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Business Pilot “The Single Source of Truth”

Recently, our MD Elton sat down with Remi Gruszka, National Sales Manager at Smart Vision Systems for a chat about how Business Pilot has helped their business.

In the video, Remi and Elton talk about life at Smart Vision Systems before Business Pilot, and how it has changed since they started using the Business Management system built for installers, by installers.

Smart Vision Systems are an installer and fabricator, so the way they use Business Pilot is quite special. Favourite features are the Schedule Board, Lead-to-Contract Conversion and Status Progression features. Remi says:

“…the job goes from a lead to a contract and different people are informed, different processes get kicked off. And actually, we’ve got Business Pilot set up in such a way that it kicks off certain emails, certain people, certain tasks, and people jump on it straight away…”

What’s clear from this conversation is that Smart Vision Systems are big fans of Business Pilot and our favourite quote from this episode of ‘Elton chats to…’ is:

“..it is the single source of truth which we didn’t have before.”

If you need a single source of truth for your business, it’s easy to get a Free Business Pilot Trial

You can watch the full conversation between Remi & Elton here:

Or, if you prefer you can read the full transcript of the conversation below:


Elton Chats to…Remi at Smart Vision Systems


– My name is Remi Gruszka. I work as the National Sales Manager for Smart Vision Systems.

We are a nationwide commercial fabricator and installer of aluminium, specifically Senior and Exlabesa, however, we also do look at other systems depending on projects.


Life Before Business Pilot


– Perfect, so what I wanted to do today, Remi, was literally just have a conversation about your experiences with Business Pilot. So, we’ve got a mixture of people who have probably heard of Business Pilot, but not necessarily know exactly what it does.

They certainly won’t know what it’s like working with Business Pilot, even if they’ve seen the system. So, the purpose really of us having the conversation is just to share some of what it’s like with people who are not yet on board with Business Pilot.

So, in terms of, I suppose a good start in place is finding out what was life like actually before Business Pilot, because that’ll give us a good comparison with, okay, this is what we used to do, and this is what we do now, and this is the difference it’s made.

So, what were you guys doing before Business Pilot? What were your systems, processes?


– Absolutely, so essentially the business where it started off, it started off as a two-man team where we just did installations, and we very, very quickly grew from that. But before we had put it this way, our system in place, it was kind of a nobody knew anything in the business.

So, it’s the question of when’s the glass coming? Okay, hang on, let me call the supplier, let me sit there, let me find out, when is this invoice being paid? It was a constant battle of information where nobody knew anything, and trying to find out sometimes very, very key information or to just chase things up. Things just weren’t being chased. We didn’t know when things were coming. We didn’t know why things weren’t coming. And actually, we didn’t even know if the things were coming at all, if they had been ordered or not.

So that was like before Business Pilot, and we used a plethora of different, we tried CRMs, we tried Excel spreadsheets, but everything was just so convoluted where it was so segregated. We had things in Excel, then we had things in Xero, we had things in Logical, and it just, it was a mess. It was an absolute mess. Nobody in the business could really tell anything. We didn’t even know where we were going on some days. I’ll put it that way.


Life with Business Pilot


– Oh dear. So, okay. So then obviously, you know, you came across Business Pilot and that’s all great. Presumably we did a good demo, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this chat. So, let’s just contrast that with, so how has Business Pilot made a difference? That’s probably a good question.


– So, we started off with Business Pilot, FIT Show 2021, I think it was, when you had the big stand. We looked at all your competitors, we looked at yourselves, we looked at other systems in the market, and we kind of ended up going, okay, let’s try Business Pilot.

We weren’t very hopeful at the start, because we went, okay, it’s going to be another system to learn, it’s going to be another set of things to do. However, it was, I want to say the first four days where we went, we’re just going to do everything in the system.

We switched everyone over, we moved everything into Business Pilot, we started doing all the templates.

Essentially, we went from not utilising Business Pilot to utilising it fully within a matter of days, where all of a sudden, we knew things, we knew when the glass was coming, we knew that it’s been confirmed, things were being tracked, we actually knew that we were overspending on glass.

And it turned out it was an admin error on the glass company’s fault, but no one was tracking this before.

