Cool Water Direct is based in Huddersfield, and is one of the leading specialists in mains filtered water coolers. They have extensive experience supplying systems to educational, commercial and industrial premises, and have a long standing reputation for quality service.
Due to rapid expansion the management team realized they needed to look at technology to enable their company to be as efficient and streamlined as possible, enabling them to grow quickly without increasing their administrative overheads. They needed a business system which could develop with the company, allowing their franchisees to concentrate on driving the business forward efficiently.
CoolWaterDirect had developed a manual way of managing the day to day tasks involved in running their business. Using a wall planner, they would break their customer’s locations down by sector, decide which actions needed to happen on each site and then physically assign their staff to go and perform the relevant work. This process created a tremendous amount of manual work for their back office staff and was prone to errors. They realised that they needed to eliminate this drown out process and replace it with a simple, easy, fast system that the whole team could rely on.
The back office staff also wanted a system that could generate consistently priced, professional customer invoices with minimal effort as the time taken to generate the complex monthly, quarterly and annual invoices they required was becoming a burden. Most of all, CoolWaterDirect knew the system had to be extremely simple to use in order for their franchisees to see it as a benefit, not an imposition.
CoolWaterDirect wanted the system to let everyone in the company see the appropriate financial information, metrics and resources, wherever they were. This would enable both head office and their franchisees to be able to see resource availability, job schedules and key metrics whether they were in the office or out on a job – allowing customer enquiries to be quickly and accurately resolved.
Alan Fish, Managing Director of CoolWaterDirect, found out about Franchise 360, a software product designed by GreyRidge specifically for the franchise market, when he attended a British Franchise Association (BFA) conference. After initial discussions with Alan, GreyRidge sent one of their analysts to the company to understand the core processes underlying their business. Alan found that unlike other boxed systems, Franchise 360 contained all the core functionality needed to manage his business and deliver services to franchises and customers, but could be tailored to fit his business.
As Franchise 360 re-used generic components, it allowed GreyRidge’s developers to focus on tailoring the software to the areas that made his franchise unique – ensuring he ended up with business software which fitted his company perfectly and provided a high return on investment.
Once the analyst understood CoolWaterDirect’s requirements, the basic scope was documented and signed off by Alan and the requirements were turned into a plan for modifying the software. GreyRidge provided a quote based on this basic scope, but made it clear that Alan would have feedback and visibility of the development process, with the ability to make any minor modifications he wished within the overall scope without additional charge.
Within a week of the development process beginning, a demo system was provided to CoolWaterDirect allowing them to provide input into the development process. As each section of the project was completed, feedback was sought from CoolWaterDirect’s before it was signed off.
The developers of Franchise 360 worked in concert with the end users of each section of the system, ensuring that each section was tailor made for their needs. By eliminating all but the functionality CoolWaterDirect required, the system was designed from day one to be user friendly so that all members of staff could use the system daily. The involvement of the end users from day one led to a feeling of engagement in the process for all members of the company, reducing the amount of training required when the system went live.
The completed system was designed to facilitate each of CoolWaterDirect’s business processes and was signed off and finished after 4-5 weeks. Finally GreyRidge sent one of the development team who had worked on the product to train the entire company so that they were capable in every area of Franchise 360.
CoolWaterDirect applied to Business Link for funding to help pay for Franchise 360 and they were granted a large percentage of the money to put towards the system. The application was easy and took less time to develop than they expected, making a huge difference to how they felt about Franchise 360.
When Alan was introduced to Franchise 360, he was thoroughly impressed that he could have a system which was built for and around his company, without it costing him the earth. Since the system was built specifically for the company, it could mirror the specific day to day tasks in his business, ensuring it helped reduce the amount of manual administration required.
Franchise 360 increased the efficiency of Cool Water Direct’s billing process, allowing professional, branded, PDF invoices to be automatically generated using pricing defined by head office, ensuring that prices were consistent and accurate throughout the entire network. The ability to build an invoice by simply selecting the relevant products and having the system automatically populating the pricing and customer details saves the team hours of administration each week, allowing them to spend more time generating leads.
The system also vastly reduced the amount of manual administration necessary to keep track of the day to day tasks required to service clients. This increased efficiency has had a major affect on recruitment, giving potential franchisees the confidence that they are joining a well organised, efficient team with a professional business management system in place to help them.
CoolWaterDirect now have a system they feel truly comfortable with – one which is easy to use on a day to day basis, which can be quickly adapted as their business grows, is cost effective and has saved Alan and his team a great deal of time and money through streamlining their core processes.
Since the system went live, GreyRidge have worked with CoolWaterDirect as a true technology partner, using their knowledge and experience of technology to drive value into CoolWaterDirect’s business.
By allowing GreyRidge to provide them with the technological advantage they needed, Alan has been able to focus on expanding the business rather than spending his time on mundane day to day tasks, helping the business to grow and succeed.
“We have found that Franchise 360 is growing with us. One of the most impressive things we have found from the system, is that our service engineers can log on anywhere in the world and make updates remotely. Not only does Franchise 360 help with our communication and efficiency but it allows us to spend more time driving the business forward, nurturing our existing customers and gaining new ones.”