Postie Plus decided in 2014 to replace this system with a more cost effective, simple and efficient solution using Microsoft Dynamics NAV for financials and Management 2000 (M2K) from Ontempo for inventory and retail management.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV proves itself, twice
Theta was engaged to implement NAV 2013 R2, but shortly after kicking the project off Postie Plus entered voluntary administration, and was subsequently acquired by a South African retail investment group. The project went on hold and in fact back to square one says finance manager Kelly O’Neill:
“We then had to convince the new owners that a system change was needed. We made another very thorough investigation of the benefits of NAV, and in a sense we proved twice over that NAV was the right system for us.”
One benefit of the delay was access to the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. The NAV 2015 licence model had the added benefit of Mini Pages – simplified pages ideal for a company whose main use of NAV is for financial management. Another NAV 2015 feature Postie Plus benefited from is the payment reconciliation journal, used for reconciling imported bank statements to the different tender payments reported by M2K.
The benefits of a simple system
When the new Postie Plus finance team started they had to learn the existing financial management system, SAP, and then when NAV was implemented that was another new system to learn. This is where the simplicity and usability of NAV really made an impact. Says finance manager Kelly O’Neill:
“NAV was literally months quicker than SAP for my team to learn. And the more the team use it, the more they like it. There was obviously some resistance to learning a second new system in a short space of time, but NAV has pleasantly surprised them. A member of my team told me: “I have been through system changes before and expect it to be a busy and stressful time with lots of overtime. It was still a bit stressful – learning a new system – but I left the office at the normal time every day. No extra work, no overtime. This is the first time that’s happened during a system change.””
65 Postie Plus branches run on the M2K retail management system, generating a huge volume of data. That data is consolidated overnight and sent to NAV for posting into the general ledger, centralised reporting and analysis, and a clear overall picture of performance.
Says Kelly O’Neill:
“Existing interfaces out in the market were really complex, but we were looking for something much simpler. We don’t need the details of every transaction from each of our 65 branches. Theta designed the interface between NAV and M2K to deliver exactly the level of detail we need, without unnecessary extra processing. This speeds things up considerably.”
“The way the interface was set up in NAV was very straightforward and easy to use from the beginning. We had a small number of issues to resolve that needed external input, but because it’s all so intuitive we quickly became self sufficient for small fixes and adjustments.”
Payments for different tender types (credit card, gift cards, vouchers, EFTPOS, etc) are automatically imported and reconciled to the M2K data coming from the interface. With the payment reconciliation worksheet, NAV offers the ability to set up matching rules to automatically apply payments to open balances.
Improved, self service reporting and analysis
All financial data have NAV dimensions – eg branch, region – attached to enable advanced financial reporting in NAV and Jet Reports, an Excel-based reporting tool. Kelly O’Neill outlines the benefits of this reporting system:
“With NAV and Jet Reports I save half a day every month in preparing and formatting reports. Reports just need to be set up once, and the formats look good. With SAP, I couldn’t access much of the detailed information that’s now there at the click of a button.
The other main saving is maintenance. With SAP, if I needed to add a line to a report, I had to hire an external consultant to do it for me. With NAV I can do it by myself. Someone can come to me and say they want something and I can pull it out in 10 mins. I can do things on the fly that previously would take days to turn around or just wouldn’t be possible.”
Streamlined end-to-end procurement process
The resulting integrated solution streamlines Postie Plus’ entire procurement process:
- A purchase order is raised in M2K.
- Goods are received by the branch and posted as GRNI (goods received not invoiced) in NAV. This means that Postie Plus always have a clear picture of their exposure.
- The purchase invoice (PDF) is automatically retrieved from email and OCR scanned using Continia Document Capture – an integrated and registered solution for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and one we have successfully used for other customers. What used to take Postie Plus 48 hours to process now takes about 5 minutes.
- The purchase invoice approval workflow is then kicked-off in the web approval portal, where the relevant manager can see the scanned invoice and its structured data, for sign-off.
Postie Plus is a busy retailer, dealing with suppliers around the world and large numbers of procurement transactions. Any streamlining of this process delivers immediate benefit as Postie processes on average 900 invoices per month. Says Kelly O’Neill:
“Integrated invoice scanning and recognition is a huge benefit. The whole process used to take a day or more, from PO to sign off. Now the whole thing can be completed in five minutes. And even better, the original invoice is attached to a transaction in NAV, rather than stored in a separate system, making it easy to drill down to the detail of transactions if we need to.”
Solving problems with NAV and Theta
Kelly O’Neill, Postie Plus’ Finance Manager, is delighted with the overall result of the NAV solution, and the impact it has already had on Postie Plus’ business:
“We always knew that we needed a separate financial system, and I think that NAV was right choice. It has solved a lot of problems that SAP presented. Now I can quickly and easily get any information I want out of the system.
We implemented the system change across all 65 stores plus head office to coincide with year end. In retrospect this probably added additional pressure to the implementation. But it did go very smoothly, and we met all of our audit timelines. Which now I think about it is an amazing feat – to manage year-end and implement a new ERP system at the same time!
Throughout, Theta have been a great and supportive partner to work with. There has never been a problem where they have said “no, the system doesn’t do that.” They always just figure out a solution.”