So, all of a sudden, everyone in the business knew things, they knew when they were going, they knew what the customer’s name was, what their phone numbers were, they knew absolutely everything.

It is a really good start, but it became so simple to know that information. Anyone could type in a purchase order number and see it. We got in the habit of now calling our suppliers, going, okay, I’ve got these orders coming tomorrow, are they coming?

Where before, we would be on site, waiting for an order to come and it would never come, because nobody’s confirmed it. But the utilization of Business Pilot, and then the growth of Business Pilot with us as a business, where we’ve added more fields, made things more custom, it really works around us, rather than us having to work around it.

The first step that we did before Business Pilot is we used a big mainstream CRM called pipe drive.


– Yeah.


– But we had to work around it. There were limitations, because it was just a sales tool. So, we had to make our processes work with what the software was. Whilst right now, tables have turned, and the software works to our business processes. So, it fires off things when we need them.


– It’s really good you say it. And again, just for clarity for anybody sort of watching it, I mean, Business Pilot is an off the shelf system. We don’t say that it’s a bespoke system, because it’s not, it’s off the shelf. But I think the key is what we’ve tried to do is that perfect balance.

And is it perfect? Hopefully it’s good. But the perfect balance between having something that’s off the shelf, so you can literally have it at a price point that there’s no way you could get that built. But adaptable enough, so that actually like you’ve just said, you kind of feel like the system’s built around you. And actually, I guess it is built around you in that sense.

You can tailor it that much. It’s a really difficult balance to get, I’ll be honest. You know, internally, it’s really difficult to get that balance of, we want it to be scalable and ready for somebody to start tomorrow. Like when you click free trial, you literally get an instance of Business Pilot fires up instantly for you.

And it’s a full version of the system. So, we want that, but at the same time, we don’t want you to have to change how you work just to use Business Pilot. It’s really interesting to make you say that.


Favourite Business Pilot Features


– So, you’ve already sort of dived into a couple of the features of Business Pilot there, or sort of touched across. I’m asking everybody what’s their favourite feature.

Some people have cheated, and they can’t pin it down to one. I should have been a little bit stricter, I suppose, but that’s not my nature. So, if I said out of all the different things it does, what’s like your favourite feature? What’s the one that’s really had the most impact, I guess?


– I’m going to cheat as well, and I’m going to give you two instead of one.


– Okay, everybody does. Everybody does, everyone has their own little thing.


– So, there’s two separate elements that we kind of look at. And the first one is a process that we never had before, and that’s a lead to contract conversion.

Where previously we never had that process in place. A customer said, “I want to buy it.” Okay, what now? Okay, of course we got to order this, order that, but it was never processed.

And now the job goes from a lead to a contract and different people are informed, different processes get kicked off. And actually, we’ve got Business Pilots set up in such a way that it kicks off certain emails, certain people, certain tasks, and people jump on it straight away.

So, I’d say the pipelines and the conversion, that’s one side. And then the schedule board. The schedule board is the second element. Very recently we actually put a massive TV up in the wall in the office, live updates, people come in, they look at the schedule, they look at everything, updates as we go.

And sometimes the conversation goes, okay, let’s move that there, let’s move that there. Let’s go do it.

So, I’d say it’s between those two for me.


– Okay, so schedule board, as you’d expect, always comes up. And really actually that was probably the biggest step change. So, when I look, like my background was like digital marketing or is, not was, is digital marketing.

And people talk about like Google, you know, cause obviously Google was the first search engine and were like, well, actually no. There was a whole stack of them before Google. So, okay, how was there room for Google then? Why did Google, how did that happen? And they changed something, it was only small, it was to do with page rank and how other people saw websites without going too technical.

But essentially, they changed just one thing, but that one thing was so important to the results that they got. Now, when Business Pilot came out, of course, it is just another CRM, we tend to call it business management now because I think it’s gone beyond CRM, but it was just another CRM system, let’s face it.

But that schedule board fundamentally changed how installers could work. So, there’s no surprise that schedule board comes up. And like when you were just saying about how you know whether something’s got a confirmed delivery day, all those little dots and you know, the solid line and so on, on the schedule board, just telling you instantly, you know. So that was key.



