The Sash Window Workshop MD Richard Dollar explains the difference integrate has made to their business.
As one of the first specialist timber window manufacturing companies in the South East of England, and one that prides itself on impeccable customer service, The Sash Window Workshop has always striven to be at the vanguard of new developments in the industry. Following 2 abortive (and very expensive) attempts to adapt expensive software developed by third parties to run our business, we decided to build a system that worked for us and made the efficiencies we wanted to make rather than gimmicks proposed by programmers.
The result was what we call the Sashadmin system and will in future be called integrate.
Drafting in expert resources from across the business, we have spent £500,000 developing it over the last 5 years, with some help from specialist IT contractors who are brilliant programmers but don’t necessarily understand joinery. We believe that the ongoing development based on real user experiences of everyone from the front of house staff to the sales team, surveyors and production experts has resulted in a system which does exactly what users want rather than what programmers think they should want.
The upshot is that the seamless flow of work from initial enquiry through to final installation has saved us at least 3 Full Time Equivalent positions over the last three years whilst supporting increases in capacity across the business. Everyone in the business can keep track of things from wherever they are using a simple interface on their phones or other mobile devices.
The features are endless and tailored to what users really need:
- Our salesmen can log telephone calls to and from clients automatically and have all of the contact details at their fingertips. The google mapping interface means that they have a satnav incorporated and the ability to instantly upload photographs not only helps them remembering the details down the line but also allows them to refer queries to head office from site if necessary.
- Quotations are dynamically produced based on our pricing engine and actual dimensions input to the system and can be printed at client premises if required
- All client interactions are recorded so that Head Office is able to respond efficiently to client queries as and when they arise – and to track the progress of enquiries and quotes
- Once the order is placed, surveyors have all of the details input by the sales team readily available and can use them as a comparator when double checking dimensions; drawings of all but the most complex products are automatically produced for manufacturing, including detailed cutting lists, estimated fitting hours, glass and ironmongery requirements
- Production management is able to schedule work through the factory based on known loadings and to monitor the progress of the joiners versus anticipated manufacturing times – there is a feedback loop so that we can adapt our pricing assumptions for joinery times if they are shown to be inaccurate
- Installation is scheduled based on anticipated production timings and we look forward to rolling the system out to our installers so that they will have all the order details on site electronically rather than having to resort to paper files
We believe that this software is unique in the market and we have shown that it can run our business and save us money in the long term. We think it represents the future of timber window manufacture and installation in an increasingly competitive environment and we have therefore taken the decision to sell the software to an independent company, EndtoEnd IT Limited, who will focus on implementing it in the wider fenestration industry. We of course will continue to be an enthusiastic advocate of the software and look forward to many more years of efficient operation using the renamed integrate.