It’s 1888 in Melbourne, Australia. The cobblestone streets are bustling with horse-drawn carriages and promenading women in princess-like corsetry. An entrepreneur by the name of Ernest Peacock has just opened a small, general printing store named Peacock Bros.
Fast-forward 132 years and Ernest’s business has become one the largest label manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand.
Where it all started
By the late 1880s, there was a serious movement towards federalism in Australia (not long after, the Commonwealth of Australia would be established). With the explosion of business in the new Federation, companies were seeking better systems – and Ernest saw an opportunity.
Over the years, Ernest developed printing systems and binders – often in gold leaf – which quickly established him as a quality printer. He added accessories like filing cabinets, manila folders, bookkeeping equipment – and pioneered a calculator called the ‘Millionar’.
Family continues legacy of grandfather
Ernest’s son, Edgar Peacock would take over the family business with his son-in-law Stephen Yuritta. Later, his granddaughter Ruth, the youngest of five who grew up counting tickets and bundling them with rubber bands, would become the newest executive director for Peacock Bros.
In the 1970s, the company was the agent for the iconic Casio handheld calculator – a staple in many school backpacks across Australia and New Zealand. Eight years later, the company would sell off its general printing business to pursue a new line of work.
At the time, cartons were still being labelled by hand, causing no end of problems. The company purchased a Mark Andy press in the late 1970s –a flexographic printer commonly used to print high volumes of labels and packaging – and the rest is history.
130+ years old and still going strong
Today, Peacock Bros. is one of the largest manufacturers of labels in Australia and New Zealand. They’ve also made a name for themselves as one of the biggest providers of identification, tracking and mobility solutions in the supply chain. They manufacture high-quality labels, tags and thermal ribbons, and offer a premium range of world-leading printing, labelling, scanning and digital healthcare solutions.
Peacock Bros. NZ is part of the Peacocks Bros. Group. Sales and marketing manager Scott McKechnie has worked at Peacock Bros. NZ for the past 15 years – and just like the company, his expertise has evolved. Coming from an electronics background, he started as a technician before moving into sales.
Despite its growth and success, Peacock Bros. remains committed to the family values that it has lived by since day one – integrity, respect and loyalty to its customers and employees. But it also recognises when there’s room for improvement. For the New Zealand branch of Peacock Bros., it was the out-of-the-box system that needed upgrading.
“We were experiencing some system inefficiencies and our workarounds were manual and time-consuming,” Scott says.
Old system used clunky workarounds
System inefficiencies created even more work for sales team
Scott’s team isn’t afraid of a little hard work. They’re often the first to jump in should another team need an extra pair of hands.
“The sales team wears lots of different hats – but it started to become too much. You can’t do everything, and on top of the growth that we’d had, we needed to separate some things,” Scott says.
Peacock Bros. NZ runs a separate accounting system that isn’t linked to its big brother across the ditch, and they’d been experiencing some inefficiencies with their picking and dispatching process. On occasion, incorrect items were being picked for complicated bundles. The short-term fix involved the sales team fulfilling the orders – even sometimes packing and dispatching them too. They lacked confidence in their systems.
“We needed to automate that process so that our sales team could spend considerably less time in our dispatch area – and more time with customers.”
Also, off the back of New Zealand’s first COVID-19 lockdown, it became apparent that a more accessible, cloud-based system was needed to help accommodate working-from-home options.
Company chooses to stay with MYOB family
A match made in technology heaven
The system the organisation had been using was one of MYOB’s original ERP products – MYOB Exo – and there were several reasons why they chose to upgrade – rather than shifting systems altogether.
Scott says they’d been able to see first-hand the benefits of MYOB Advanced, having watched a number of their customers integrate Peacock Bros. hardware with its systems.
Aside from its flexibility, MYOB Advanced was also cloud-based. “It ticked a lot of boxes,” he adds.
"The existing functionality could be turned on or off if we wanted, but it also had everything it needed to grow with the business – if we wanted to use third-party apps or integrations, then we could."
Multi-functional system streamlines processes
Fully automated process uses best of both worlds
With a combination of MYOB Advanced system functionality and their own hardware products, the Peacock Bros. NZ team was able to construct a solution to the automation problem.
Now, after a sales order is processed, the system automatically sends the dispatch team a packing slip. The dispatch team then uses an Android Zebra mobile computer with the installed MYOB app to scan the barcoded product labels’ unique serial numbers, before eventually confirming the shipment.
This can be done anywhere in the warehouse on mobile devices – something they couldn’t do before. Furthermore, if the device is docked in its cradle it becomes a computer, allowing the dispatch team to complete the next step in the process – printing dispatch labels.
Automation increases efficiency, gives team confidence back
For Scott and his team, the improvements they’ve seen from a change in system are two-fold.
“It’s improved our overall efficiency and increased confidence in our picking and dispatching process,” Scott says.
“This means the sales team has the time to go and do what they do best – and that’s spending time with customers.”
The warehouse team has also welcomed the upgrade with open arms.
“They were really keen to learn how to use the new software system and the new technology – especially once the results became obvious,” Scott adds.
And with more COVID-19-induced lockdowns on the horizon, the company was better prepared to weather the storm.
“We were able to do most of our work from home which was really helpful during that second lockdown. The team was able to stagger their days and take turns going into work,” he says.
"We’re just over halfway through our financial year, and we’ve had the biggest December/January we’ve ever had. I think it’s lucky we implemented something just in time because if we didn’t, I think we’d be struggling to keep up."
Two-year plan to automate more processes
The dispatching process is only the beginning. Over the next two years, Scott says the company will look to integrate their e-commerce website, EDM and CRM software, and the manufacturing software for their labels.
He says MYOB’s commitment to continuously improving their system is music to his ears.
"That will really help us grow and drive us in the right direction too. It gives us confidence that MYOB Advanced is the right piece of software for our business."
History recap of Peacock Bros.
- Started as a small, general printing store founded by Ernest Peacock in 1888
- From printing to label manufacturing: largest manufacturer of labels and provider of identification, tracking and mobility solutions in Australia and NZ
- Still a family-run business after 132 years
Business improvements with Advanced
- Automated sales-order processing
- Streamlined dispatching using hardware and software integrations
- Sales team can spend more time with customers
- Lots of room to grow – more modules will be added later
- Simplified processes and better efficiency