Auto-Chlor Systems is a nation-wide organization providing services for restaurants, school districts, hospitals, hotels and prisons. Golden Light Equipment Company (GLE) and Heartland Auto-Chlor Systems LLC. (HRT) are franchisees of Auto-Chlor Systems.
GLE has provided restaurants, school districts, hospitals, hotels and prisons with a myriad of services such as distributing restaurant equipment and supplies, designing restaurants and kitchens through the Contract Design Division, and providing dish machines and cleaning products through the Contract Dish Machine Lease and Service Division for over 75 years. GLE also manufactures many of the dish machine, laundry, hand and housekeeping products that are sold to and provided to its customer base.
HRT was organized in February 2008 and is a separate company that provides dish machines and cleaning products through the Contract Dish Machine Lease and Service Division. The company manufactures some of the dish machine, laundry, hand and housekeeping products that are sold to and provided to its customer base.
With hundreds of organizations in a variety of industries relying on Auto-Chlor Systems for its equipment and supplies services, it became increasingly critical for Auto-Chlor Systems and its franchisees, GLE and HRT, to streamline and manage the massive amount of information being transmitted and processed from various locations—trucks, customers, billing departments, technicians and more. As part of the companies’ service and maintenance processes, GLE and HRT leveraged Route Salesmen through several states. However, using Route Salesmen requires all accounting processes, including billing and invoicing, to use handheld computers in the route trucks and manage these through the central accounting location at GLE—which was time-consuming and created disparate views of data.
The companies’ previous ERP system limited their ability to efficiently and cost-effectively perform critical every day sales and service functions. Service billing was a labor intensive process, as both organizations used paper invoices that needed to be printed before going to the customers’ sites. In addition, sales and service reps didn’t have a clear snapshot of what products customers were using, what they were already billed for and what they already paid. In one instance, inventory processing and billing were previously delayed by one full week as a result of the salesmen checking in on a Friday, and then the accounting department entered the sales and cash receipts during the following week.
Judith Madden, chief financial officer of GLE and HRT, recognized that its current service billing and inventory processes were leading to an increase in costs and time for the companies, and looked for a solution that would reduce costs associated with truck routing and inventory management, and one that provided them with real-time visibility of its data. In addition, Madden needed a solution to streamline and manage the massive amount of information being transmitted and processed from various locations—trucks, customers, billing departments, technicians and more.
To address these issues, GLE and HRT selected VAI’s S2K solution to help automate and integrate all of its ERP processes and provide an accurate, real-time view and control of the organizations’ customer and inventory data.
GLE and HRT evaluated several ERP solutions but discovered that these offerings were not able to provide them with the manufacturing processes they needed to ensure streamlined operations and reduced costs.
Madden, along with management in both companies determined that with its ease-of-deployment and real-time data discovery, VAI S2K was the ideal solution for GLE and HRT.
After implementing VAI S2K remote access and service billing, the entire billing and invoicing process was completely automated, allowing GLE and HRT to significantly enhance the level of service and support they provide to customers.
Leveraging mobile technology was a key factor in upgrading its service and support functions. By arming Auto-Chlor’s service teams in the Amarillo, Lubbock, Wichita and Kansas City divisions with tablets and handhelds, technicians are now able to gain remote access to VAI S2K, providing real-time access to key business applications, and inventory and customer data.
Furthermore, all of the data generated from Auto-Chlor’s service billing is sent directly back to GLE and HRT in real-time and is automatically updated in the main system that connects back to the handhelds. Invoicing is now done directly and automatically through the handhelds to eliminate thousands of dollars a year in postage costs and an inefficient paper process.
“Not only was the implementation of VAI S2K seamless and quick, but its performance has been flawless as well. Since deploying, technicians are no longer burdened with customer service and billing issues, and we have been able to integrate all of our ERP systems so that we have one, accurate view of all our data,” said Madden.
The deployment of VAI S2K has been so successful for Auto-Chlor and its clients, that the company is looking to expand its use of S2K by investing in VAI’s retail and warehouse management systems (WMS) offerings to extend the value of innovative, streamlined and cost-effective processes.
“VAI truly understood our business challenges and developed a flexible solution that has transformed our organizations’ operations. VAI was able to get both organizations up and running in six months and we are already delighted by the results. With truly automated operations and real-time access to critical data, we are now able to offer customers outstanding service and support that truly sets us apart from the competition.
Golden Light Equipment (GLE) and Heartland Auto-Chlor Systems LLC (HRT)