To accommodate rapid global growth, Variohm EuroSensors decided to upgrade to Sage 200 for a more flexible and joined-up system supporting their compex distribution processes. Seamlessly linked to their CRM software, the system sits at the heart of the business, facilitating information sharing and their complex product management.
A need for a joined-up accounting solution
Administrative Director Cathy Donoghue manages the company’s IT which includes Sage 200 and Infor CRM. As she explains: “We’d been using Sage 50 for some time so we were reasonably familiar with Sage. Growth meant we needed something more flexible; a ‘joined‐up system’ where we could input data at a single point of entry rather than accounts keying in one set of figures, then sales keying in another with the risk that neither would match up.
“Having experienced the nightmare of juggling different suppliers for CRM and accounting software, and for our hardware, we were looking for someone that could handle all three. This is when we brought in Xperience Group on the recommendation of Sage – and Xperience recommended Infor for our CRM.”
The brief also included new accounting software and Cathy was particularly attracted to Sage 200 because of the potential to link the two packages. “In theory you’d input data into the CRM system and then export it into Sage 200, reducing errors and saving time. The trouble was, you needed specific software to link the two.”
So Xperience offered to develop a customised link “and we took them up on it!” says Cathy. “They worked very closely with us, showing us what they were doing and inviting our feedback at every stage. The result was that we ended up with a stable, reliable linking product that did exactly what we wanted it to do, far exceeding our expectations.”
An integrated approach with Sage 200 & Infor CRM
According to Cathy, Xperience have continued to impress. “We’ve been continually delighted”, she says. “For example, if we ever have a problem with anything, we just give them a call and they log onto our machines remotely and show us what to do. They rarely need to come out so there’s no waiting around for an engineer to call.”
She refers to the contrast between “then” and “now” and is keen to point out that “Xperience have a great team of people that offer support across all the Sage products. They really are very, very good at what they do and they’ve definitely helped us get where we are today.” On the subject of bottom‐line benefits, Cathy says: “These days we’re massively more efficient in the way we can share information. Salesmen can check stock direct from their desks which they couldn’t do before. We’ve had benefits in our sales department; we’ve had benefits in our admin department and in our despatch department. Also, because Xperience have some very excellent in‐house programmers, we’ve been able to customise the system as we’ve gone along”.
She expands: “You’re not paying for an expensive bespoke product up front. Instead you just buy it ‘off the shelf’, so to speak, and tweak it as you go along. So you get the best of all worlds – a product that you can customise to do exactly what you want at an ‘off the shelf’ price!”
Without doubt, installing three different Sage software products was a mammoth task, but as Cathy explains, the company did this in stages.
“We ran Infor CRM for a short time. Then a couple of months later, we installed Sage 200. Once we’d got used to that we introduced Xperience’s Link 200. So at each stage we had the chance to catch our breath rather than coping with everything in one go! Xperience provided full training throughout which helped enormously.”
So exactly how does the bespoke Sage link work? “To put it very simply, our sales team inputs orders into Inofr CRM which are then checked for accuracy before being exported to Sage 200. As you only have to key‐in the data once, it saves a huge amount of time and you can go into either system knowing that everything will match up.”
And the hardware support they were after? “Xperience have a service called TotalCare which covers all the hardware. They also look after our servers and offer a secure off‐site data back‐up service – a safety net in case anything happens!”
On the path to growth
“The changes we’ve made with the help of Xperience have enabled us to grow and perform much better and more efficiently. For example, we’ve taken on extra companies and thanks to the Sage products, we’re able to provide accounting and stock control services to all of these remotely, something we couldn’t do before.”
The company has seen huge improvements across the board. “We’re able to support our sales activity and our delivery / despatch / fulfilment activity much more efficiently. And even though we’ve grown considerably, things are so efficient that we haven’t needed to take on extra staff ‐ so we’ve seen savings there as well. At a customer level, Xperience have definitely helped us achieve the kind of service we need to be delivering.
In conclusion? “We’ve achieved impressive efficiencies, at every level. And the fact that Xperience handles everything, software and hardware, has made things so much easier!”
Since 1974, Variohm‐EuroSensor has been a leading single source distributor of sensors and associated electronic systems to mechanical engineers. Based in Towcester, Northamptonshire, the company delivers an efficient, cost-effective and flexible service to customers across UK and Europe.