DW Tiles is a ceramic tile importer and wholesaler, who has grown into one of Australia’s major tile suppliers. In operation for 25 years, they operate out of a single Sydney location, serving over 200 customers across NSW and acting as a stock partner of some of the country’s biggest tile retailers.
Since 2005, DW Tiles had been using the same ERP system – even after 10 years the system was still working well and supporting the business operations. However, Manager Cheryl Zhang could foresee issues, as the system had limitations that would stop them being able to upgrade their processes in the future, including:
Not being built on an SQL platform
Inability to integrate with new systems or programs
Inability to be upgraded to keep up with business growth
Only providing low-level data insights and accessibility
“We realised that if we wanted to upgrade, or if we wanted to integrate with any new add-ons or programs, we couldn’t. We’d have to build any new additions around the existing system”. – Cheryl Zhang, Manager – DW Tiles
They were extremely limited and would only continue to face problems down the track – there was no way to make the old system work for new situations. Wanting to future-proof the business, they knew they would need to move to a new system.
A long search for a new ERP
Cheryl first started considering a change in ERP five or six years ago. But knowing what a big job upgrading an ERP operation can be, she didn’t want to rush into a choice. Cheryl and the DW Tiles team considered several different options – getting demonstrations and even installing sample systems –
comparing the benefits and how they would serve DW Tiles in the long run. Understanding the functionality of the software was paramount.
It was in early 2019 that, through industry word of mouth, the team came across Micronet Systems. A solution that had been used throughout the Tile Industry for a long time, she knew Micronet was a trusted name.
After talking to Managing Director Robert Butler, he suggested DW Tiles consider HARMONiQ, Micronet System’s newest ERP solution.
Focusing on training made for a smooth implementation
While Cheryl was confident in her choice of ERP, that didn’t stop apprehension amongst employees. “We have a low staff turnover, so we have people who have been with us for 10 years using the same old system all that time. There was a lot of hesitation from them, especially because they didn’t feel the old system was broken”.
But for future functionality, a change needed to happen, and so implementation went ahead in early 2020. And quite quickly, the hesitative response turned into a positive one.
“Implementation went extremely well. I would say 200% better than I expected. Everyone is happy. And when I say everyone, I mean every single one. After three months, all staff could use the new system very well and have been commenting very positively on it.”
Achieving this positive response relied heavily on staff training. During the customisation period, HARMONiQ’s Distribution Business Process Specialist John Schrooten worked closely with Cheryl to ensure they had all the functionality they needed, simultaneously training her in the system. “John has a background in the Tile industry, so we spoke the same language and he had great knowledge of our business and products”.
Cheryl was then able to pass on the training to her teams, offering training on specific HARMONiQ functions depending on their role. It was an efficient method, made staff feel comfortable, and ensured everyone was trained in what they needed.
“The training was very, very well done, and we were very lucky to work with John.” – Cheryl Zhang, Manager – DW Tiles
Widespread benefits just one year in
After almost 12 months using HARMONiQ, DW Tiles have noticed a range of benefits and improvements – and they only expect the list to grow as time goes on.
> Improved stock management
HARMONiQ gives the DW Tiles teams a more in-depth view of data – including all-important stock data. While their previous system only allowed them to view stock level, HARMONiQ gives them the ability to view stock level, shade, size, location and so much more. Staff now always know what stock is available, how much of it, and where to get it from.
> Clearer communication
The amount of data, matched with accessibility and integration of this data, has allowed for better communication between business departments. Those in the office processing orders now have full visibility of stock in the warehouse, improving visibility and collaboration across the business.
> A new level of Customer Service
The Improvement in data visibility and functionality has allowed DW Tiles to provide a higher level of service to their customers. Thanks to a mobile app integrated with HARMONiQ, the sales team now can check stock wherever they are, giving customers up-to-date information and making informed suggestions. They are also using HARMONIQ’s purchasing platform, which allows them to capture future shipment status. They can pull this information through an API onto their website, so when stock isn’t currently available, customers can see when the next shipment is expected.
> Quick and easy reporting
In their previous system, reporting was incredibly hard. It would take Cheryl at least two hours to compile reports, having to pull data from different areas of the system. HARMONiQ now does this automatically, reducing reporting time to just 10 minutes – even for the most complicated reports. Much of the reporting is now done in a real time manner using on-screen reporting and dashboards.
Thinking about ERP? Make sure it’s a good match
The original reason HARMONiQ stood out as the most suitable option for DW Tiles was that it was so easily configured to the Tile Industry. Cheryl was highly aware of the unique needs of tile businesses – including with stock management and calculating item quantity – and was highly impressed that these functions were already built into HARMONiQ, making the implementation process so much simpler.
“We didn’t have to waste time starting everything from scratch. HARMONiQ is at least 60-70% customised for tile industry, if not more.” – Cheryl Zhang, Manager
No stranger to an ERP implementation, Cheryl truly believes that the most important thing is to find a system that understands your industry, because every single industry has got their specific requirements. The ERP system and the industry must work hand in hand; the system needs to understand the industry, and the industry needs to be able to use the system in their way – which is why HARMONiQ has been able to offer what other systems couldn’t.
“HARMONiQ really understands the tile industry. Everyone in our business loves it – from the boss to the warehouse staff.” – Cheryl Zhang, Manager
If it’s time for your business to transition to the next generation of more user-friendly, intuitive, transparent and transformative systems — It’s time for us to talk.