Like many successful businesses, Razor International comes from humble beginnings. It took lots of late-night conversations and dining-room table planning between friends and long-time business partners Geoffrey Watson and Darryl Baird. In November 1998, they began to turn their dream of creating a world-class business into a reality.
Their idea – an electronic intelligence system for winding semi-trailer landing legs. That first system would some years later become Razor International, an engineering tech company on a mission to make a positive difference in the lives of transport drivers around the world.
Fast-forward 20 years
These days, Razor International develops state-of-the-art electronic and automated control systems for semi-trailers and rigid trucks. Their suite of innovative products brings together new trucking-automation technology with occupational health and safety equipment. The ultimate goal: keeping more drivers safe on the road by reducing the risk of physical injuries sustained by transport drivers.
Based in Victoria, Australia, the Razor team runs a tight ship with approximately 10 staff on-site. After over 20 years in business, Geoff estimates their products are now on 50,000 trucks across wider Australia – and with the company’s recent expansion into the US and China, this number will only grow.
“I think I can safely say today we have a world business,” says Geoff Watson, co-Managing Director. “We’ve just kept trying to put our best foot forward and stay modern, we’ve invested fairly big sums in keeping our R&D high, and we have a global view of where – and how – our product needs to be.”
Staying true to their vision
The vision has always been to use their world-class engineering knowledge and expertise to provide a solution for one of the industry’s most pressing issues: getting drivers home safe at the end of the day.
This approach to business has been critical to their success, but there came a point when their old systems started to fail them.
“When we began to expand overseas, this is where things got too hard for our previous systems,” Geoff says.
Old system lacked visibility and control
Not enough detail for warehouse staff
As the company grew, so did the size and complexity of their stock. Managing hundreds of product components, local and international suppliers and warehouses in multiple locations became a logistical challenge, says Office Manager Elisa Calcagno.
“Maintaining your inventory and keeping on top of stock issues, it’s the heart and soul of your business really. If you can’t supply your customers, it’s as bad as having a bad product!” adds Geoff.
On top of that, the business had no visibility of their Chinese factory inventory and production so couldn’t accurately forward plan for manufacturing. They also couldn’t manage multi-layered bills of materials.
“I could only include inventory items that were in stock, and because I wasn’t able to send the warehouse guys detailed assembly lists, they couldn’t see everything they needed to make one kit,” Elisa explains.
Same family, upgraded system
Business growth drives change
If Razor International was to become a world business, they needed a system that could operate across international borders, Geoff says.
MYOB Advanced had what they needed.
“We haven’t even scratched the surface, but we’ve already noticed some great improvements,” Elisa says.
The system’s manufacturing module brings together the company’s manufacturing, inventory management and accounting across all six of their warehouses, to efficiently manage and streamline these processes.
“It’s the simple things that have made a big difference,” Elisa adds.
Highly productive team, business runs better
Business at glance through the dashboard
Razor International’s single biggest challenge was not being able to see what was happening in their business day-to-day. MYOB Advanced has given Geoff, Elisa and the rest of the Razor team access to real-time insights.
Customised dashboards let teams see just the info they need to do their job well. The manufacturing team can view sales in progress to make sure they have the inventory they need, and pick up any red flags.
The improvements run deep and wide: better customer service and warranty management, boosted customer experience, and improved product quality and cost handling.
“They’re difficult things to quantify but in my thirty years in business, I absolutely know those efficiency gains may be subtle, but they’re so real,” Geoff says.
Little changes, big improvements
Elisa now has a clear view of all six warehouses, what’s in stock and what needs ordering – information she can easily export and send to their suppliers.
“Now I can easily go into even a little item and check every checklist that it’s in, so it gives me an idea of what to order,” she says.
This level of visibility also means Elisa can create a detailed bill of materials – everything down to the last nut and bolt – helping the business accurately manage their production and manufacturing costs.
“Being able to recall a part number and give your customer immediate service information is enormous in terms of being able to keep things tight,” Geoff adds.
Then there’s the ability to track product serial numbers so staff can problem-solve any warranty issues quickly.
“I get daily phone calls from customers asking for services that we track through serial numbers,” Elisa explains. “Beforehand, we’d have to wade through an Excel spreadsheet to try and find some serial numbers which were several years old.
“Now, all that info is in our system, we can search by serial number, customer name and date of purchase – that’s definitely saved me like 15 minutes per call.”
At the start of the year, the business was able to go paperless. And being a cloud-based system, management now has access to reporting in real-time from their mobiles while overseas or working from home.
“I still get the toner guy calling me every few months asking me why I haven’t bought toner yet,” laughs Elisa.
Getting the fundamentals right – before exploring more
As a fast-growing international company, having efficient processes in place has been key for Geoff running a lean team. The business is managed by a small core team of highly-productive employees – saving money and helping the entire business run more smoothly.
“It’s just these sorts of things that allow us to stay small and then each person has a really special place in the business,” Geoff says.
Now that they’ve got the fundamentals sorted, Elisa is ready to tap into some of the system’s other functionalities.
“We spent the first year learning the basics and now everything is set up, we want to move on to things like stock replenishments and advanced reporting.
“Every day we’re learning more about the system and what it can do. Our focus now is on continual improvement so we can fully use the system.”
As an innovative Australian-based manufacturer, Razor International knew it was critical to implement a system that delivered accurate margin and production visibility, along with efficient inventory replenishment, to maintain their competitiveness and facilitate swift and sound business decisions. It has been so rewarding for BusinessHub to support Geoff and his team to streamline and grow their operations by leveraging the power of MYOB Advanced.
The nuts and bolts of Razor International
- Built from the ground up by business partners Geoff and Darryl from a single product idea
- Manufacturer of state-of-the-art electronic and automated control systems for semi-trailers and rigid trucks in Australia, China and the US
- Over 20 years in business with 50,000 trucks across wider Australia utilising Razor products
Improvements with Advanced
- Dashboards provide real-time insights to key business metrics
- Remote access keeps management updated overseas or working from home
- Detailed view of inventory requirements for manufacturing based on sales order demand and safety stock
- Visibility across all warehouses and local and international suppliers
- Accurate cost management based on more comprehensive multi-layered bill of materials
- Overall improved customer service and a better handle on product quality and cost
- Better financial management and more accurate reporting
- Able to run a fast-growing international business with a lean, efficient team