Airmaster Australia is a full service heating, ventilation, air conditioning and building automation specialist. Its fleet of over 130 service vehicles and 265 Quality Assurance focused staff provide a range of services to large commercial organisations including shopping centres, major retail chains, banks, high rise buildings, auditoriums, cinemas, hotels and resorts, sporting venues, public and private health facilities, warehouses and even ocean vessels.
From its headquarters in Melbourne and with offices in most Australian capital cities, the company provides 24 hour service nationally and offers a speedy target response time of just two hours.
Airmaster is a services company in a niche, but highly competitive industry. Its reputation, customer base and business are built on technical excellence and a talent for exceeding customer expectations.
Maintaining its industry-leading position calls for a proactive approach to service delivery and requires the ability to provide customers with in-depth information relating to their equipment, service contracts and maintenance schedules. Over the years Airmaster had developed three main corporate IT systems to help manage the business and to deliver the necessary information to customers.
Developed in-house on an AS/400, the systems were competent but restrictive. With no integration data existed in separate silos, making analysis difficult if not impossible. The design was not particularly user friendly nor was it intuitive.
This meant that only a select number of staff with the necessary training could get any information out of the systems. This increased administrative load and made it difficult for service staff and management to source the data they needed.
By 2005, with some clients beginning to request provision of reporting of key performance indicators (KPIs), it was obvious that Airmaster needed to change its IT systems. Wayne Bover, Airmaster’s IT and Communications Manager explains, “Airmaster provides monthly reports to customers
and holds regular meetings so we can discuss any feedback. We wanted to provide statistical information relating to maintenance and service costs that would help customers to budget for future needs.”
The company required a single, integrated financial system that could also be extended to manage the depth of detail contained in their maintenance contracts. Evaluations led to the short listing of two solutions: Pronto and a Microsoft Dynamics GP solution that combined the core Microsoft Dynamics GP software with fully integrated Job Costing and Service Management modules developed by Microsoft partner, WennSoft.
Bover notes, “Pronto just couldn’t handle maintenance in the detail we required so we signed up for the Microsoft and WennSoft solution.”
Other big pluses for the Microsoft solution were its user friendliness and availability of mobility – for seamless connection of data between the office and field staff.
The initially selected implementation partner was a small organisation without the depth of experience or resources that Airmaster required. As a result, the project soon ran into problems and within seven months, Airmaster called in Professional Advantage to take over. We’d dealt with staff at Professional Advantage before and felt they had a much more thorough understanding of the system and our business. They are a more professional outfit with more resources,” Bover adds.
With the implementation back on track, Airmaster went live with Microsoft Dynamics GP in late 2006. In addition to job costing and service management, system functionality includes the general ledger, bank reconciliations, purchase order processing, fixed assets, receivables management, inventory and parts lists. The company also installed two Professional Advantage software add-ons written especially for Microsoft Dynamics GP: BankPro for electronic funds transfer and reconciliations, and EmailPro which enables electronic distribution of remittance advices, purchase orders and other financial documents.
One of the major benefits of the new system has been a reduction in administrative demand. While the company has continued to grow and develop, it has been able to reduce administrative staff numbers by approximately 25 percent, redeploying them to other areas of the business.
These efficiencies have been achieved through system automation in a number of areas. The manual banking system that required cheques and signatories has largely been done away with, replaced by electronic creditor payments. The savings in paper, time and other resources has been significant.
The single database has reduced data entry and delivered a corresponding reduction in the potential for manual error.
Kevin Schoenmakers, WennSoft Product Manager at Professional Advantage comments: “The new system has improved availability of information for Airmaster and provided the company with multitude of reports helping it better track performance of the maintenance contracts and ensure that customer requirements are met. As a next step in this direction, we are now discussing implementing Analysis Cubes for WennSoft – a business intelligence solution developed by Professional Advantage.”