Electronic management: time is money

Electronic management: time is money

Craig Draper, owner of Fredco Motors in AucklandCity and on the NorthShore, has been using an electronic management information tool the past decade. He started his business in 1997 and soon realised his time as entrepreneur was too valuable to spend on tasks that could be done faster, better, and more orderly by a computer.

Looking back on his decision to implement an electronic management system, he says: “It paid for itself the first year and has paid for itself every year over and over again.”

He considered the options available and decided the SAM Workshop Management System Elite Package suited his needs best. According to Draper the electronic management tool streamlines his business. “But what I find most helpful is the reporting – the information I need to make both my day to day and long term decisions are there immediately.

“It’s also very convenient – for example I have full service histories, and I can follow up on parts purchased many months ago, the history and detail are good. The job kits are all set up and have the latest stock prices, which helps me with just in time stock ordering and passing on the right price to the customer. Parts are easily recorded against jobs. And SAM’s after sales support has been impressive,” he says.

Sean Randall, Products Sales, Support and Service, Diesel Distributors, explains why many of his customers and associates also find it easier to manage their workshops electronically.

“Electronic systems have several advantages. Being able to cost and quote jobs correctly, accurate invoicing and bookkeeping, reporting, the ability to track and record sales, service history, stock, and lost sales, all these make a difference to the bottom line. An electronic system also allows the workshop owner to track their business turnover and cash flow at a glance.

“Many workshop owners are exceptional technicians but get frustrated when it comes to the management side of the business. This could get many small businesses into financial hardship if not managed correctly. It’s about knowing how to work in your business while working on your business, at the same time keeping a good work life balance.

“There are many forms of support available, it’s just knowing where to start and probably admitting you could do with the help. In many cases the small business owner doesn’t want to pay someone to do something they think they should be able to do, but they must understand how important this is to their business survival, and that management is a different discipline from the technical work and just as complicated at times,” he says.


According to Randall Eftpos is a small but powerful example of the advantages of electronic systems in a workshop’s management culture. “In today’s economic climate watching our debtors is number one...letting jobs go on account is risky as this puts cash flow in jeopardy. As the money goes out so the money should flow back in. This will hopefully keep the bank account positive and the bank manager happy,” he says.

He says the SAM Computer Systems packages seem to be very popular with his customers. “A lot of workshops use them, from what they say it seems the program is very comprehensive with regard to workshop requirements especially as a complete office package.”

SAM Computer Systems Manager Paul Wilkinson responds. He says the company has been providing software solutions to the New Zealand automotive and related industries the past 25 years. “We provide total coverage of all industry sectors and business requirements for operations of all types, specialising in bringing efficiency and value to small and medium sized businesses.

“Our software solutions closely match the business requirements of our clients for the simple reason that they’ve been designed in partnership with our clients over two decades. Our clients actively participate in enhancing and improving our products,” he says.

The company develops and supports two software products, the SAM Workshop Management System, and the Orion Dealer Management System. “Workshops live and die on the successful conversion of wages into labour charged out. Labour productivity management and reporting is a key focus of both SAM and Orion.

“In addition, both SAM and Orion recognise that customer retention is a vital part of any business, and the marketing tools to facilitate this, such as WOF and service reminders, are an integral part of our systems,” Wilkinson says.

Both systems also provide automated interfaces to all major industry suppliers and have the ability to connect to associated systems and instrumentation such as brake lanes.




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