Centra Windows started with a vision in 1984 to provide excellent products and exceptional service to the home improvement and construction industry in the greater Vancouver area. After dealing with a number of window manufacturers, Centra quickly learned that the key to providing excellence was to be in control of the process from beginning to end. Equipment was purchased and Centra began the process of manufacturing a premium line of vinyl windows specifically engineered for the British Columbia market. Over time, Centra Windows expanded its Home Owner division to service the construction industry with windows, exterior cladding services, and restoration specialty work.
Centra is headquartered with a state of the art manufacturing facility in Langley and has branch offices in Kelowna, Kamloops, Nanaimo and Victoria BC. Centra has over 200 employees.
Centra Windows, Centra Exteriors, and Centra Restorations are three companies providing different products and services to different types of customers. Over the years, many different applications were adopted to gather and process transactions. This led to disjointed processes and the inability to generate financial statements as frequently as it liked simply because so much effort was involved in consolidating the data.
“As a successful business we continue to expand. Our disparate systems were holding us back and creating inefficiencies.” says Jeff Clarke, CFO, Centra Exteriors Ltd.
Although Centra knew it was time to consolidate their systems, they did not want to give up the ability to pursue competitive advantages in how they run the business. Fitting Centra into “the box” was not an option. Whatever the solution, it needed to accommodate custom job order entry, a flexible purchasing structure, automated terms discounts, holdback processing, commission reporting, decentralized payment processing, and provide a platform to distribute information to the Centra employee community.
“We made a commitment to Microsoft technologies as it would support our vision of an integrated business. It was important to us to partner with a Reseller who was also service oriented. We wanted a partner who would listen to our needs and who we could trust to make Dynamics NAV fit within Centra. This was about building a long term relationship that would last beyond the initial implementation into many future phases.” says Jeff Clarke, CFO, Centra Exteriors Ltd.
A comprehensive approach was taken during meetings with Centra Windows Inc. This included discussing the long term vision of Centra, reviewing the technical infrastructure, considering opportunities for future automation with hand held devices, scoping integrations to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, investigating industry specific add-ons, and designing custom solutions within Dynamics NAV.
Phase 1 of the solution included implementing Dynamics NAV 2009 for financial and distribution processing. Custom features were developed to accommodate Holdbacks and Commission reporting. Terms discount features in Dynamics NAV enable Centra to take advantage of cost savings offered by suppliers. Purchase orders are no longer manual documents; this provides increased accuracy in pricing and improved audit trails in invoice matching. The cash receipt and bank deposit areas were modified to support the branch based processing of Centra. This ensures that customer accounts are immediately updated even though the bank deposit process may not be complete. Integration was provided to the existing Dynamics CRM environment. In addition, an improved KPI reporting and a SharePoint environment for the Centra employee community. Phase 2 will include implementation of manufacturing, workflow approvals, electronic bank reconciliation, and fleet management.
“Dynamics NAV is the mother ship and we are able to wrap everything else around it for a consistent user experience and a foundation for Centra’s future. Our biggest wins are the custom pieces created.” Jeff Clarke, CFO, Centra Exteriors Ltd.
Centra has already benefited from a centralized system and efficiencies. As Jeff Clarke explains, “The commission solution is awesome. Tony Hemy, Senior NAV Developer, worked closely with our users to design the features that would streamline the process. The commission statements are automated and save us 1 day of effort every pay period. Once we integrate this to payroll we will save at least another day. It has allowed us to cross-train staff and direct our senior resources to other areas where their skills are needed.”
“The purchase cycle has improved immensely. Turnaround time has been reduced from a week to a day. Documents used to be created in Microsoft Excel and then entered again in Accounts Payable. Sometimes the purchase order did not include prices and matching them to invoices was a struggle. Now we have one entry point, prices are defaulted, and we can easily highlight variances.”
“The user adoption has been fast and very positive. There was unanimous praise for Dynamics NAV during the Centra AGM which took place only months after the Go Live. Where previously complaints were raised about what the legacy system could not do, now the users bring forward their ideas and suggestions because they know so much more is possible within Dynamics NAV.” Jeff Clarke, CFO, Centra Exteriors Ltd.