Operating through-out Leicestershire and neighbouring counties Harveys Windows went back to work in early May 2020, only to have to contend with a local lockdown at the end of June. Nonetheless, the retail specialist reported strong performance for the year. This has been supported by Business Pilot.
We spoke with Sally about how Business Pilot was and is able to help them.
Full visibility on deliveries
This, according to Sally, has been important to Harvey Windows during not only lockdown but the period of exceptionally high demand that has followed it, supporting Harvey’s Windows in not only managing its own jobs and scheduling workloads – but staying on top of its supply chain.
“We’ve been using the Business Pilot platform since the spring of 2019. One of the things that we have come to rely on is whether things have been delivered or not”, says Sally.
Reliability of supply has been a bugbear for installers up and down the country, making having an accurate handle on what’s going to be available for installation and when critical.
Business Pilot supports installers in doing this by allowing them to ‘upward manage’ their supply chains. Tracking orders against delivery and scheduled installation dates, from the moment that orders are placed.
“We use Business Pilot exclusively to place and generate purchase orders. As these are assigned to specific jobs, we can see what we need and when and then check against them that products have been delivered and are in stores when they’re meant to be there”, explains Sally.
“We print out a list every day that our storeman goes through and checks off that product has been delivered or if we’ve received stuff that wasn’t scheduled for that day, why and which job it should be assigned to.
“It’s quite a long journey to get to a point where you’re absolutely reliant on something but we’re there on this and works very well, also making putting the invoices in behind those jobs and understanding job costings accurately much easier”, she adds.
Management information at your fingertips
Every change made within Business Pilot is also tracked and duplicated throughout the system making day to day management of installation operations simpler but also delivering new insight into your business. This includes a ‘true’ indication of profitability per job but the factors that have contributed to it, for example pricing, time on site or call backs.
“It wasn’t that our old systems weren’t working – they actually worked quite well – but they weren’t integrated under a ‘single roof’, continues Sally.
“We were reliant on individual spreadsheets and manual charts on the wall to manage scheduling. We felt we needed to move forward with technology.
“Bringing every into one place has delivered efficiency gains in our day-to-day operation, scheduling, ordering, planning and also management information.
“I was investing a considerable amount of time on a weekly basis analysing leads, number of conversions – they’re there now and available to me at the push of a button.
“I can carry out those retrospective checks on the prices and the cost of job that have come in and then if there’s a recurring issue, spot and address it. It allows to understand what’s been charged for each job against reality.”
Cultural change during COVID-19
So why does Sally believe more installers aren’t embracing software and CRM systems to run their businesses more efficiently? Well, she suggests it comes down to culture and the requirement to change process.
“The big thing has been getting people to use Business Pilot as ‘a default’ and to rely on it, rather than seeing it a ‘burden’ or something else that they have to do.
“What COVID-19 has done, is to accelerate that process. People have been working from home and being forced to use it because they weren’t in the office with the charts and all of the T-cards. “Lockdown has broken down those early barriers and in the fullness of time it’s moved us further forward than we might have been otherwise.”
Data quality is key
Sally also highlights the importance of quality of data input “if its garbage in, you get garbage out”, explaining that Harveys Windows had invested time in the training of its staff to ensure that leads and conversions were recorded accurately.
Sally argues that Business Pilot has become an increasingly integrated part of the company’s business strategy for the future.
“We’re now looking to future what we want to do with business”, Sally explains. “Richard my business partner and I are ‘of an age’ where we might want to ‘let go’ a bit within the next few years and what Business Pilot gives us is a system – it’s not all in someone’s’ head.
“We’re currently writing a process manual for the whole business and having Business Pilot makes that so much easier. If gives us the option of bringing in an office manager, handing them the manual and access to Business Pilot and they will have the tools to get going.
“It’s so much easier than having to try and remember what you do that’s in your what processes you use and try and pass that onto somebody.
The original interview took place in September 2020