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Case Study

Armitage’s Garden Centre

EPoS Sage Integration: Extending the capabilities of EPoS and stock control systems

As a successful company, operating in the fast-moving garden centre arena, it is critical that Armitage’s Garden Centre effectively monitor stock levels and management procedures. Consequently, Armitage’s was looking for a pure-play business process automation solution that would deliver real-time exception reports, extend the functional capabilities of its EPOS and Sage applications and automate costly back office administration duties.

Primary Applications Used: CSY EPOS, Montana EPOS, Sage 50 accounting system

Platform and Capabilities Used:

  • Notifications & Alerts
  • Workflow & Human Interaction
  • Report & Document Automation
  • Data Integration & Synchronisation

“The growth of our business and the increasing speed in which activities take place, members of staff were finding it increasingly difficult to monitor and report on all the company’s data.”

David Whitwam, IT Support Manager, Armitage’s Garden Centre

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EPOS Sage Integration: Enhancing the capabilities of CSY EPoS, Montana EPoS and Sage accounting

Company Details

Based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, Armitage’s is a well established and respected provider of quality indoor style, outdoor living, pets and aquatics, machinery and planting products to consumers.

The Challenge

  • Automate business processes and alert staff
  • Update systems with price changes
  • Enhance accounting and key reporting
  • Deal with aged debtors more efficiently

The Solution

  • Enhance existing EPoS and accounting system capabilities
  • Automate the creation and delivery of key reports
  • Automate business processes and alert staff

The Results

  • Price changes updated automatically on EPoS systems
  • Data anomalies alerted
  • Aged debtors identified and dealt with

The Challenge: EPoS Sage Integration and the need for business process automation

Operating in a seasonal and fast moving sector, such as the garden centre industry, requires a great deal of experience, skill and investment to succeed in the fashion that Armitage’s has consistently shown.

To achieve this, Armitage’s is continuously evaluating its approaches to work and how these can be enhanced or modified for greater efficiency. Indeed, it was during an evaluation of its IT business processes that it first became aware of the need for sophisticated business process automation technology.

“As a company, we have an EPoS system by CSY and an accounts package by Sage which enables us to conduct our business activities,” explained David Whitwam, IT Support Manager. “However, with the growth of our business and the increasing speed in which activities take place, members of staff were finding it increasingly difficult to monitor and report on all the company’s data. This is when we started to investigate the intelligent automation capabilities of Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform.”

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Managing stock control procedures

The effective management of stock within a rapidly commercial environment, such as the garden centre sector, is a critical competence that company decision-makers must possess. Of course, with the plethora of products on offer at Armitage’s, this was an extremely complex and time consuming activity. The business identified a pressing need for Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform.

“The management of stock is a critical success factor within our business arena and as a result we would routinely invest a great deal of time monitoring and reporting on the status of product lines,” said Whitwam. “Yet, through the capabilities of Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform we’ve now completely automated the monitoring of, and exception reporting on, products that have been sold below target margins, for example.”

The intelligent monitoring and reporting capabilities of the Platform has also delivered Armitage’s with complete stock level accuracy. This has facilitated reduction in product waste and ensured that product availability is at the optimal level for the business.

“We’ve now completely automated the monitoring of, and exception reporting on, products that have been sold below target margins, for example.”

David Whitwam, IT Support Manager, Armitage’s Garden Centre

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Automatically update EPoS system with price changes

Another important area for all B2C orientated companies is the real-time management of stock item price changes and this was something that Whitwam was eager to highlight:

“I think the intelligent monitoring and reporting on our stock item price changes perfectly illustrates the impact Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform has had. EPoS systems are unquestionably powerful applications and we simply could not operate without them. However, adding a layer of intelligent, rules-based business process management functionality through the deployment of the Data integration and Synchronisation capability has certainly enabled us to leverage further benefits from our EPoS systems.”

Price changes immediately available in stores

The addition of this functional capability to its EPoS systems is something that Whitwam highlighted: “It is now the case that price information is intelligently brought to us when we need it. In short, my colleagues and I don’t have to waste time seeking critical information and therefore we can spend more time on developing the business.”

Data anomalies and debtors identified and alerted

Armitage’s has also used the BPA Platform to monitor and enforce company procedures and protocols so that time consuming problems cannot manifest. For example, the Platform identifies and informs key employees of items that are not assigned to a supplier, harbour the wrong VAT codes and items between the two centres where the RRP is different.

“Having the ability to monitor and report on RRPs across the two centres is very important for obvious reasons, but the fact that we can achieve this without human intervention and to our business rules is very powerful,” said Whitwam.

Outstanding invoices are something that the majority of businesses suffer from and, as a result, a great deal of investment is made in accounts software. Yet, once again, the reliance on company employees to manually identify outstanding invoices is a significant waste of company resources. This is why Armitage’s uses the Workflow and Human Interaction capability to automate this important but resource intensive procedure.

“Without doubt, the automated highlighting of aged debtors to our credit control staff has had a significant impact on the department,” said Whitwam. “In the medium-to-long term, we also have plans to further extend our use of Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform by automating our entire credit control procedures.”

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Armitage’s and its future business process automation strategy

The gains Armitage’s has attained from the intelligent automation capabilities of Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform go much further than those documented, and the company has many other plans for their future use.

“At present, we are only using three of the business process automation Tools available from Codeless Platforms, but there are many other Tools we could use. For example, the Send SMS, FTP or Send Fax Tools would enable us to automate many more administrative activities in areas like customer services or marketing.”

When Whitwam was asked to summarise the impact Codeless Platforms’ solution had made on Armitage’s he said: “Getting critical information from our EPoS and accounts software without employee intervention is key to our business. Rules-based, intelligent automation is now fundamental to the way we operate.”

Codeless Platforms specialises in system integration and business process automation solutions through its BPA Platform. For more information on how you can integrate business systems, download the brochure below, or call us on +44 (0) 330 99 88 700.

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Case Study: Armitage’s Garden Centre

Case Study: Armitage’s Garden Centre

Discover how Codeless Platforms' BPA Platform delivers real-time reports, extends capabilities of EPoS and Sage apps and automates costly back office admin duties for Armitage's Garden Centre.

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