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Retailer paints a new data-driven future by blending Kerridge K8 with Phocas

5 mins to read

Supplying the D-I-Y market as well as professional applicators, Pick-a-Paint is a thriving South African-based paint retailer operating from three strategically located branches. Its management team needed access to real-time data to help them make faster business decisions, deliver superior levels of customer service and stand out from the competition. 

We caught up with Pick-a-Paint’s Systems Director, Branden Davies to find out how consolidated data and custom financial reporting is helping the business to achieve more.  

The finishing touch to Kerridge K8 

To future-proof the business and support ambitious growth plans, Branden led Pick-a-Paint’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) migration to Kerridge K8 back in 2017.  

Almost immediately, its management team noticed a significant improvement in the day-to-day running of the business along with a vast increase in the volume of data they could process and access. Branden described the transition as nothing short of amazing given where they’d come from. 

However, several of the senior team including Branden himself, unwittingly became gatekeepers of the new K8 system and as a result, the business started to experience reporting bottlenecks. 

“K8 requires technical know-how in order to go and write a report. Then at the end of the day, the people who can do it actually don't get time and then the decision delays or they make the decision without calculated data,” Branden says. 

Kerridge recommended Phocas Software for deeper insights and fast reporting. Two weeks later, thanks to an off-the-shelf, API-based integration with K8, Pick-a-Paint was up and running with Phocas Analytics and Financial Statements.  

“The big benefit of Phocas is the user friendliness of it. You can create your own dashboards and reports still with all the complexity of data that Kerridge gives you.” Branden explains. 

No longer like watching paint dry 

Before adopting Phocas, several days of senior management time were spent every month doing basic reporting and analysis, leaving little to no time for value-add strategic planning. 

Branden alone was spending anything between 2 to 4 hours every evening running reports in readiness for meetings the next day, an exercise which he described as ‘painful’.  

If you think of the time it costs for each of our directors to do these things manually, it actually adds up to be a ridiculous amount,Branden explains.   

To obtain the same reports and analysis through Phocas, he says this now takes a matter of minutes, with cost savings through increased efficiencies delivering the biggest ROI by far. Branden also said that having access to accurate, real-time business data has allowed the Pick-a-Paint team to make faster decisions, which in turn has led to improved sales performance. 

Always delivering on customer service 

Pick-a-Paint’s core ethos of dedicated customer service is the driving force behind everything the business does. Phocas Analytics has enabled the management team to closely monitor market trends and delve deeper into customer buying behaviour.  

By leveraging this data, the team can now personalize marketing campaigns and more easily recommend associated products; enhancing the overall customer experience in the process.  

Phocas also helps them maintain stock levels of fast-moving goods to ensure customers can always get what they need in store without holding too much stock. “For us, inventory management is really crucial,” Branden explains. Having a clearer understanding of customer preferences facilitates the introduction of new product lines as well as more proactive conversations with Pick-a-Paint’s suppliers.  

“We can go to suppliers and say, “’we're actually seeing this range is doing very well. We’re only currently getting ten units. We're going to sell that before we get your next shipment. So, can we order 20 units instead?’ which makes it a lot more efficient for us than waiting for stock and potentially losing a sale and a customer,” Branden says. 

Using financial performance insights to make tough decisions  

Branden explained that whilst the Analytics module has been invaluable for managing its operational data, the business has seen the biggest benefit from Financial Statements.  

“Once a month, we have a director’s meeting whereby I use a specific dashboard which we created and are evolving as we go, where we discuss the performance of each branch and the performance of the group.” Branden says.

Having access to real-time financial reporting and profitability analysis rather than needing to wait until the end of every month to calculate it has transformed how the business is run. 

“It gives us a better understanding of the financial performance and the overall health of the company. So, we can actually make informed decisions,” he explains.  

It also enables them to know when to re-invest back into the business such as opening a new branch or buying more stock, versus when to put potential investments on hold. 

For example, Branden revealed that by using real-time insights from Phocas, the Pick-a-Paint management team have made a difficult yet data-driven decision to close a poor performing branch. Phocas enabled them to have honest conversations about the situation with the affected branch staff and redeploy resources to another branch that’s currently ‘booming’. 

A speedy application for Kerridge K8 users 

Ultimately, Branden recognizes that the data he now gets out of Phocas is the same data that he could get out of K8. The difference is he can now access it much faster.  

Phocas helps to consolidate the Kerridge data from different modules (sales, inventory, finance) and present it in an easy-to-understand format such as interactive dashboards that more people across the business can understand. 

When asked if he would recommend Phocas to other Kerridge users, Branden said he absolutely would “because it has a user-friendly interface and offers real-time data, customization and flexibility” 

He also praised Phocas’s seamless integration and responsive support as a huge advantage over other business planning and analytics systems on the market.  

I can confidently say that the level of service and support we have received from Phocas has been exceptional. The team have played a crucial role in enabling us to get the most out of the solution.” Branden explained. 

The future is looking bright 

Currently Pick-a-Paint’s senior management team are the only users in the business to have full Phocas licenses, with its branch managers being limited to view only. Looking ahead, he says the end goal is to get full licenses in the hands of its branch managers too so ‘they can follow trends by themselves daily’ and respond even faster. 

Hopefully next year we can also add the Budgets & Forecasts module because I would love to have that. So that will be our next focus for Phocas” he says. 

And perhaps most important of all, thanks to Phocas’ dashboarding and automated reporting capabilities, Branden no longer needs to spend his evenings prepping management reports for the next day; freeing him up to focus on supporting the sales team so they hit target!  

“Phocas makes me feel happy because I don't have to spend so much time getting reports. If it saves me time, I'm happy,” Branden concluded.  

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