– That’s actually, I was going to say, that’s the first thing that we teach people in the business when they come and join us, we go, here are your dots, this is what the dots mean.


– Yeah, yeah. And that’s amazing.

Now, status progressions were the other thing you spoke about and actually I think that’s massively underutilized across, if you like, the Business Pilot community, you know.

So, I think you guys are probably nailing it compared to some of the other users. So, it’s something I want to see people adopt a lot more of. With status progressions, you can absolutely get a consistent experience to that customer every single time. And it’s huge and the development of it, again, was huge. You know, I mean, that came out in 20, probably 21 again. Yeah, it was probably about that, 21, 22. So for you guys, it was probably in, wasn’t it, when you joined business?


– We were lucky.


Business Pilot for People


– Yeah, you were lucky. It wasn’t there originally. It’s a massive engine behind it that does it. So yeah, you’ve picked a couple of the big hitters. I’m still waiting for somebody to say BP mail because that’s another phenomenal tool, which actually you couldn’t have your status progressions firing off those emails without some of that. But no, cool.

We’re talking again about the system. I’m also, I’d love to talk about the team because to me, actually all of this is about people. The reason we’re building this system actually is about people. It’s about installers.

So how do you find the people within Business Pilot, you know, helpful, all that sort of stuff. But yeah, just talk to me about your experiences of them.


– I feel like everybody in our business does a very specific role that’s dedicated to them. And I think the way specifically Business Pilot works around us is that everybody sees what they need to see when they need to see it, but that also influences other people’s views.

So, our customer services team do the booking in of the installers. The installer then sees what they need to see whilst we on our end see much more information. And it’s very much the access to the information is there when you need it. And it’s the level of information that you need.

Instead of going back to pipe drive, when we had that, the installer, when they had the app, they had an overload of information. They were seeing every single email, everything that was going on, but now they see exactly what they need.

They see the location; they see the customer’s details and any paperwork digitally. We’ve kind of moved away from printing things. We are essentially nearly, very, very nearly 100% paper free. And then people on the customer services side, they see invoices, they see the purchase ordering.

And then sales, again, they see completely different information what’s visible in the contract. They get what they need without having the extra faff of going through boxes and clicking buttons. They have their buttons to click.


Removing Double Input


– Yeah, no, that is key, but how that information all goes through the same journey, even though you’ve got all those different people in the team, you know, that’s really good.


– I think the majority, the way we look at it is it limits double input. We don’t have to keep inputting things across. Before we’d have a form, somebody would have to fill that word document in with all the bits in it. Now it’s all automated. There isn’t the double input. And if Business Pilot could do everything, it’d be amazing. It could even do our quotes for us, which I think it’s getting there slowly. It would be amazing because it limits double input and it limits errors, which from a business perspective, saves us money.


– 100%. And that’s what we’re, you know, with the different APIs, that’s exactly how it should all be. You know, I’ve been doing some research on, I mean, in this case it turned, it was Fensa Integrations just because of the time thing or something we’re going forward with.

But, you know, we’re cutting down all those bits that are just repetitive tasks that just kill time.


– I think you mentioned Fensa. I totally forgot about that before. It used to be us having to, okay, pull the details, put it into the system, go into Fensa’s website, register the installation, we’ve completely forgotten about Fensa now because it just happens.


– Right. And that’s exactly it. I’m sort of saying, you know, look, what used to take five minutes now takes five seconds. It’s literally five seconds. It’s click, confirm, obviously, their agreement, you know, so everything’s still just as good as it were.

And again, how many companies actually used to go back into the portal after Fensa had issued a registration number and actually take note of it? You don’t even have to on Business Pilot. It does it for you. It’s already there, you know.


– Exactly.


Working with the Business Pilot Team


– So, no, I think that’s good. Have you guys, well, you must have done, needed to sort of contact us for things like support or training stuff. How’s that experience been?


– So, I was actually going to mention this because I think throughout the entire experience from us joining Business Pilot and going through training with Rebecca and having all of that input to even now last week on Friday, I believe it was, I was having a chat with one of the guys from Business Pilot about other integrations that we might need as a business.

