Premier Contract Supplies Interview
Blue Rock Systems Ltd, Southampton
To produce a written interview for the Blue Rock Systems Ltd blog, based on an in-person interview with Peter Caldicott (Director) and Graham Cuthbert (Operational Manager) of Premier Contract Supplies
Set up by Vince Caldicott to sell heating supplies and bathrooms to the public, he saw a gap in the contract market for a high-quality sanitary ware supplier and created Premier Contract Supplies with a warehouse in Frimley.
They now boast 7 branches, offering a national service and have built strong relationships with key housebuilders and manufacturers of bathroom equipment.
On a drive for efficiency and improved customer service, PCS realised they needed to replace their accounting software Exchequer (and other integrated solutions) with a more flexible, scalable and functional solution.
It was with this in mind that they placed the order with Blue Rock, with iQ installed in late 2021.
Glen, Charlotte and Billy from Blue Rock travelled to the North Laines in sunny Brighton to visit PCS at their Estimating Office , and to have a chat about skiing, gardening and camping over a pie and a pint in their local pub . Glen Jewell, Sales Director at Blue Rock Systems, spoke with Director Peter Caldicott and Operational Manager Graham Cuthbert about their experience with iQ so far, and their new relationship with Blue Rock.
Glen: It’s only been 4 months Peter, so it may seem a bit soon to carry out a case study but I hear you’re seeing a lot of changes since having iQ installed?
Peter: Yep, we’re seeing an improvement in efficiency and getting some great feedback. Of our 50 users, the vast majority are extremely happy with how it speeds up how they work — we have a few still getting to grips with it, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Graham: Yeah we’re already seeing the benefits compared to our old system — I thought we’d feel more pain before we saw any advantages, but it’s not been like that at all.
We know that there’s also so much more we’re going to be able to get out of it as we go forward.
Glen: Where would you say you’re seeing the most benefits?
Peter: Purchase ledger are extremely happy — we had a member of staff return to PCS after a few years and she couldn’t believe how much easier and more efficient it was to work with than the previous system was.
For me, the ease of access to data is so helpful for reporting and data analysis — management accounts are easily visible, much less fiddly than running reports.
The internal sales account managers absolutely love it — they were our main focus when looking to go ahead with iQ in the first place and that department is probably where the biggest gains are. Everything in iQ is better than it was with Exchequer. The way proof of delivery, Blue Scan, works improved our efficiency straight off the bat. The way it handles rebates, pricing, visibility of margins is brilliant from a reporting point of view. “One of the big differences with iQ is that we’ve been able to do so much stuff ourselves, it’s so easy to get your head around the control desks etc. They provide instant visibility of how the business is running without the need to print out reams of reports.”
Graham: I’ve found the workflows to be very powerful. I can also pull data very quickly — it just works. It enables me to help the other teams quickly. The ability to send a customer proof of delivery is so helpful too.
Glen: What made you go ahead with Blue Rock in the first place?
Peter: I found that Blue Rock are completely different to other software companies we’ve dealt with and spoken to. With others, after the initial sale is secured, you lose that personal relationship. You’re handed over to a different team and never speak to the Directors or Management until they’re trying to sell to you again.
“With Blue Rock, we can speak to the Directors when we need to, and they’re always on hand to sort any issues out. This was brought home to me at the initial stages of the installation when Blue Rock were happy to contribute, without hesitation, extra time to keep the project on track — it was a real team effort.”
When we visited the Southampton office it was very friendly, George (BRS Managing Director) introduced himself, said he had an open door if we had any issues — and I don’t think I’ve ever found that with another company before.
Glen: Having a strong start with iQ is often down to how the company approach the process, and the Blue Rock support desk has said that PCS are easy to work with, friendly and made the go-live period run very smoothly — it’s a two-way street and being easy to work with on both sides leads to a successful go-live.
What’s on the cards for the future with PCS?
Peter: First of all, we’ll be taking time to analyse the data we can now see clearly, to see where our processes can be more streamlined and efficient.
We’re also going to be going ahead with the warehouse management system soon, and we’ve been looking at the transport module to see if that’s a route we want to go down. An e-commerce customer portal is also in the pipeline — we had a demonstration from Blue Rock and were very impressed and can see the benefits for our customers, being able to view their orders with the live connection to the web from iQ.
Graham: We want to tighten up and fine-tune the way we use iQ, to fully benefit from the features we have available to us.
We’re going to look into using the integrated dashboards with live data more — before we had to download and import CSV files! “Being able to carry out automatic invoicing has been a huge time saver too — we were doing an invoice run every morning so being able to do this automatically in the evening is great.” We now have an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system without limitations, that can do what we want it to do — we just have to decide now what the problems are in the business that we can tackle with iQ.