Software The Lynchpin For Extra Mile Service
Software companies could learn a lot from warehouse and distribution company Contract Warehousing. Its service standards are so high, it took them 18 months to find a software vendor who could match them.
Contract Warehousing is a recent winner of a business excellence award, and for good reason. The company differentiates from its competitors on a number of fronts, but stands out mostly for its commitment to personal, efficient service.
The company processes, stores and dispatches goods for a range of client companies. Its service covers collection and shipping from source, customs processing, storage, dispatch to customers, reorder advising and invoicing
When it decided to invest in a software system to improve this service, customers were rapt. But Contract Warehousing found IT companies were continually changing the goalposts, and none would commit absolutely to a budget and time deadline.
"We wanted a software system to extend the service to efficient processing and ordering by clients directly," says Director, Scott Giles. "Our aim was for Contract Warehousing to act as their sales office, processing orders on-line and generating invoices and packing slips. For our customers' customers, they get an immediate service without realising they're not talking to their supplier."
Good software has become the lynchpin of many New Zealand business success stories and Contract Warehousing needed great software and excellent support, to ensure they maintained credibility with their customers.
"We had criteria to meet but were continually frustrated by IT companies that clearly didn't deliver the service they claimed. Fortunately we picked a company that stood behind its work - they even offered us $1million if the system failed to perform," he says.
Quanta Systems meant it - "we didn't want to give money away, but it showed how much we stand behind our product and service," says Quanta Sales Manager Grant Lester. "We rarely meet IT companies who are prepared to guarantee their product and service, so we set out to make this our competitive difference from day one."
Quanta's Linux-based system, running on Compaq hardware, went live on April 1st after a remarkably short three month development phase.
For Contract Warehousing, it's been a major success. "Everything worked perfectly from the first day," says Scott Giles. "Aside from streamlining ordering and dispatching, the program allows us to date products, enabling our business to extend into perishable goods too."
He admits to the occasional problem with the system, but a 24 hour support desk staffed by knowledgeable people has meant problems are solved quickly.
"So far as we're concerned, this company has put some credibility back into the software industry," he says. "We've all heard disaster stories, and the cost was very reasonable, when judged against what you could spend if the project had fallen over."