So, I think this again goes back to the fact that Business Pilot works around us because we have a chat we want actually, I think this needs to look like that. And 90% of the time, we see a response straight away. I think when we joined in 2021, invoices were a manual export. You’ve built a Xero API.


– Yeah, yeah.


– So that happens automatically. And I think as things crop up every week, one of our guys email you going, oh, can we have this? And the response is never no.


– No.


– So, it’s a constant support and it’s almost like you are part of our business in our IT team.


– That’s, hold on. Give me a moment. Cause that was a nice warm, fuzzy feeling I got just then. (laughing) But actually it is key, you know, and again, some of this stuff, it comes back to that point of for installers, by installers, all this stuff that we sort of say, but it’s easy to say, but it has to come from somewhere.

I know that for all of us, we are absolutely focused on making the installers life easier and more successful. And if that means somebody comes to us and says, well, you know, I’m doing a lot of exporting this and importing this or I’m manually typing that, we need to find a way and wherever there’s a way we do.

You know, we’ve really driven like the whole API thing in the industry because it’s just nuts that you have to double entry. Why would you do that? You know, it’s, but I think the reason people do that is because it’s just historic, but that’s not a good idea.


– I think if we look at other industries, for example, you come from the social media marketing industry, all of that’s automated. All the other industries around us are 100% automated. It’s this industry that is, okay, you’ve got a software to do your quotes. You’ve got a software to do this. You’ve got a software to do that.

Let’s make them talk together. And I feel like Business Pilot is trying to be, it’s not trying to be everything, but it’s trying to be the central hub of everything. And I think that’s the chat that I was having with Ryan, that Business Pilot will kick off things for us.

It will push things down the line and to other places where that information needs to be. But it is the single source of truth which we didn’t have before.


– But literally just that phrase, that’s exactly what our mission is to be, is the single source of truth so that you can go off. You know, obviously what’s difficult for me is I’ve got two Ryans in the business.

So, I don’t know which one you were talking to, but what I do know is, so Ryan Breslin, so Cherwell Windows, he’ll tell you, his accountant is working from Business Pilot.

You know, when they do their numbers and it’s the tiniest of margins out from what ends up going on his actual financial stuff, like his, I think they’re Sage or Zero, but it’s so close. And it’s not designed as an accounting package, let’s face it, but it is designed as the single source of truth so you can rely on it. And, you know, so no, it’s key.

We spoke about the new features there. That’s really important for us as well. You know, and we have this great big ideas board. So, every time a user comes back, they’ve got an idea. And you’re right, the answer will never be, I won’t say never, never is a strong word. It’d have to be a silly, it’d have to be worse than silly idea for us to knock it back immediately and say no. And it wouldn’t just be no, it’d be no. And this is for an obvious reason. But actually, as long as the idea has got anything to it, we’re going to take it on board.


– And I think the key part of that is, when we have a problem, it’s not usually just us with a problem.


– Correct.


– And 90% of the time we’ve made a call gone, actually, we’re missing this field. And we go, oh, that’s odd, because some of us have said they’re missing this. We’ll put it on, and it will happen in X amount of time, or it will happen on the next event. And we go, that’s brilliant. And then down the line, again, the system builds itself around us and around the installers in the community that use it.


– Yeah, yeah, no, it’s good. And there’s so much that goes on in dev, you know? I mean, we’re talking about just the features that come out, you know, actually it’s behind in the scenes. And you guys will probably notice it more as, you know, I don’t know, grid view might load a little bit quicker, or something like that.

So, you think, well, the grid is exactly the same. And that’s because behind the scenes, there’s so much development work that goes on, just to make sure it’s using the latest available sort of methods, code, whatever, you know, I don’t want to get techie on it, but essentially, but it’s using the latest stuff to make sure that it’s, if we can save you a second here and a second there, then that becomes minutes, you know, minutes from hours.


– And I think that was an instrumental decision when we chose Business Pilot as the software. When we were at the FIT Show, we looked at loads of different other competitor software. And a lot of them just seemed like they were working on old technology, trying to make it look new. Whilst with Business Pilot, straight from the back, it being a web-based system, completely cloud-based, we went, this is brilliant.

It’s going to scale. It’s going to work with us, and it’s not going to stay in 1982.


