Picton Hopkins & Sons Pty Ltd understands the importance of tailored solutions. As one of Australia’s leading specialists in the manufacture of plaster products, covering such items as cornices, columns, archways, ceiling roses and panels, the family-run business dates back to 1857…and customised service is equally important today as it was then.
The move to Arrow Financials, as an integrated financial system providing more intelligent management tools, was a priority for the business. With three remote offices (Bairnsdale, Morwell and Pakenham) supported by head office in Preston, Melbourne realtime information was business critical. John Hopkins, the fifth generation Director of Picton Hopkins, explains how Arrow has made the business so much more efficient and streamlined their processes.
“Before we had Arrow, everything in our system was historical. We needed instant information and the ability to manage the country offices from Melbourne. Consistency across the business was also important for us – issues like the ability to establish special pricing platforms for our various customers and to manage these for our country customers from head office.”
“We were coming from an antiquated system that didn’t match our requirements so we didn’t know what to expect with Arrow, or just how far we could progress. We can’t believe how much simpler managing the business has turned out. Our front counter (POS) system is linked directly into Arrow, we get daily sales reports from the country branches, payroll is a piece of cake and BAS is completed in next to no time. “We have freed up one person in admin – Kate has had fantastic training and now manages all our the financials with support as new things come up.”
Arrow was a best-fit for Picton Hopkins and provided room for the business to grow. They were essentially running a paper based workbook supported by a historical accounting system. There was scope to streamline processes and deliver new management tools that would give them a real view of their performance – from product costing and pricing, to sales data and linking the country offices for real-time information. John Hopkins goes on to explain “We have worked in stages to introduce Arrow to the business – there was certainly some scepticism that we could trust “the technology” to provide the level of accuracy needed to manage the business from top-to-tail. But we are now converted. The Crystal reporting tool is certainly a winner, the level of detail the Picton team can now obtain via these management reports has provided a new perspective of our operations.”
Picton Hopkins is running most modules of Arrow Financials including General Ledger, Debtors, Creditors,Stock, Fixed Assets, Payroll and Front Counter – everything is now handled online.
Arrow fits the Mould for Picton Hopkins
The technology supporting Arrow Financials is quite straight forward – Terminal Server, Win 2000 and Broadband ADSL to ensure fast data transfer from the remote offices. Crystal reports linked to Arrow provide a high level of flexibility in generating management reports. “The change-over to Arrow was straight-forward – we imported the data directly into Arrow from Microsoft Excel (over 3,000 line items of stock plus customer
information) and performed data integrity checks to identify any errors. Kate looked after admin and was trained to become the in-house Arrow product champion to support the branch staff as needed. I used to find new technology intimidating – computers were just not my thing. Now, we couldn’t live without the management information that Arrow gives us…every part of the business has been streamlined. We are just so much more efficient in how we operate and interact with our customers. We now have time to share a cup of coffee in the morning and plan the business rather than just working on the books. In addition, our accounting fees are also being put to better use – our spend with our Accountant is now directed at a more strategic level.”
Looking ahead, Picton Hopkins is now looking at establishing remote access to the system for John and other members of the team to log-in to the system from home and share information.
“Once you have experienced the difference real-time and accurate management information Arrow gives you, the bar gets higher in terms of your expectations. We are just so open-minded now to the possibilities that smart technology and clever systems can provide…and we look to Arrow as our trusted advisors to provide this guidance,” concludes John Hopkins.