“It’s information, it’s data, it’s knowledge – that’s what Greentree has done for us.”
John Hardcastle is the Chairman of Allan Webb. Its core skill is data processing – huge amounts of it. It scans documents, converts data into usable formats and even amalgamates databases, saving both time and storage space for its customers, who include defence contractors, construction and engineering firms, insurance companies and solicitors.
It also employs highly skilled technical authors and illustrators to produce detailed spare parts catalogues and technical handbooks, which prime contractors for Britain’s Ministry of Defence use today, to avoid expensive issues that can arise from ordering errors, eg: parts for military vehicles.
Many companies rely on Allan Webb to enable efficient purchasing and utilisation. Allan Webb in turn relies on Greentree for slick business process and job cost management.
“Greentree has been brilliant for us,” says John.For all its technical skills, Allan Webb once struggled with its business management. It used Sage for accounting, with separate job costing, CRM and timesheet systems.
“All our staff are on different pay rates, so accurate job costing is central for us,” says John. “Because our previous systems weren’t integrated, discrepancies could slip through unnoticed. The job costing system didn’t deliver reports until three weeks after the event, and so the horse had bolted.”
Allan Webb’s various departments, from scanning to cataloguing and technical publications, have different priorities and expectations. Individual jobs going through those departments can range in revenue from £20 to £250,000 and the company needed a system that could handle all those variations.
“The financial emphasis is on gross margins, where we have very strict requirements,” John says. “Our management needed live visibility of all the costs, which we just didn’t have.”
John looked at updating Sage, but felt it was still dated and would require add-ons to do what he wanted. A demonstration convinced him that Greentree’s fully integrated functionality was the answer.
“I saw that Greentree had some big-name customers in other parts of the world and I was confident that the Greentree Partner could deliver the system to fit our needs.”
John was right.“When we were first able to sit down and have all this data in front of us, it just made life so much easier. A new staff member came on board; I was showing him the ropes and he said ‘Wow, what a fantastic tool this is!’ He came from a large organisation and was impressed by our timely and detailed data.”
With all the different staff pay rates covered by eTimesheets, and WebView handling the reporting, Allan Webb’s managers can see all their income and costs instantly.
“They have a completely up to date picture of how every job is going,” John says. “The speed with which it all works has been quite a revelation.
“We can estimate the income we’ll get from a job and see the income we can expect by department for months ahead. We can click into a job, reveal all the key data, and from that we control the operations of the company. We have more accurate costing of jobs going forward, because we can instantly see our historical data.”
Life has changed dramatically for Allan Webb’s Accounts department as well – data entry can now take a quarter of the time it used to previously.With the Greentree Partner’s help, John has set up a financial reporting system, delivering strategic data to senior management.
“I was surprised how easy it was to do that.”
Allan Webb’s experience in the defence sector is its strongest single source of growth, with exciting prospects in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
“Greentree has given us a much closer insight into how our business is performing internally, so we have a much clearer idea of how to achieve what we need to deliver to our customers,” John concludes.