Since 1963 the Western Family Companies (Western) has been servicing the compressed gas industry with reliable and innovative compressed gas valves and pressure devices. As the industry progressed Western grew in its service and product offerings to support the evolving industry requirements and regulations. Today the Western conglomerate consists of six companies. To manage and maintain six thriving companies Western has proven it knows what it takes to be successful within a highly competitive and regulated industry. Recurring Contract Billing, a third party add on for Dynamics GP, from Encore Business Solutions has played a significant role in two areas that have attributed to their growth and success today – increased efficiencies and increased customer and employee satisfaction. Recurring Contract Billing has enabled them to align their business strategies with their company philosophy; Our customers and our employees are unarguably our greatest assets.
Struggling to satisfy the specific billing requirements of their largest client, Western found themselves spending two days every month compiling details in order to prepare invoices. Recognizing how cumbersome the process was they were easily convinced to take a look at Recurring Contract Billing as an option to rid themselves of their Access database and other disparate programs that contributed to the problem. Under the guidance of their Dynamics GP Partner Western installed a trial version of Recurring Contract Billing in a test company. “Initially I was unsure if Recurring Contract Billing was going to work for us but thought, let’s give it a try”, states Puff Niegos, Treasurer, Western. “Once we got to play with it for a bit we saw quickly how well it was going to work for our end use. Recurring Contract Billing just sold itself so we purchased the product right away.”
Initially purchased for their leasing company, Recurring Contract Billing has been instrumental in helping Western address a growing trend in the industry. Their major clients who leased their high pressure gas cylinder units to transport high pressure gasses like Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Carbon Monoxide, and Carbon Dioxide were pressuring them to provide units faster and at a cheaper price. Valuing their client’s opinions and wanting to keep them satisfied Western knew that to effectively meet this demand they were going to have to strive to increase their own efficiencies.
Prior to using Recurring Contract Billing, Western’s internal systems and client requirements forced them monthly into a two day long invoicing process that was highly disliked by their employees. Upon implementation Western realized just how quickly Recurring Contract Billing increased invoice accuracy and reduced their costs by enabling them to become more efficient. Western’s monthly invoicing time was drastically reduced and they benefited from an immediate shift in the value they were getting out of their personnel. “What used to take us 2 days before now takes maybe an hour!” recalls Niegos. The 93% increase in efficiency received from Recurring Contract Billing enabled them to pass on the savings to their clients.
In addition to successfully delivering upon the number one request of lowering their costs, Western realized some unexpected reaction from clients as well. Clients were happy to receive 1 consolidated monthly invoice rather than the prior 150! Internally Western reaped the benefits as well. In addition to the immediate value add received from the shift in efficiency Western benefited from a reduction in the office supply costs, an improved cash flow and from the boost in employee morale that resulted from basically eliminating their painfully repetitive 2 day long monthly billing process. “Everyone hated the first of the month knowing we had to do billing. Automating the invoicing process really did make everyone happy even those who didn’t work directly with the product”, claims Niegos.
The versatility of Recurring Contract Billing has helped Western meet certain industry requirements as well. Since their units are situated around the world they have to meet the international shipping credentials so they can be shipped in any country and by any mode of transportation. Western has found great value in having the ability to put detail in the description and/or comment lines available in Recurring Contract Billing, like the region or what gas service the unit is in. Additionally, the flexibility of Recurring Contract Billing has been very helpful in easily addressing common business occurrences, like the ease of applying a credit onto the invoice of a customer who has prepaid for the month but returns a unit early.
Since its initial purchase of Recurring Contract Billing in 2007 Western has successfully been able to leverage the solution in their other operations further exemplifying their return on investment. The flexible nature of Recurring Contract Billing allowed Western to easily adapt the product to meet the recurring needs of all their companies. “The ROI has been tenfold. That was the best money we have spent on any software, period!” states Niegos.
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