– And most people don’t actually know. And again, for me, I’ve got to be really careful, because obviously I know the technical side, and I don’t want to do that technical talk, you know, it’s not helpful. But there’s a huge difference between something that was built on the cloud and some software that you just put on a web server somewhere. You know, and you basically just, you’ve nailed it. It’s the scalability of it.


– I think we’re talking about the same software. I think we both understand, but 100% the scalability is massive.


Advice for Potential Business Pilot Users


– Yeah, so no, that’s really good. So, okay, so we’ve obviously been talking away, and the aim is if anybody’s looking around and they’ve just come across Business Pilot, we’re trying to let them inside to see what it’s like being part of Business Pilot. What would you say to somebody who is looking around at stuff? What would be your best advice? And that might be in terms of how they take it on board. So, like you, you said actually we’re just going to dive in.

Other people have actually said, you know what, just treat it slowly. So, I think that depends on who the person is, who the company are.

But so, somebody’s looking at Business Pilot now, what would you be saying to them?


– I’d actually say don’t look at Business Pilot. I’d say look at your business process, give it to the Business Pilot guys. And it’s almost like you will walk into your own company, opening that key, AKA logging in, and you will see what you know in a digital format.

That’s the way I would look at it.

And actually, a lot of the time we’ve gone away, taken a big sheet of A3 paper, drawn out those pipelines, drawn out the fields that we need and how we want it all to work together.

Our customers have loved it because now they’re getting key status emails from us automatically, where actually we don’t write them, they happen automatically. So, we’ve built this amazing customer journey from start to finish. We’ve gone to Business Pilot, we’ve gone, this is what we want. And it’s happened.


– Yeah, yeah. That’s good. I mean, I hope the video didn’t stop when you said, don’t look at Business Pilot. (laughing) You clarified after, but yeah, let’s hope they don’t stop the video at that stage. So, okay. That’s, yeah, I mean, that’s phenomenal. And I’m glad you guys are enjoying it the way you are, but more to the point that you’ve tailored it around your business.

So much as the whole purpose of the videos are for people who might be looking at it, I think there’s a lot in what we’ve been talking about that’s actually relevant to people who are already on Business Pilot. Because we have a lot of different users, obviously, as you can imagine. To me, when status progressions came in, I thought that was just as much a game changer as scheduled board.

And the way you’ve used status progressions is actually exactly how it was designed. It was to make that system yours, 100% yours, your processes. So yeah, when we do some training on status progressions, I need you in on it. (laughing) Not because you need it, because I want you to teach it.


– I think as a niche, I don’t know if we’d be a niche customer for Business Pilot, but we are an installer, we are a sales company, but we’re also a fabricator. So actually, what goes on behind the scenes, there’s a lot of processes and there’s a lot of stages.

So, we really have to use Business Pilot to its full potential. But if we have 100 orders a day going through the system that are being used for the potential, that doesn’t mean that a customer, that company that has two or three orders, can’t use the same process.

They can use what we do and what other big fabricators do and actually give that same beautiful customer journey to their customers. So, I think it really scales, gives access to smaller companies to these amazing processes and the amazing customer feel, like it gives us a unified consistent look as a business.


– Awesome, awesome. Well, thanks. That’s really good. That’s really good. So yeah, I can’t wait to share the video really. So yeah, thanks a lot.


– I don’t think there’s nothing negative that we could say. The only thing that we sit down, and we go, actually, I think we’d love to see the ideas board to get excited about what’s coming. So, I think that’s the only thing where we would go, we’d love to see it.


– Yeah, there is that. Clearly, we might not want to share that completely publicly, so it’s how we share it internally. But yeah, I get excited. I’m probably an excitable person anyway, but I get excited when I see what we’ve got coming. And I still think we are scraping the surface. We really are.


– I think we get the email with the update when updates come through, because so often we get an email going, oh, we’ve just added this. And my colleagues sit down, and they see me just laughing like a little kid going, oh, I’ve got this field that I want now. Or the invoices, they sync automatically, because it’s a little bit of joy, but at the same time, when the Xero integration came in, that saved hours of business time.


– Hours, yeah, hours. The game changers, you know, and no, it’s good, it’s really good. Perfect, thanks for that.


– Yeah. – No problem at all.

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