Qizzle sells school stationery and office supplies to customers throughout New Zealand. After years of doing most of its financial and order management manually, it purchased MYOB Exo, implemented by Focus Technology Group, in order to handle substantial business growth.
Qizzle’s warehouse in Christchurch dispatches hundreds of orders every day, most of its customers being schools and parents of pupils. The company’s emphasis is always on providing a great customer experience, which is their key competitive edge.
“Our goal when we launched back in the 1990s was to get supplies to customers in 24-48 hours – a service they weren’t getting from other suppliers,” says Director and General Manager, Kent Suckling.
In its early days, Qizzle relied on manual spreadsheets for its accounting and stock management. Kent has “painful” memories of how laborious that was. As the company’s customer base and product range grew, management became more difficult. Qizzle was troubled by lack of inventory visibility.
“There were so many inefficiencies back then, it’s staggering looking back at it now,” Kent recalls. “Stock checking was random – you can do it manually when you’ve got a few hundred lines, but when you’ve got thousands, it’s impossible to manage effectively. We were playing catch-up a lot of the time and running out of stock – it was never up to date.”
Concerns about running out of items led to over-stocking of various popular lines, which threatened to become a significant cost overrun. During its busiest time – Back To School – Qizzle was taking orders by phone or fax, then passing them on to a third-party firm, which would key the orders into its stock control system. The inevitable delay between the placing, picking and dispatching of orders soon created a large backlog, with orders commonly running three days behind.
“You can’t get away with that these days,” says Kent. “The competition has caught up and are chasing us on service levels. We didn’t have to look too far into the future to know that the current way we were operating was not sustainable.”
“There were so many inefficiencies, it’s staggering looking back at it now.”
Venturing for the first time into the ERP space, Qizzle went looking for a reputable business system that could start off by enabling in-house management of its debtors and stock control.
“We were comfortable that Exo could fill our requirements, and we were especially impressed that we were able to incorporate our special pricing policies,” Kent says. Creditor control was added later, and the company set up an e-commerce web portal to allow customers to place orders easily.
“Our processing of orders is seamless now. The customer can just place their order and if a special pricing policy applies, the system will pick it up automatically.”
Exo’s flexibility also enabled integration with third-party software applications that handle specialised stock control, CRM and dispatch functions. Order details from the website are fed directly into Exo, which automatically updates details of prices and availability.
“Through some customisation and smart algorithms within Exo, we were able to produce POs based on history and we were keeping the stock flowing in without over-ordering,” says Kent. “Meanwhile, our product range continues to grow and we’re able to handle that growth.”
At a glance, Kent can see which items of inventory need replenishment. Exo also calculates the landed costs of imported goods. Exo has boosted confidence in the integrity of Qizzle’s accounts and enabled an unprecedented depth of reporting.
“It’s really easy to extract figures,” Kent says. “One particular process related to allocating payments from debtors, which involves lots of small transactions. Using Exo has probably saved about three weeks’ work per year on just that one process.”
Kent is especially pleased by the fruit of the company’s relationship with Focus.
“Focus took a real interest in the business, which gave us the confidence that they were in it for the long term, not just a quick sale. They have some very smart people; we just need to go to them with a concept and they show us how to make it work.
“Qizzle is an example of how a strong working relationship between the client and the provider brings strong return for the client,” says Focus’s Group Sales Manager, Andrea Smith. “Our guidance and support has enabled this business to continue to grow and has enabled Qizzle to embrace technology and improve productivity at its own pace.”
With Exo, Qizzle has the confidence to add new product lines and continue improving its customer service.
“Exo holds the key to driving more efficiency because it’s such a core part of the business,” Kent concludes. “It’s provided us a platform where we can continue to grow through offering a consistently high level of service – we wouldn’t be able to do that without Exo and we’ve had absolutely no regrets about choosing it.
“Focus took a real interest in the business, which gave us the confidence that they were in it for the long term.”