The Nubco group :SYM-PAC Case Study
“SYM-PAC is actually very easy to use, and can be adapted to any business at any level.
We’re after constant and continual improvement, and we’ve made our use of SYM-PAC a built-in part of our daily operations.
SYM-PAC’s TBO (To Be Ordered) system is the best procurement system out there!
SYM-PAC’s ordering integration with SAP via the SYM-PAC Online portal has enhanced our credibility as a professional supplier.”
- With SYM-PAC since November 2003
- 97 users across nine locations
- Locations: Burnie, Devonport, Kingston, George Town, Launceston, Mornington, & Derwent Park
- Buying group: AIS
- Established 1983
Why SYM-PAC is our choice:
- The design of SYM-PAC’s Multi Store capabilities
- SYM-PAC’s Back Office integration & process designed with a solid understanding of accounting
- SYM-PAC’s Automatic Ordering
Nubco: the full story
Nubco is a Tasmanian success story. Established in Devonport in 1983, the business has grown to seven locations right across Tasmania — plus a separate head office, and from 2007, a huge Warehouse Distribution Centre on an 11,500 square metre site in Devonport.
“As we all know,” says Paul Krawczyk, Owner and MD, “Bass Strait is a long stretch of water and it seems to take an eternity to get things across!”
The Distribution Centre allows quicker turnaround times for product into the stores, with pallets distributed each day to the seven store locations. Additionally, the capacity of the Distribution Centre has allowed Nubco to hold greater stock volumes, allowing them to maximise their purchasing power and buy in with better pricing — providing savings for their customers.
Catering primarily for industrial, engineering and trade business, the jaw-dropping range of product held also means that Nubco caters for any requirement a home handyman might need.
SYM-PAC into Nubco, 2003
In 2003 Nubco had four sites in place and Paul knew that the future opportunities for business expansion required full automation. Up until then, all business operations had been manual. The time it was taking to complete simple, ongoing tasks had to be automated.
“We reached a point where we couldn’t continue to grow the business unless we brought in a system,” says Paul.
He spent over twelve months doing the research, including establishing a set of criteria for his requirements, and interstate visits to a number of providers.
Ultimately, there were three key reasons why Nubco chose SYM-PAC.
1. The design of SYM-PAC’s Multi Store capabilities
SYM-PAC’s standalone server design, back in 2003, provide reliability and the ability to continue to sell at Point of Sale if offline for any reason.
“The only time we have been offline in all these years,” says Paul, “was when we suffered a major power outage.”
2. How the SYM-PAC software worked
— including SYM-PAC’s understanding of Nubco’s future (at that time) warehouse system requirements.
3. SYM-PAC’S Back Office Integration
SYM-PAC’s back office integration and process was designed by people with a solid understanding of accounting, so Nubco was confident in the handling of General Ledger and integration flow for their business.
The power of a disciplined process for the business
“SYM-PAC is actually very easy to use,” Paul notes, “and can be adapted to any business at any level.”
After the first month of installation, the staff became very comfortable with the system, and their confidence gradually increased across the business, for staff at all locations.
Paul’s ongoing successful results in using SYM-PAC are driven by a deliberate approach to constant improvement. To achieve ongoing efficiencies, a process flow of regularly increasing their use of
SYM-PAC’s features has run along these lines:
- Point of Sale
- Price File
- Customer Net Pricing
- Suggested Ordering
- Full Automatic Ordering
- Catalogue integration, and Catalogue Performance Reporting
- Daily Profit and Daily Margin Reporting
“We are after constant and continual improvement,” Paul notes, “and making our use of the system a built-in part of the day to day business process and procedures.
“We have built business procedures around what SYM-PAC does.”
Nubco has produced their own Procedures and Operations Manuals, including SYM-PAC screenshots, to support their internal systems and to make sure that staff are trained and operating accordingly.
This keeps the business running smoothly, and tasks are streamlined and as efficient as possible — people clearly know what is expected of them and what needs to be achieved.
Daily reports to drive the business:
Here’s a selection of the SYM-PAC Daily reports that Nubco runs as a bare minimum for the business — at each location, for each store manager, and each divisional manager:
- Aged Debtors (reviewed weekly)
- Negative Stock
- Customer Back Orders
- Supplier Back Orders
- Daily Sales
- Low Margin Report
- Reason Override Report
“Knowing every single day of the week whether we are meeting budget is critical,” says Paul. He reviews the Store Performance Reports regularly:
- This Week
- This Month compared to Last Month
- This Month compared to this time Last Year
A culture of constant improvement at Nubco
“We adjusted our discount structure, which resulted in improvements to our profitability,” says Paul.
