looking more at the big picture and the system itself is built around this new approach."
Profitability is also on the rise, due in part to an innovative and unconventional offer to share market analysis with suppliers - for a fee. Garforth explains, "Professional Advantage has helped to develop a program that will allow suppliers and vendors to get online and view, sort and use the data in our system that relates to sales of their products." Vendors have been eager to commit to the program, seeking to examine sales demand by state, customer, product or type of products. Garforth believes that the analysis will be an invaluable tool for vendors as they prepare advertising and promotional plans, or when seeking to evaluate the territorial performance of their own sales representatives.
Professional Advantage has also implemented an online order system which is currently being trialled with the company's largest customers. The system has replaced the manual data entry of up to 60 orders per day, delivering significant time savings and a reduction in order processing errors.
Besides freeing up customer service staff the website development will also provide new pricing flexibility for Animal Supplies (Wholesale) Pty Ltd, enabling daily updates if required. Traditionally, the company would publish an annual price catalogue and advertise to all customers that the prices would be held for 12 months and as they were the only business in the market that did this, their customers came to depend on this service. Due to market changes, the current economy, and the fluctuating dollar, this practice is no longer viable.
"The feedback from everyone has been very positive," Garforth concludes. "We are still in the process of taking out manual intervention in some areas of the business but this is just a matter of time and training. Everyone trusts in the system and they are already enjoying what it's allowing them to achieve."