Improving efficiency with world-class software for cleaning & hygiene suppliers
Thamesmead Business Services have been operating for over 50 years supplying Janitorial Products to companies, predominantly across London. Thamesmead are part of the Nationwide Hygiene Group with members across the UK.
Today the business employs 34 members of staff and runs regular deliveries via its fleet of 10 trucks and vans. Under the stewardship of brothers Paul and Martin Smith, the business has performed well despite an increasingly competitive market place and pressures on margins.
“We are in an industry where you cannot simply pass on costs from our suppliers to our customers” explains Martin Smith. “Even though we may have contractual price agreements that have to be adhered to, the market simply won’t tolerate it. Therefore, we have to ensure that, as a company, we operate as efficiently as we can whilst maintaining and improving our services levels.”
Thamesmead first came into contact with Blue Rock Systems back in 2005 but at that time decided to purchase an alternative system rather than Microsoft Dynamics NAV (now called Dynamics 365 Business Central) which Blue Rock had developed for the Janitorial Supply industries.
It was 8 years later that Thamesmead felt the need to review their computer systems. Whilst making their own enquiries, they canvassed members of the Nationwide Group for their respective experiences.
“We knew that Blue Rock had supplied about half a dozen systems to members of the group, and that several of those members had been long term and happy users of Dynamics NAV – so we had to reconsider it” continues Martin.
“We took just over a year to review the options available to us, but Blue Rock’s industry expertise, their references (which we knew through our associations anyway) and the logic of buying world-class software made it an obvious choice despite it not being the cheapest – but with an eye on the objectives of being more efficient and improving customer service it made sense for our business.”
Blue Rock started the process of installation in the closing weeks of 2014. The process began with a Business Process Review which mapped Thamesmead’s requirements with the best practice functionality that Dynamics NAV offered, the industry layer that Blue Rock had previously developed, and enhancements specific to Thamesmead. It was also an opportunity to change processes at Thamesmead for the better.
“Much more attention was paid during the scoping phase of the Dynamics NAV project, which meant that everyone was much clearer on the objectives for the investment. It enabled us to question our processes that had been evolving over the previous decade or so.”
The 16 users on the Dynamics NAV system have been live since 2015 and whilst the go-live had its inevitable aches and pains the benefits have been forthcoming.
“Everything is electronic now and our paperwork is vastly reduced. I estimate that this aspect alone saves £8,000 in post, let alone labour. Electronic order confirmations have drastically increased order accuracy, reduced credit notes and keeps customers well informed.
Internally we have a much better view of our impending deliveries and day-to-day visibility of data is quicker. Staff can independently alter and focus on the data that is applicable to them at that time, which enables us to make more timely decisions. Any stock issues are highlighted quicker and the integration into other Microsoft products is simple and effective.
The Dynamics NAV platform has an endless scope for further improvement. Our next projects include barcoding the warehouse and using mobile picking devices and integration with vehicle logistics system, for improved delivery planning and electronic proof of delivery and integration with courier’s systems; both of which will save us time and again improve the customers experience”.
“In this line of business you simply cannot stand still because if you do, you get left behind” concludes Martin.