“We introduced the Override Report at the same time. This has nearly eradicated manual discounting by staff — it’s had a big impact.”
These are just a couple of examples of the types of improvements that Nubco is achieving in its business by using the SYM-PAC system to its fullest potential.
As ‘power users’, Nubco have been instrumental in the design of a number of SYM-PAC’s features over the years.
Strong users of SYM-PAC’s Suggested Ordering, Paul proposed that this feature should go one step further.
Paul explains: “We wanted to deal more efficiently with a situation, for example, where you have a giant tool set in stock.
“You may only have one on the floor and possibly one in stock.
“Say you sell one of these giant tool sets — if you only run your Suggested Ordering once a week, you might not know for a week that you need to order another to restock.”
SYM-PAC’s Automatic Ordering takes the next step. At the point when a sale transaction has happened, this triggers Automatic Ordering if the sale has resulted in the stock hitting the minimum stock level.
At critical points when trading, like during catalogue promotion time, this is very important.
“As a result of implementing this,” says Paul, “our Out Of Stocks are lower, and our Warehouse ships out pallets to the stores overnight as required.”
Automatic Ordering has been in place at Nubco for over 18 months and is working well.
Suggested Ordering is still run weekly, with the Nubco Procurement Team at Head Office setting the Mins and Maxes for the stores.
In Paul’s opinion, there should be NO ACCESS ALLOWED to Purchase Order Entry! It’s his belief that users should only be allowed to use the TBO (To Be Ordered) system via Suggested Ordering and Automatic Ordering.
“SYM-PAC’s TBO system is the best procurement system out there!” he says.
New SYM-PAC features delivering benefits for Nubco
Continuing with the Nubco culture of constant improvement, Paul is particularly excited about implementing the following new functionality from SYM-PAC into the business.
CRM — Customer Relationship Management
“This will revolutionise customer service,” says Paul. He’s invested in new laptops for sales staff. All sales staff are now immediately entering the details for their sales calls into the CRM as they make them, or as soon as possible afterwards, logging straight into the system for each call.
Introducing this process now for the sales team means that the procedure and the habit are again being built into Nubco’s daily operations and in this instance, expectations for the sales and service area.
What’s more, all this important customer detail is now being captured by Nubco — it’s not just in the rep’s head!
This means that everyone at Nubco can know what’s going on and they can all contribute more fully to delivering the customer service needed.
When fully implemented, this will be another game changer in terms of the service delivery that Nubco will be able to offer.
Customer Watch List
A customer might have a regular price list for items they often buy from the store. If a supplier increases the cost of any of those products, the customer gets the price increase automatically.
“This is not ideal for particularly commercially price-sensitive items, where the customer is sourcing them from us for a reason!” says Paul.
“We can now flag any particularly sensitive items on a customer price list, and then take the steps we need to override an automatic increase for that product, for that customer.”
An Exciting Future
A business like Nubco is not going to settle on its current level of success.
A constant push for innovation and improvement means that Paul is looking at a number of new ideas for his business in next twelve months.
“NubcoTV” will be introduced — tied in with Nubco’s catalogue promotions, Paul is installing three to four large format screens in each store location.
Ongoing promotional videos, including details of the latest sales, product advertisements, and ‘how to’ videos will run on a continual loop during trading hours.
In future this could also be played on Customer Display Units at Point of Sale.
Additionally, Paul has released Nubco’s own app, for both android and iOS mobile operating systems, for the substantial Nubco product catalogue.
Staying at the top of our game
Customers like Paul at Nubco help SYM-PAC to stay at the top of our game — we love being challenged!
His passion for innovation is infectious, as well as his clear understanding of the vision he wants to achieve for the Nubco business.
More strength to Nubco as they power into the future — we look forward to it
SYM-PAC integration with SAP via SYM-PAC Online portal
There’s a little known feature that SYM-PAC specifically engineered for Nubco.
This is an integration between SYM-PAC Online and the SAP system being used by one of Nubco’s core customers.
At the customer’s end, they click on ‘Nubco’ — and Nubco’s SYM-PAC Online website populates within their SAP system.
The customer then creates their order via the SYM-PAC Online trolley, and sends it directly to Nubco.
With a spend of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, it was critical that this type of volume was handled smoothly.
“This is a large and very important account for us, and SYM-PAC’s work in this area has enhanced our credibility as a professional supplier,” says Paul.