When a corporate divestment prompted leading New Zealand dairy solutions provider DTS to transform their systems, they turned to Abel® to streamline key business processes, deliver real-time data and drive better customer outcomes.
As a former rugby player, Dairy Technology Services CEO Gavin Thwaites understands how important expertise, vision and agility are for a team’s success. But he also knows for organisations to stay on top of their game they need something more: a high-performing system that ensures everyone can make key decisions at any time.
“It’s all about the customer,” Gavin says. “If you spend too much time and resources on inefficient processes and have no real-time visibility of your critical business data, it’s hard to be responsive to your customers. We needed to change that.”
Since Gavin joined DTS in early 2019, change has been constant. After five years under the Tru-Test brand, the Hamilton company became a stand-alone business again, operating under a revitalised DTS brand.
Gavin says one thing that’s not changing is DTS’s core business. For 20 years, the multimillion-dollar company has provided high-quality stainless steel milk vats, milk refrigeration systems and dairy automation systems to New Zealand farmers. DTS’s Normanby Plant in Taranaki manufactures 95 percent of the milk vats on New Zealand farms, and their products and services help farmers comply with the rigorous standards of the milk production industry.
But Gavin says DTS had no choice but to change the way the business operated if they wanted to improve their bottom line and customer focus while growing the business. For Gavin, this transformation couldn’t start without a new ERP system.
“Our legacy JDE system was archaic, inefficient and costly to run” he says. “Capturing and sharing data was disjointed and time-consuming.With so many multiple, error-prone manual entries, it was also impossible to get an accurate, real-time view of our key business indicators.”
DTS urgently needed a new ERP system as the corporate divestment dictated they migrate to a new system by September 2019. “We not only had to identify the right ERP platform and scope the project, but also needed it up and running in nine months,” Gavin says. “That’s not a lot of time. So it was critical to find an ERP vendor that could match both our requirements and our urgency.”
After considering several ERP systems, including JDE and other tier-one vendors, DTS chose Abel.
“Every time we looked at our choices, Abel came out tops in our evaluation criteria,” Gavin says. “Abel not only offered the best value and flexibility, but they also took the time to understand our business – and it shows.”
Just six weeks after going live, Gavin says Abel is already driving significant improvements across the business by capturing, consolidating and delivering timely, accurate data for a wide range of users working at two locations and on the road.
Abel has also streamlined the processes for service jobs, replacing another lengthy and disjointed paper-based process with an automated workflow. Gavin says their order-to-invoice process for service jobs used to take one to two months to complete, now it takes one to two days. Field technicians now use tablets to input service reports directly into Abel, eliminating a process that often involved two or three manual data entries and took weeks to integrate into the system. Gavin says “With a single point of entry, these jobs can now be completed right away, triggering accurate invoices and perfect visibility across the business”.
“We couldn’t be happier with Abel,” he says. “Automating our processes has made us so much more efficient. We have fewer people working on manual tasks, we’ve cut costs and we now have the traceability and visibility we needed across our business. That’s making it easier for the whole organization to succeed.”
What’s more, Gavin says, Abel CRM provides complete visibility of the sales cycle, from the very first lead to the newest quotes and orders.
“With fast access to reliable, integrated data at any time, our leaders have their fingers on the pulse of the business and that empowers them to make better decisions. Thanks to Abel, we’ve positively changed our behaviors and that’s driving better outcomes for us and our customers.”
Gavin attributes the quick implementation and start-up to Abel’s expertise, keen understanding of DTS’s business and easy integration of their multiple data sources.
“From the start, our relationship with Abel was a partnership,” he says. “We relied heavily on their ERP experience, and they invested the time to get to know our business. I can honestly say they know more about our business than most of our employees.”
Using Abel, along with a specialized reporting and analytics dashboard from Abel partner Virtual BI, Gavin now has complete visibility of the latest financial reports and KPIs, from open jobs and call center metrics to the status of prospects in the sales pipeline, and debtor and creditor balances.
Whatever the company’s future holds, Gavin says he’s confident Abel’s scalability and flexibility will enable DTS to grow without constraint. But for now, he’s pleased with how much Abel has delivered in such a short time.
“Some ERP systems take many months to implement and never provide the desired business objectives,” he says. “By matching our urgency and delivering what we needed in just a few months, Abel more than rose to the challenge.”
As both the CEO of a leading company and a one-time rugby player, Gavin knows full well that performing with pace can make all the difference in the world.