One of Australia’s leading manufacturers of air conditioning and ventilation fittings started 20 years ago by three brothers – with nothing but a business plan and some space in their parents’ garage.
Quality Air Equipment (QAE) began as a small sheet metal workshop but has since evolved into a business of around 100 staff manufacturing air diffusion products. The company exports internationally from two premises in Australia (NSW and WA) and another in Asia – their hard work has literally taken them from “garage to global”.
“Like most long-standing businesses, the boys kept a lot of what made them great in the early days such as service, teamwork and integrity but they held on to a few of the old systems which just had to go” says Inventory and Purchasing Manager of QAE, Gordon Tirekidis.
Making do with a mini system
The product evolved but their systems didn’t
For years, QAE’s accounting had been run through an older version of QuickBooks. Slowly but surely, the company needed more. The first, most obvious issue? Sheer scale. “The old system was used solely for accounting purposes and only allowed access to a maximum of 15 people. Having now grown to around 100 employees makes a big difference” says Gordon.
“I don’t know how it was managed for so long.”
“Filling in the gaps with spreadsheets was not an easy task and hard work. As a result, orders sometimes took far longer to complete than they should have. The process just took too long” explains Gordon. “It was obvious that QAE needed a software system that would ‘connect the dots’, speed everything up and help get rid of errors in the system”.
The first on the “must have list” was getting onto the cloud. The company operates under several entities and two factories with thousands of stock items so a “server based system” just wasn’t workable anymore.
“Even if you were onsite, you still had to log in and out of different accounts. We needed a system we could use both interstate and globally.”
And reporting? “There wasn’t much to speak of. That is because QuickBooks simply couldn’t create the reports we needed and because the data itself” says Gordon, “was such a mess”.
“We had a lot of items that didn’t have codes, the classes were in wrong areas and people were ‘doing their own thing’ here and there which made it difficult to analyse information. When our accountant first came here, his “Profit and Loss” statement was 30 pages long!”
" Our old system – it was like the dark ages""
A new system that ticked all the boxes
Starting simple with room to grow
It was obvious that QAE needed a flexible software system that could be rolled out gradually in order to manage the business.
“We started with the basics – communication between our customers and invoicing then growing from there. We didn’t want to overwhelm people with change” says Gordon.
“MYOB Advanced looked like it could “tick all the boxes” and was also a far better fit than our previous system which had been “way over the top” for our organisation." With only a few customised reports, MYOB Advanced seemed to be a “perfect fit” for QAE’s requirements.
“Order and invoice” admin costs reduced by 50%
“Priceless” improvement in customer service
Gordon states that he is aware of many other tasks that MYOB Advanced is capable of, but the first order of business was to make orders more efficient to process. “This would speed things up for the client, help get stock turning over and save the company money.” And has it worked? “In a word, yes!”
“In terms of cost to make a product, on top of the labour and materials there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be done before the order even goes to “production”. That used to be as much as 10% of the cost of goods overall. We’ve halved that.” explains Gordon.
“Another measure of improvement is that “stock turns” have gone up i.e. more of the inventory is turning over from 2.5 to 3.5 which is a great improvement.” Gordon puts that down to “better access controls so staff can only see information from certain parts of the system, a fresh start with classifications and classes and automated processes making things simple at every level”.
“There have been simplifications in every area”
“Our CFO really loves the new system as our “Profit and Loss” Statements have been reduced from 30 pages to two at the most. Invoices are sent automatically, and it has eliminated ‘Accounts’ and ‘Despatch’ sending out delivery dockets.”
“While dollars on the bottom line and happier staff are big wins, they are both trumped by that all-important increase in customer satisfaction”.
“You rarely get those calls from customers asking where their order is. You can’t put a price on it” says Gordon.
Three seconds on Quality Air Equipment
- Started in Mum and Dad’s garage – heading for world domination
- One of Australia’s leading manufacturers of air diffusion products
- Still a family-run business after 20 years
Life after Advanced
- No more customers left waiting
- Stock, orders and sales can be seen across the various business entities and locations
- Reporting that makes their CFO very happy
- Lots of room to grow – more modules will be added later
- Simplified processes and better efficiency in every department