In anticipation of the 2017 CRN Impact Awards, Xero caught up with one of the nominees, cloud integrators SMB Consultants to see how they make a difference to retail and hospitality businesses.
Growing flowers on the cloud
In three months, one of Australia’s major flower wholesalers managed to shift its point of sale, accounting and payroll to the cloud. Fresh Flowers is part of the wider Lynch Group, Australia’s largest wholesaler of floral and potted products. The company started as a flower grower almost 100 years ago and moved into distribution in 1984.
Just last year the Fresh Flowers were going through the tedious task of invoicing manually, adding administration costs and taking away precious time from other areas of the business. In fact even the company’s roster was managed on a spreadsheet.
Joint Director at SMB Consultants, Jeffrey Atizado recalls that by and large the old system was time consuming and inaccurate.
“At Flemington markets, they were writing hundreds of manual invoices on a daily basis in a very fast-paced environment. All of these invoices then needed to be sent to head office and re-keyed into the accounting package.”
After deciding to take a leap of faith to move to the cloud, the first step for Fresh Flowers was to switch their retail management systems to Vend – a cloud-based point of sale software, founded in Auckland. With the help of SMB Consultants, the business then set out to integrate the retail system with Xero’s accounting software. So they brought all the company’s data in one easy-to-manage place. SMB then looked to Xero’s app marketplace to see how Fresh Flowers could further thrive from being on the cloud.
“Xero was the first step in their transition to the cloud. It provided a segway to explore other apps in the marketplace. They could build on that, which helped manage different parts of their business,” says Jeffrey.
Getting more from the Marketplace
The App Marketplace connects businesses with over 500 software apps which are designed to assist with other tasks involved with running a business, and the information is shared easily with Xero. Real-time data flows between the systems, minimising time for draining tasks so business owners can focus their time and resources into making their business more successful.
SMB discovered that Deputy could really help with Fresh Flower’s rostering system. The Sydney-based online HR and employee management provider was the answer to the businesses’ staff and rostering woes.
“Moving to Deputy has centralised the way they manage their staff and it provides them with a streamlined way to transfer timesheets logged directly into Xero. We also recommended Deputy so they could manage all of their staff in one place. Also it provides accurate wage costing when staff are assigned to shifts,” says Jeffrey.
More time to stop and smell the roses
Fresh Flowers are one of many businesses reaping the rewards from having integrated solutions on the cloud. For example, it now has access to real-time reports from mobile devices, with POS data inputted straight into Xero. Employees can use their mobile devices to access roster information and request leave. This has resulted in a huge improvement of payroll accuracy.
“By choosing an integrated solution instead of one, they are able to find the best add on to manage each part of their business but still work as one solution. Consequently each solution can focus on their core offering and user experience as opposed to an all in-one approach that covers multiple areas,” says Jeffrey.
Amanda Felice is The Fresh Flowers Group operations manager. She explains that SMB Consultants and the combined technology has changed the way the company does business.
“With the new software systems in place, this has allowed for greater productivity, efficient reporting and assistance in our customer service satisfaction. We have no hesitation in referring SMB Consultants to similar, like-minded businesses,” Felice said.
The CRN Impact Awards celebrate supplier-led IT projects that have had a real impact on customer organisations. SMB Consultants are nominated for the Workforce Empowerment. Workforce Empowerment recognises projects that promote flexible working and enable mobile workforces and sales teams. The winners will be announced at the CRN Pipeline Conference on April 6-7th.
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