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Sage 300 ERP provides a flexible stock management solution for Westfund
Westfund is a member-owned health care fund, born out of the New South Wales mining industry early last century. It has long since broadened its horizons –geographically, in membership and in the services it offers – but has never lost its focus on the healthcare interests of rural and regional communities. Today, Westfund boasts a membership covering over 100,000 people and revenues in excess of $100 million. It provides health cover, dental and optical services, with branches in New South Wales and Queensland. In industry comparisons, Westfund is frequently cited as one of the best value health funds available.
Westfund had well and truly outgrown its small business software system. General Manager, John Stack commented, “The old software struggled to deal with the complexity of our multi-operations and branches – the dental, health fund and optical aspects of the business.” At the time of needing system replacement, none of Westfund’s eyewear stores was computerised. Management was keen to bring them online so that their operations could be managed within the company financial system. Westfund looked at various financial software packages but selected Sage 300 ERP (Accpac) because “It had a depth of stock management and gave us flexibility in applying pricing and discounts. Also, the General Ledger had the capacity to achieve segmentation, with reporting across all branches, operations, down to product level. It was a solution suitable for a mature company.”
Sage 300 ERP was introduced to help automate and manage the company’s financial and inventory requirements. When it came to choosing a company to help develop and deploy the software, Stack’s major priority was the ready availability of support. “We met Enabling through a referral from a CPA meeting. The fact that they could help with development of our system was an important issue. That they also have an award-winning relationship with the vendor, Sage, assured us Enabling could provide the expertise we needed,” he says. Westfund has been running its business with the help of Sage 300 ERP and add-on modules from Orchid Systems for over ten years. Roughly three years after Sage 300 ERP was deployed, Westfund decided to expand their system to reflect the nuances of the optical industry. Because glasses are made with prescriptions specific to each customer, they need to pay upfront, before receiving their new eyewear. It’s a different approach from many other retail businesses. Guided by Enabling, the order entry process was adapted to meet Westfund’s particular requirements. Over the ensuing years other changes followed. As the business began to move away from manual cheques, Westfund implemented EFT Processing software from Orchid Systems to streamline payment and collection processes. The solution removes manual tasks by automatically transferring Sage 300 ERP receipts and payments to Westfund’s banking software and can email the remittance advice.
As business grew, warehouse stock management needed a boost, with Bin Tracking from Orchid introduced, and a PDA Stock Take Module developed by Enabling. The Bin Tracking module eliminates the need for manual lists of stock locations, improving both putting away and picking, as well as stocktakes. The PDA Stock Take Module allows staff to use hand held readers to scan bar codes on optical frames and upload the results directly into Sage 300 ERP. These innovations enabled faster, more accurate stocktakes and product handling within stores. Another change saw deployment of Orchid Process Scheduler, which allows the optical stores to automate processes such as end of day procedures and file transfers. The latest innovation is business intelligence analysis tool, PowerOLAP®, to make Sage 300 ERP data accessible to non-financial users for analysis with a spreadsheet interface. For example this allows them to better understand members, the products they use and how they interact with Westfund.
Westfund has different types of business – health fund, dental and optical services – with a wide range of services and products, in a wide range of locations. General Manager, John Stack, says, with Sage 300 ERP. “we fully understand the profitability of each of our business units and our products.
It is a well structured and very robust system: we’ve never had any concern about stability and integrity.” He added,“Sage 300 ERP has amply justified itself bringing improvements and efficiencies that enhance the services and service provided by Westfund.” Stack predicts that Westfund will grow modestly but steadily over the next few years as it rolls out new services for regional markets.
One innovative plan, for example, is to develop mobile dental facilities. Another is the development of an e-commerce capability and online stores for members who are too remote to easily visit any of the fund’s optical outlets. Westfund’s financial system continues to evolve to support the business as these initiatives are introduced, proving its adaptability and flexibility. It has provided a foundation for the business in improving efficiency and productivity, with information to manage the organisation and ensuring the best customer service for members can be achieved. “We’re a member-owned fund and a lot of members have history and a real sense of ownership about Westfund.
They’ve been with us for many years. That’s why our systems and the data we have are so important. Ten years is a long time to be with one package, but we haven’t really found an area where Sage 300 ERP hasn’t been able to offer us options. We’ve had many different business needs but Sage 300 ERP and Enabling have always been able to provide a solution,” Stack concludes.
“We met Enabling through a referral from a CPA meeting. The fact that they could help with development of our system was an important issue. That they also have an award-winning relationship with the vendor, Sage, assured us Enabling could provide the expertise we needed.”
John Stack – General Manager, Westfund
To download the PDF version of the Westfund Success Story, click here.